Jamaican Music

Ladies First: Boogie on Reggae Women

Having fired a proverbial shot across the of reggae music’s bow in 2007 Reggae Female artist continue establishing their dominance in big way for 2008. First off there are so many female entertainers this year, including an ever increasing crop of new artists with songs getting air time, like Tifa, Alibra, Natalie Storm, Pamputtae, Timberlee, a.k.a “TNT, Althea ‘Di Chic’ Hewitt, Natalie Storm, Lady Raine Seville, veterans Lady Saw, D’Angel, Stacious, Spice, Macka Diamond, Lady G, Queen Paula, Miss Thing and Ce’Cile to name a few. It is a joy to keep track of them. Reggae music may well be on its to shedding it sexist image Let’s look at what the females in reggae and Caribbean music have done for the first half of 2008.
Leading the pack is Etana with several # 1 hit songs ‘Wrong Address’ (2006) ‘Roots’ (2007) and her chart topper ‘Warrior Love’  on Jamaican, England, Us and the Virgin Island on reggae charts is arguably the most successful female singer in reggae today, she’s struck a symbiotic chord with audiences. Described by Vibe magazine as “established herself as formidable performer and songwriter whose music and reputation precedes her’ has won the Female Singer of the Year for 2007 at several award shows this year including the International Reggae and World Music Award and the Reggae Academy Award. On stage she exudes a regal bearing and the attitude of a diva; her live stage presence commands attention. Etana earned a nomination in The Best New Reggae Artist category at The 13th Annual MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards at London’s Wembley Arena on October 15th, 2008
DJ Macka Diamond wasn’t recognizable outside of Jamaica, or even well known outside reggae circles a few years ago as Lady Mackrel, is one of the busiest female in reggae.  What a difference a name change makes. DJ Macka Diamond, the saucy-flavored dancehall star all year has been everywhere, from radio, TV, (acting debut, Royal Palm Estate soap opera) stage shows  (Trinidad Carnival, WaMu Theatre, Madison Square Garden w/ Michel Montano, and Friends, including Patrice Roberts, Pit Bull, David Rudder, Mighty Sparrow, and Problem Child,  giving motivational speeches to speeches to women’s groups (The City of Praise Church, in Nassau, Bahamas) and school children, contributing to charitable contributions to educationally at risk youth children, ages10 and 18, benefit concert for NGO Children First Center in Spanish Town (Jamaica), Mico Teachers’ College to lending a helping hand to the Student Council Body and their fundraising efforts.

Macka doesn’t seem to stop she won best dressed female artiste at the Teenage Choice Awards, she ventured into the land of Soca, Trinidad and Tobago in Feb touring with Machel Montano and his band, added her lyrical twists on soca princess Patrice Roberts remix of smash hit #1 Wukkin Up which charted #1 in Trinidad, Barbados and Canada and collaborated w/ reggae legend Toots Hibbert of the Maytals on the single No Badda Me. 

                                                                         Lady Saw: The Youth View Awards Best Female Dancehall Artiste of the Year
Lady Saw ” European promotional tour took her to Belgium, Slovakia, France, Germany, Spain, Holland and Denmark. Her major reggae concerts including the Roskilde Festival in Kolnon, Germany, on July 4; July 5 in France at the Eurockennes Festival, then July 6 in Amsterdam, Holland at Two Sevens Splash, to Frankfurt July 8, performed, then to Zurich, Switzerland., to Italy for the Rototom Festival, which had Dancehall Night for the first time in its history.  
                                                    Cherine Anderson: Caribbean Urban Music Awards Best Female Vocalist
Singer/songwriter Cherine Anderson began 08 w/ Sly & Robbie the reggae remix on Britney Spear’s Piece of Me, a collaboration (Sly and Robbie) with Paul McCartney and Lady Saw “Nod Your Head and another with Madonna. She released ‘Street Anthems’ her mix tape featuring Stone Love, Wyclef, Spears and David Rodigan.  In March she accompanied by Stone Love Selector Rory to the 22nd annual South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas with1, 600 bands along w/Rootz Underground as part of a reggae themed night at Flamingo Cantina.  Anderson walked away with the award for Best Female Vocalist at the 2008 Caribbean Urban Music Awards.  For the summer Cherine Anderson, completed the successful Tailgate Tour with Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, Sly & Robbie and the Taxi Gang.

In the spring/fall she completed her successful 21 date l Tailgate Tour with Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, Sly & Robbie and the Taxi Gang. In September, she hit the road as the opening act for w/singer/activist Michael Fanti and Spearhead 13 show date across the US in support of his All Rebel Rocker CD Tour. Cherine is featured on three songs on the cd including the first single “Say Hey (I love you) her recently released slamming single, “Talk If Yuh Talking” is mashing up the dancehall. In October she made her debut on American late night TV with Franti on CBS Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson and is in to Australia with Fanti for a 10 city tour.
Brick and Lace video single Love is wicked on Akon’s Kon Live Distribution and Geffen Record Label commanded of 4.7 million hits on youtube. Love is Wicked also received over 430,000 spins on MySpace, 350,000 spins on Imeem surpassing Nelly Furtado’s most popular single by over 190,000 spins. 

