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By Richard Johnson—

 (L) Ikaya & (R) Ishawna

WHAT’S in store for local female acts in 2015? That question was put to some local players in the entertainment industry as they reflected on the performance of the fairer sex during 2014 and look toward the new year.

Zip FM disc jock ZJ Sparks was strident as she spoke about challenges faced by the female acts in a male-dominated industry.

“A lot of the work done by female artists is being overlooked. They have to work twice as hard to get noticed by producers, and when they do record they don’t get played. I don’t believe they should just get played because they are females. I personally believe in playing good music period. But a lot of male selectors are not playing the good music put out by our females.”

ZJ Sparks of Irie FM

ZJ Sparks of Zip FM

ZJ Sparks, whose given name is Tricia Spence sees acts such as Spice, Ishawna, Gaza Slim, Ikaya, and J Capri as being standouts for 2014 and expects them to build on that foundation in 2015.

“Spice just continues to be spicy. She ‘shell’ the place with Conjugal Visit — the collaboration with Vybz Kartel as well as her alter ego Splice with the track Like a Man. Gaza Slim, who came on the scene via Kartel, has rebranded herself Vanessa Bling and is doing things for herself. Ishawna has broken her good girl mould, and given what she has gone through, whether real or imagined, has emerged with a sort of ‘Bad Gyal’ persona which is working for her. Ikaya is still strong and her track Ugly Girl did well for her in 2014. J Capri is one to look for in 2015. She hit the scene running with a few collaborations with some known male artistes and has used these to get into the game, she should be stepping up to the plate this year,” Sparks explained.



For Coppershot DJ Sanjay, 2014 was all about Spice and J Capri, but generally speaking he still feels the females were less  than impressive.

“In 2014, you noticed a stronger emphasis on production by the females, but the scene was still male dominated and the ladies did not bring out what you really wanted to see, but there were moments,” he stated.

“For me, there was Spice, her track So Me Like It on the Boom Box Riddim and Reverse It from J Capri were the highlights. In 2015, I see Spice and J Capri doing more. Tifa is also working on new material and should emerge during the year.”

Meanwhile, FAME FM’s Collin Hines said there was nothing outstanding from the femmes during 2014 and it should be more of the same in 2015.

“Nobody was outstanding during the year. There were songs from the usual suspects but no outstanding songs. Spice made noise, a couple songs got into rotation… nothing jumped out at you… it was a quiet year,” Hines told Jamaica Observer.


Hines and ZJ Sparks both agreed that  that dancehall queen Lady Saw is in a class by herself.

“Lady Saw sets the pace. Even without current hits she can still tour and perform overseas. When there was trouble with other acts two years ago, she came out fighting like a warrior and responded with the hit Heels On  — that response nuh normal,” said ZJ Sparks.


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