I was born during the era Reggae and Lover’s Rock music emerged in the Britain, which was an historic transformation for Black people in England. Prior to this there were no black artists in the UK. Music became prominent among the Caribbean culture because it brought people together. I don’t recall going to any household growing up not hearing the latest reggae or soul blazing from a silver ghetto blaster of Awia hifi stereo. Music was also a big thing at weddings, christenings and birthdays, and an enormous part of Saturday cleaning and Sunday cooking rituals. Racial tension was still very high in Britain at this time so there were not many clubs for black people in South London. Many south londoners would travel across the waters to clubs such as Night moves, Shen-Ola’s, and Podemumin in East London. South london was however known for house parties. I’d spend many a night listening to my mum and aunties as they got dressed for nights out talking about the latests clubs, parties and DJ’s.
My mum, aunties and uncles were friends with popular Dj’s in south london who always kept them up to date with the latests tapes. My Biological father owned a record shop on railton road in Brixton selling reggae records. He was also good friends with with a number of local DJ’s. His younger brother DJ Yardie was part of Saxon sound system playing alongside UK Reggae artists Tipa ire and Smiley culture. My Dad however was a big fan of UK and American pop, and also had a large collection of dancehall reggae records at home of which I began to play my first selection of music for myself. Sometime around 1988 at 11 years old after becoming fascinated with a video of Reggae Sunsplash live. Prior to this I had mainly listened to music, I had never seen the passion of an artist. I came home from school and watched this video again and again untill I recited every single word not only of the songs but also the compare and every single drum beat. So I started to play the songs on the record player. I also remember being captivated by a video my mum had taken from the library of Betty Wright “No Pain, No Gain” 1992 live. Amazing beyond the words. Her singing not only gave me chills, it also brought a strange feeling deep inside. I soon became addicted to this feeling this type of music gave me.
My family were definitely music fanatics which was eventually rubbed off onto me. From my grandmother I adapted the love of Gregory Isaacs. From my mother I adapted a love for UK lovers rock artists such as Janet Kay, rare groove and 70’s and 80’s soul. Maybe its because I associate him with my mum or maybe he is just the greatest of all times singers but the great late Luther Vandross is my most favorite artist in the world. I’m happy to debate with anyone who begs to differ. From my dad I adapted the love for dancehall artists such as Tiger, Admiral Bailey, Pinchers, the late great Bob Marley. As well as pop artists such as Kate Bush, Sinead O’connor, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and The Proclaimers. From my mum’s two elder brothers I adapted the love for Dennis brown, Freddie Mcgregor and the Heptics. Along with reggae dancehall artists such as Nicco Demus and Supercat. From her youngest brother I adapted the love for Chaka Khan, Cheryl Lynn and Fonte Rae. From my aunt’s I adapted the love for UK reggae lovers such as Maxi Priest, Mike Anthony and Barry Boom.
I formed my own love for pop during primary school days and The Jacksons, Madonna, Bros, Boy George and The Bangles. I don’t think there was any girl in the UK who didn’t fancy the lead singer in Ah Ha and wished they could have jump into the cartoon video of “Take on me”. As Black music and artists increased in the UK I began to develop the love hip hop and rap starting with Mel and Kim, Neneh cherry, Salt and pepper, Onyx and Del La Soul. It was here I cast eyes on an artist who stood out against many, Tupac Shakur. Thou rap music is often associated with negative behaviour I always looked that little bit further. To me Tupac wasn’t just an hip hop artists, he was a passionate poet. He used music to make powerful statements about raw truths and reality that were clear to see. Through him I began to see music as an art form, a collective group of well thought out and structured words of expression. Expression of thought patterns.
Once I turned into a teenager and discovered boys I stumbled on my most biggest love of all, slow jams. Bobby Brown, New edition, then onto Jodeci, H Town, R Kelly. It was a wrap. I was passed listening to music. I became a feeler of music, listening just that little extra than the normal girl. So I stopped running up and down with the girls and starting chilling with the boys. Wherever the set or sound system was, is where you would find me. It was here I developed my own DJ friends of my era. They became important figures in my life because they possessed music and feed my passion. In my late teens I developed a love for culture and artists such as Buju banton and Sizzla which helped to form closer relationship with my biological father. It appeared that my passion for music was genetical as well as environmental.
Most people like this of course turn out to be DJ’s or some form of music collector. But I looked outside of entertainment and more into its ability to change thought patterns and emotions. Using music on a daily basis to purposely help people to feel happy, to remember good old days or special occasions, to remain positive, and even cry if need be.
I discovered music magic and the wonders of words.