The duo’s writing songs credit include Janet Jackson, Parish Hilton, Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussy Cat Dolls) as well as, writing/co-writing all the songs on their album. Brick and Lace stormed Nigeria before 20,000 patrons, co-headliners in Uganda, Tanzania, Finland multiple shows in the Caribbean. Positive change in Jamaican students through the RE TV High School Tour which is viewed by Japanese fans via MTV.  They completed UK and Europe, Finland and US summer tour for 2008. 
Veteran Ce’Cile’s Bad Gyal album promotional European tour schedule had her visiting W/Reggae Summer Jam in Germany (July 4), Rototom Sunsplash in Udine, Italy (July 7) Reggae Summer Jam in Cologne, 77 Splash in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Italy’s Rototom Sunsplash; the Frauenfeld Open Air Festival in Switzerland; Delta Music Festival in Lisbon, Portugal; Reggae Fest in Bilboa, Spain and Splash Festival in Leipzig Germany (July 12). Ce’Cile made several other stops rock Jam Rock Reggae Fest at the Hammerstein Ballroom in nyc, just took Boston’s Club Lido by storm, Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, New York, Turks & Caicos Islands then Guyana on July 26th. 

Ce’Cile latest single Ride or Die sits at the top of the charts in the British Virgin Island She dislodged. Duane Stephenson’s Chant Love. She recently topped the New York and South Florida reggae charts with the song So Fly featuring Beenie Man.

She teamed up with renowned producer Scott Storch in collaboration with Beenie Man on the track titled So Fly. Storch, credited with hits such as Lean Back by Fat Joe, Candy Shop and Just a Lil’ Bit by 50 Cent as well as Baby Boy by Beyonce and Sean Paul, has also produced for a variety of artistes including Dr. Dre, Fat Joe, Nelly, Jadakiss, Christina Aguilera, Nas, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, Brooke Hogan, The Game, Chamillionaire, Chris Brown
First Barbados’ gave the music world the good girl gone bad, sexy siren pop singer Rihanna, now it’s Shontelle, the star. Thee 23-year-old Shontelle Layne, a stunning model beauty whose ambition to become a lawyer, she shelved, left University of West Indies Cave Hill law school in Barbados to pursue music. “I started my law studies at Cave Hill and didn’t get to finish because I got signed to the label. My intention was to graduate with my law degree and pursue entertainment law,” said Shontelle. She is an accomplished songwriter who came to the music’s world attention with her composition of Soca Queen Alison Hind’s huge crossover hit “Roll It Gal” which she wrote.  Being a singer she made savvy career moves in hopes of duplicating Rihanna success; Shontelle hired Barbados music manager, Sonia Mullins, signed with Rebel-One Management, (Rihanna outfit) and got a record deal with a major SRP/SRC/Universal Motown. Her track “Battle Cry” made its way on Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement, a compilation album for the Democratic National Convention.

With Shontelligence, her mostly pop CD set for release November 18th uses the cross genre approach, dancehall/pop with some reggae songs like Naughty featuring Beenie Man, Life is Not an Easy Road w/ Sizzla; and Blaze it Up w/ Collie Buddz and others tracks with a soca feel. She’s producers and songwriters include Dave Kelly, Star Gate, Sturken and Rogers, Wayne Wilkins, Andrew Frampton and Black Chiney’s Supa Dups.

Her first single T-Shirt, debut at the top 20 at mainstream Pop Radio, shot to the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song has maintained steady rotation at more than 150 mainstream Top 40 rhythmic crossover radio stations across America. The video clip for the track which is in heavy rotation at BET, MTV and VH1, has drawn over 1.1 million audio stream.

The Justin Timberlake and Timberland new single Rehab by Rihanna, sexy  Bajan pop siren is kicking up a storm on the steam of her  recently dropped `Sexuality` video. Meanwhile, the Granny-winning singer’s, CD Disturbia, is # 6 this week on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

‘Sisters to Sisters’, the mediation aim to assist in empowering females. Launched Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange the goal is raise ten million Jamaican dollars, in addition to raising awareness of significant issues affecting women. Female  entertainment support included: actress Leonie Forbes, veteran singer Marcia Griffiths, newcomer Etana, conscious deejay Queen Ifrica, dancehall diva Cecile, songstress Tessanne Chin, multi-talented Cherine Anderson, rising stars judge and singer Nadine Sutherland, dub poet Cherry Natural as well as the L’ Acadco dancers. 

