September 14, 2008
First lady of dancehall Lady Saw - in a league by herself
There is no question about it, dancehall’s ‘first lady’ – Lady Saw — is in a league by herself.
Classy, raunchy, saucy and loaded with the right kinda attitude, Saw sets a pace that is unmatched and definitely hard to follow. Hers is the story of a girl raised in humble surroundings who defied many odds to make it to the place she is now in the entertainment business.
Hailing from Galina in the parish of St. Mary known for churning out several top artistes the likes of Capleton, Ninja Man, Cobra, Tanya Stephens and the late Tenor Saw, among others Lady Saw is today not just any ‘ordinary girl’ from the country who was raised by a God-fearing mother. She is the perfect example of the power of tenacity and hard work in making your dreams become a reality.
It can be easily said that her ‘tomboy’ behaviour could be what helped to mould her into the no-nonsense persons she is. She has dared her male counterparts with her raunchy and at times not PG rated on-stage performances.
As Lady Saw climbed the ladder of success, she never took her mind off her goal, despite the many unkind remarks made of what some said was her ‘un-lady like’ behaviour. This never deterred the ‘first lady’ as she took the mouth beatings in stride and showed them her versatility.
Lady Saw became the first female DJ to headline shows outside of Jamaica and went on to win a Grammy Award in 2000. In 1994 when she debuted with ‘Lover Girl’ for VP Records.
Moving away from hardcore songs such as ‘Stab Out De Meat’, one of her underground hits which helped to buss her in the dancehall, a more modest and subtle Lady Saw over the years has addressed topics such as unfaithful lovers, female degradation, safe sex and infertility
With a discography that would take up pages, Saw has delighted dancehall fans with songs such as ‘Sycamore Tree’, ‘Find A Good Man’, ‘I’ve Got Your Man’, ‘Chat To Mi Back’, ‘Infertility’, ‘Hice It Up’ and ‘Hardcore’ (‘It’s Raining’), and numerous others.
Lady Saw has also collaborated with her male and female peers on several tracks. As ‘first lady’ and ‘queen of the dancehall’, she has done collaborations with ‘king of the dancehall’ Beenie Man on tracks such as ‘Healing’, ‘Bossman’ with Sean Paul, her protégé and dancehall princess CéCile with ‘Loser’ and with Tanya Stephens on ‘Bruck Dem Up’.
Internationally, Lady Saw has shared mic with Missy Elliott, Eve, Lil' Kim, No Doubt, Vitamin C and Foxy Brown.
Lady Saw received her greatest mainstream honour in 2003 when she won a Best Performance by a Duo or Group with a Vocal Grammy for her 2003 collaboration with No Doubt titled ‘Underneath It All’.
Adding to her musical credit, Lady Saw received a gold certification from the RIAA for ‘Smile’ with Vitamin C, and a triple-platinum certification from the RIAA for ‘Underneath It All’ with No Doubt.
In 1994 Lady Saw’s ‘Lover Girl’ album was released followed by ‘Give Me A Reason’ in 1996, ‘Passion’ in 1997, ‘Raw - Best Of Lady Saw’ and ‘99 Ways’ in 1998, ‘Strip Tease’ in 2004 and ‘Walk Out’ in 2007.
She is among a host of artistes slated to perform on International Caribbean Reggae Music Festival (ICMFest) on Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday, November 16 at the historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Key Biscayne, Miami.
Her latest single, ‘Sunday To Sunday’, for the third consecutive week is holding down the #3 position on the Hype TV Top 20 Chart and a video for the song will soon be released.