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By Nottingham Post 

LOVERS rock drew on sounds from across the Atlantic – and yet it was something created purely in 1970s London. Blending the reggae sounds of Jamaica with the smooth soul of the States, the music turned into a genuinely English contribution to black music. Tonight, the genre’s Queen, Janet Kay, who reached No. 2 in 1979 with Silly Games, appears at Spanky Van Dyke’s…

Who gave you the title Queen Of Lovers Rock?

Back in 1979, just after the whole Top Of The Pops thing, and during my first professional photo shoot, they had on my portrait photograph “the Queen Of Reggae” but Black Echoes magazine renamed me Queen of Lovers Rock after I won three reggae awards. It has stuck with me ever since.

How was your first appearance on Top Of The Pops?

I had not done any live performances before that, so to do it on national television was bizarre. I had to just go with the flow as I really didn’t have much time to think about it. They wanted me to mime but I didn’t know how to. I was really persistent about singing live.

Who has been the biggest influence on you career?

I think that would have to be the whole Motown thing, especially the love songs. We didn’t have much in terms of reggae being played on the radio back in the day so I liked to listen to people like Lulu, Sandie Shaw and Dusty Springfield, together with The Beatles, then the Jackson 5 and Motown. So it was a mixture of pop and Motown together with the backdrop of my Jamaican heritage of reggae.

You have co-edited a short movie; you are an established machine knitter, a designer, a lacemaker, a video editor and a 3D logo animation specialist. How do you fit all of this in with your singing career?

I see myself as a creative person. At the moment I am a Photoshop addict as well. In this day and age sometimes you have to be everything. There’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter through which you can promote yourself, you can put their own music up online… music is so accessible to everyone.

In 2006 you made the leap into pantomime, when you played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. How was that?

It was a great experience. It was hard work, especially at that time of the year when normally I was so used to winding down.

Have you been to Nottingham before?

I was in Nottingham last year with a show that I, Carroll Thompson and Victor Romero Evans devised called The Lovers Rock Monologues. It’s a bit of comedy, music and theatre. That was at Nottingham Playhouse. I am really looking forward to coming back.


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