Allison Hinds reign as an undisputed Queen of Soca earning two nominations at the prestigious Caribbean Music Awards. Four nominations in the categories: ‘Best Soca Artist’ and ‘Best Calypso Act’ for the first annual Caribbean Urban Music Awards 2008; and ‘Best Music Video (Roll It Gal)’ and ‘Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer’ for the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) “Roll it gal”, the Soca Diva has two videos for the tracks, “The more you get” and “Thundah” from her Soca Queen album. Allison made her debut at Irie Jamboree before 36, 000 at the reggae Festival.                                 

Canadian Reggae Music Awards winner Tanya Mullings and her cd ‘Music Is My Life’ won three awards at the C.R.M Awards for Top Reggae Singer Top, and Reggae CD /Album. She shared Top Reggae Producer w/ her late father Karl Mullings and received the Respect Due Award from Luther Browns Caribbean Crucible, the longest running Reggae Radio Show in Canada on 105.5FM. She was featured in “Heart Beat” Music Is My Life on Bravo TV. Tanya made her New York debut ay Irie Jamboree Labor Day weekend then heads for the World Creole festival In Dominica
When producer computer Paul Henton boasted to a few years ago that he was grooming the hottest female reggae group in reggae I have admit I was skeptical. Groups in reggae, save bands are rare, women group in reggae are non-existent (check sexism for the answers) However Make Boyz Cry, Henton’s group is one of the two hottest groups in reggae/dancehall, Brick and Lace being the other, inked a recording deal with Toshiba/EMI in Japan.
                                                                                                  Irie Love@ XM Radio Wash DC Photo Stan E Smith
Gideon recording artist Irie Love drops 7-track EP Cd available in stores and on iTunes in October 2008.  Her full length CD “The Life of Love” featuring reggae, jazz, R&B, soul, hip hop and dancehall is set for release in early 2009.
D’Angel career is rising in 2008. D’Angel as she made her acting debut on Royal Palm Estate the Jamaican soap opera: She performed at the 27th IRAWMA Awards at the Apollo Theatre in New York and was nominated for Best Female Deejay. In addition, she was granted a Business Management scholarship from Caribbean Institute of Business along with being added to the RE-TV 2008 Spring Edition School Tour.   D’Angel was also the proud recipient of the Digicel’s People’s Choice Award at the Style Observer Awards 2008.
New comers Tifa, who has a new mix tape heating up the streets and a debut album in the works, Natalie Storm and Timberlee, a.k.a “TNT”, or the “Badda Badda Gang”, graced The FADER Magazine.
Tami Chynn joined Shaggy as the new face of Pepsi in the company’s new television commercials. Chynn had her first Billboard singles chart entry with Frozen, her duet with hip hop star Akon is currently number four on Billboard Magazine’s dance chart .She set to drop her sophomore CD ‘Prima Dona’ in early 2009 while she tours with New Kids on the Block and UK pop star Natasha Bedingfield in October. Not to be outdone, Tami’ sister, Tessanne Chin powerful Voice as the toast of the Summer Olympic representing Jamaica.
Queen Ifrica ripped her debut at Club Crossroads’ annual ‘One Love’ along with Tarrus Riley, Duane Stephenson and Buju Banton in Washington DC. The Queen also signed with New York-based independent label, VP Records
Word from Tour organizer/promoter, consultant and artiste manager, Copeland Forbes, is that female dancehall duo The K Queens,(we have precious little from on this side of the Atlantic) been making a name for themselves in the dancehall, backed by the Live Wyya Band toured California, New York City, Connecticut, Boston, Washington DC, Richmond Virginia, Raleigh North Carolina, and Philadelphia, Canada, and Victoria, British Columbia.                                                                                                     
‘It Good’ (Pat Yuh P*ssy) the hit by Pamputtae, one of dancehall hot female, with her raw lyrical style, she’s reminiscent of legendary DJ Lady Saw early in her career. 
Lady Raine Seville is the next big female singing sensation. From the Descesa unforgettable R&B/dancehall sound, her solo single and video for ‘Drive Me Crazy’, has been gaining airplay on radio and television. Her duet with Serani, ‘Rain a Fall’ has become an instant sexy hit, with ‘Reserve’ with Bugle and ‘Crying For Peace’ with Serani.
                                                                             DJ Stacious
Dance hall DJ Stacious won a major acting role in an AIDS awareness educational film. The dancehall diva says that acting is her first love.
Empire ISIS received her 11th nomination at the 2008 Hollywood Music Awards for BEST POP ARTIST for her song DON’T GO HOME produced by Prayon (Beyonce, G-Unit, Mobb Deep, and Lil Kim) the Hollywood Music Awards will be held on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at The Hollywood Highlands in the world famous Kodak Theater complex in Hollywood, CA.

Stan Evan Smith is Contributing-Editor-Everybody’s-Magazine (NYC)
Senior Music writer: Jamaicans.com (Fl.)
Music critic/Staff writer: Jahwork.org. (Cali)
Music critic/Staff writer: Westindiantimes.net (VA)
Email:[email protected]. www.myspace.com/stanwsmith.

About the author

Winston Stan Evan Smith

Senior Editor and North East Media Coordinator for Jamaicans.com