When singer Melissa Laguerre was diagnosed with cancer, her whole world crumbled.
All her hopes for the future – for marriage – had been snatched away. Or so she thought.
That was eight years ago. Today, Melissa and her husband Patrick (Prosper) Laguerre have just released their third album, Love is the Answer. It’s a candid retelling of their experiences – with a hip hop twist.
“It’s our story. It’s us,” Melissa said of the album. “We are excited about people getting encouragement from it.”
The husband-and-wife duo are part of a Christian band called GPM, or Gifted Powerful Movement. They performed their CD release concert on Feb. 14 at the Algonquin Commons Theatre.
The Montreal-based band wanted to kick-start their album tour at Algonquin because their aim is to attract youth.
“Our purpose is to encourage youth and young adults,” Melissa said. “We want to give an inspirational message of hope, of success, of love (and) community.”
Both through their lyrics and through brief speaking intervals, Melissa and Prosper retold their story with raw honesty.
Both of them have dealt with serious health issues. Melissa battled cancer for eight years, which resulted in severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
Last year Prosper was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that caused him to be bed-ridden for some time.
But although their album came from a place of suffering, its message is far from hopeless.
“Basically we want people to know that the love of God is the love that is above all,” Prosper said. “All the situations that we go through, we need to understand that we’re lacking love. We need to rekindle the love in our society. Period.”
Although a Christian band, GPM’s focus is not within the four walls of a church.
“There is a message that needs to be said, and we gotta change things up,” Melissa said. “You’re not doing anything if you’re telling people what they already know. You are effective when you actually break out of your comfort. That’s who we are.”
The show started nearly half an hour late because performers were delayed by poor road conditions. But the ground floor of the theatre was still packed. Those who did brave the snow amply made up for those who were absent by cheering and dancing in the isles.
GPM’s Love is the Answer tour will extend from Ottawa to Florida over the next few months.