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By Richard Johnson—

 Top:(L) Beenie Man (R) Louie Culture
Bottom: Terror Fabulous, Buju Banton

REWIND to the early 1990’s. Jamaican dancehall artists were having the time of their lives and the music was making mainstream inroads, particularly in North America. During that time, a number of acts were being signed to major American record labels and dancehall music was winning Grammy Awards.

Among the Jamaican artists being signed was Nadine Sutherland. She signed to Elektra Records affiliate EastWest Records.

Fast-forward 20 years and Sutherland tells the Jamaica Observer that the song, Anything For You, released in 1995, was part of the move to shore-up her profile for the international market.

Snow, Tony Kelly, Nadine Sutherland

Snow, Tony Kelly, Nadine Sutherland

The team at Elektra, headed by Jamaican Karen Mason, decided to pair Sutherland with fellow Elektra artist Snow, the Canadian deejay who had phenomenal success with the 1992 track Informer.

“Snow had that major hit and was the next big thing in reggae and so in setting me up for my album, Karen suggested that we go with Snow and we both recorded the original Anything For You, which was to be one of the lead singles for my album,” Sutherland recalls.

The track was released featuring the duo and received fair response. But that all changed once the all-star remix hit the road.

Mason called on the skills of Jamaican record producer Tony Kelly.

Karen Mason

Karen Mason

He recalls that at the time he was suffering from a ruptured eardrum. However, when Mason and the Elektra team called, he was in no position to turn down the offer from more reasons that one.

“The Anything For You all-star remix was a Godsend. At the time, I was going through a situation with a house I had bought. I was a few months in arrears and if I did not pay the money by a certain time, the bank had threatened to repossess,” says Kelly.

Once he was given the green light, Kelly assembled the top artists of the day — Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Terror Fabulous, Louie Culture — to re-record with Sutherland and Snow. Mason included a personal favourite, Kulcha Knox, to complete the aggregation.

The original Penthouse studio, located on Slipe Road in Kingston, was the venue for the recording. Elektra flew in hot music video director Hype Williams to capture the event; Kelly and Sutherland have fond memories of that night.

Nadine Sutherland

Nadine Sutherland

“You don’t really want to hear the original… because my eardrum was damaged. I could not hear the top-end on the play-back so I kept turning it up. The studio was very hot because of the lights for the video which went through the night. It is the longest session I have ever been involved in. All the in-studio shots you see in the video was the actual recording taking place. In addition, after all the recording and shoot was done I had to mix the track so that they could take it back to New York that day,” Kelly remembers.

“I remember everybody just so full of vibes… creativity ‘buck’. All the artists just came in and came up with their segments and recorded their input. It was just an incredible, heady feeling that stays with me after all these years,” Sutherland recalls.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

After 20 years, Kelly sees his experience on the all-star remix of Anything For You as a life lesson and experience he will always treasure.

“We were able to create a classic, something which no one is yet to replicate. On a personal level, I was able to pay off the mortgage on my house… all the money from this job went into that.”

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