Reggae Music has long been dominated by male voices, without going into the reasons for this as this could in itself be the subject of many articles, instead I am going to introduce you to the names of some of the current and emerging female Reggae singers from Jamaica, the home and birthplace of Reggae Music.
In the 90’s we witnessed the emergence of Jamaican singers such as Tanya Stephens, and Diana King (who had an international hit with ‘Shy Guy’) these ladies had, and continue to have, a lot of success in the mainstream of Reggae and Dancehall culture.
More recently, Etana emerged in 2008 with her debut album ‘The Strong One’ influenced by Neo-Soul, Pop and Rock, whilst staying grounded in Roots Reggae. Her debut album ‘The Strong One’ was a big success and featured hits such as ‘Wrong Address’ which relates the common story of someone lying about there address so they can get a job, and ‘Roots’ in which she extols Rastafarian concepts and natural living, these songs were very popular amongst the youth of Jamaica. Her Second album ‘Free Expressions’ was released in 2011. Another big name from Jamaica is Queen Ifrica – Also known as Fyah Muma, her style has a strong roots and Rastafarian influence, and she has a no-nonsense approach to writing lyrics based on social commentary, taking on subjects such as child molestation in her hit song ‘ Daddy don’t touch me there’, Although her recordings are well received, for me at least, It is on the stage where Queen Ifrica really shines.
Other Jamaican female singers making a name for themselves recently are: Alaine, Cherine Anderson – who has recently been touring and working with Michael Franti and Spearhead – and Tessanne Chin who mixes Reggae with Heavy Rock.
The future is looking very bright for Reggae, and although this genre is still heavily dominated by men, there are some emerging female reggae singers to listen and look out for such as Sherieta Lewis. Sherieta has toured as background vocalist for Tarrus Riley, and written for other singers such as Etana. She is now stepping out as a solo artiste; she has an amazing voice with a strong R&B influence. Sherieta has her own style that she terms ‘soul-jaying’, which combines soul singing with deejaying. She also writes her own songs and has written for other artists such as Etana. Look out for Sherieta’s debut album coming soon.