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BY Richard Johnson—

THE absence of Jamaican female artists from the international stage has been blamed on a number of factors.

Issues such as lack of support from local disc jockeys and sound system selectors, no promotional machinery and a fierce ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality are some of the reasons given for this drought.

CHIN… it’s really trial and error, hit and miss.


Singer Tessanne Chin says if she knew the steps to international success she would take full advantage, but in the interim she says she will try and make good music.

“The industry is such that a song can either be a hit or a miss despite your best efforts. I have made mistakes in my career, but I try not to focus on those, instead I learn from them and move on,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Chin, whose hits include Hideaway, also pointed to payola as a possible stumbling block for female artistes, as well as the lack of appropriate machinery to achieve international stardom.

“We don’t really have a proper industry set up to promote and protect our female artists, as well as artists in general; so it’s really trial and error, hit and miss. We’ll just have to continue till we get it right.”


Deejay Spice has narrowed the number of Jamaican women making inroads internationally to two factors.

She points to little originality and support from other industry players.

“Nobody is being original anymore, dancehall is losing its authenticity,” declares the artist born Grace Hamilton. “Everybody trying to do the hip hop thing and that is mashing up the real ‘flava’ of the music which the international market has come to know and love,” she adds.

Spice agrees that female artists do not receive enough support from selectors and radio jocks.

“It doesn’t matter how good a song is, we don’t get the love from the disc jock and selectors like male artists. That would help to bring the music to more people and push on international charts like Billboard and so on.”

Lady Saw

For Lady Saw, the top dancehall female act for nearly two decades, the ladies need to stop the “crab in a barrel” mentality.

“Jealousy is one of the main problems in this business. Once one woman starts to rise the back-biting starts from other females. And when you try to advise younger artists they think they have are already there and don’t listen,” she said.

Lady Saw is one of the few female dancehall acts to enjoy success overseas in the last 15 years, making the Billboard charts through collaborations with No Doubt and Vitamin C.

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