People to Watch – Canadian Patra

Join Patra in our Music forum on Friday July 11th from 2 pm to 3 pm

We have a wealth of strong, talented Jamaican Nationals contributing to a variety of communities here, and I am not just referring to residential communities. I am referring to the Arts, Music, Drama, Sports, Professional, Political and a host of others. One of my personal favourites is the Honourable Lincoln Alexander (MP, Lieutenant Governor and Chancellor of Guelph University); we all know about Miss Lou and relished her recent visit to; Rosemary Brown (who recently passed away) who was held in very high regard for many years, focusing on Women’s Issues and needs on an international level; Donovan Bailey, Olympic Track Champion; Wally (Crash) Morgan (who also passed away), when it came to reggae music in Canada… no one could work the drums like Crash! There are so many great examples of Jamaicans who have not just ‘made lives for themselves’ here, but who have done so much for all communities locally, nationally and in some cases internationally, and both Canada and Jamaica share in recognizing and paying tribute in different ways for their efforts.

Through my work in the community – not just locally in the Ottawa area, but reaching out to many other cities in different applications, I have been blessed with the opportunities to not only gain knowledge, but also to meet a variety of interesting people, from various backgrounds, who have experienced life in many different ways. Doreen Ives is one such person. Although much younger than many of the Jamaicans living in Canada that we in the community normally focus upon, learn from, and enjoy their contributions, because of her youth some of us can relate a little more closely, and encourage them during their growth process.

Interview with Doreen Ives (Patra) for

SistahD: Could you give the readers a recap of your background – where you come from, where you grew up, levels of education leading up to present?

Patra: I was born in May Pen, Jamaica where I attended elementary school. I moved to Kingston to attend Holy Trinity Catholic High School. After high school I worked for a few years then got accepted at Mico Teacher’s College. I migrated to Canada in the early 1980’s and attended Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. During this time, I did a lot of self searching and adjustments in trying to find my purpose, and decided to let myself explore all my possibilities without limitations.

I attended a technical College and studied computers and business administration….I began seriously focusing on music a few years after because people kept telling me that I should as I did not consider myself a singer. I have always considered myself more of a composer. I have a passion for both but the latter seem to outweigh the first. (Secretly I would love to find someone to sing my songs but thats another interview ok) I moved to Ottawa and attended Whitham Music Academy ( great school). Also was enrolled in some music programs at Dominic’s and several other local music schools. I began writing with ——– Mackenna (due to confidentiality full names cannot be disclosed) . He made me sign up with Socan Music, partly in order to get paid but most importantly for protection of my work.

SistahD: With your in-depth background in music, how and why did your direction or focus change over the years, bringing your present efforts towards Gospel Music?

Patra: My personal focus hasn’t changed in that I still write songs in secular genre – I would not be happy with limitations – I appreciate great music, be it Gospel or otherwise. Right now, I am doing a Gospel CD because I was involved in an automobile accident two years ago, but for the grace of God I would have died. God chose to keep me alive! I asked him to please get me out of this safely and he did, this is my way of saying thank you.

SistahD: Having spoken to you briefly in the New Year, and seeing the lovely photos from your recent wedding in Jamaica, I was curious, how did you meet your husband? How did you know he would be the one to fill your heart, and fulfill your dreams?

Patra: I met my new husband (Pierre) while doing a good deed for a friend. I had no idea he would be the one until we met and he absolutely took my breath away! I mean literally, and it was mutual. By the time we got around to having our first date we had already fallen very deeply in love, a secret we hid from each other, and by the time the first date was over it was clear to both of us how this would go down. We discovered we were soul-mates…our hearts definitely bonded and stayed locked together since then. Separation was like tearing flesh, we agreed we had to tie the knot.

SistahD: What advice would you give your children towards their futures, for example, in setting and reaching goals?

Patra:For children I have to say, start off by (1) knowing who you are and accepting yourself just the way you are; (2) Make your goals realistic and attainable; (3) Remember, nothing of value comes without a cost – work hard in school, education is vital…learn all there is to know..for as long as you can; and (4) Make your standards high. Above all, make sure God is in the midst of everything you intend to do.

SistahD: What struggles have you faced as an entertainer in Canada? As a Jamaican in Canada? As a single parent? And what advice would you give young Jamaicans, either home or in Canada to realizing their dreams?

Patra: As an entertainer in Canada my struggles range from personal to business – personal struggles in over-coming nervousness (just before a show); weight issues; in business there are at times the money issues, broken contracts, getting paid from Clients, finding the right musicians, marketing etc.

I don’t believe my struggles in Canada were due to my nationality. I believe we all go through struggles regardless of where we are from.

I have to say working and going to school, not being able to spend as much time with your family as you would like..

Advice? We are all born with gifts – find out what your natural gifts are and work on having them developed.

SistahD: If you could change one thing in your growth over the years, would you, and what would it be?

Patra: I would not change anything…because I believe that everything I experienced was a part of my destined growth process.

SistahD:You have a new Gospel CD in the works, can you tell us a little about it, and when can we expect to hear the finished product?

Patra:It took a miracle….more than a miracle…Joy….Scared…The Judgement Day…Bless Jah…these are some of the titles which will be on the CD. I do not have an exact release date yet since there is still a lot of work to be done. (you however will be the first to know). My producer is from Denmark and extremely gifted, and we are both looking forward to finishing this project.

SistahD: Where do you see Patra (the Gospel Artist) and Doreen (mother, wife and individual) in the next ten years?

Patra: In ten years Patra the Gospel Artist (if still alive) will be older, wiser, and more enriched. Doreen, the mother, wife and individual… who knows what I will be doing next! I do know this though, what ever it is will probably be different from today’s lifestyle. I just officially became Treasurer of my husbands Company. I will definitely be busy as a wife.

SistahD: Any special thoughts for our Board Visitors, and for your growing number of fans?

Patra:First I would like to thank you for including me in your very warm environment, and as for my growing number of fans – Be blessed… keep the faith… move forward at all times….I love you guys…treat each other gently until next time…Peace out!

SistahD: Doreen, thank you so much for taking the time to tell our Members and visitors a little more about yourself. I know quite a few people will be not only looking for another update down the road, but we will certainly be looking forward to hearing your joyful praises once your CD is completed. On behalf of thank you once again for being a part of our focus on Jamaicans in Canada and for delivering such a powerful message in spite of limited space and your increasingly hectic schedule.

Join Patra in our Music forum on Friday July 11th from 2 pm to 3 pm