Last year was seen as a breakthrough year for many women in the local music space. Both the reggae and dancehall genre saw a number a females making waves in the entertainment industry. On the reggae scene, acts such as Koffee, Sevana, Lila Ike and Naomi Cowan caught the attention of music lovers locally and internationally, with a number of releases that helped them to carve out a space of their own in the very competitive music landscape.
On the dancehall side, entertainers Stefflon Don, Shenseea, and Dovey Magnum are the names that stood out as they created a buzz. Based on the successes these acts had in 2018, they are the entertainers many industry insiders have dubbed as acts to watch for in 2019.
Speaking with The Gleaner on the year that was for some of these artistes, public Relations Director and Media Consultant Janice Young says that she is predicting 2019 to be the year of the woman. “In terms of emerging songs and emerging artistes for 2018, I do believe the year was a good one for women in music – both reggae and dancehall. “Women are coming up and claiming their place in the industry. There are a few women, on the reggae scene in particular, that are really the ones to look out for this year. Koffee, Lila Ike, Sevana, Sativa – those are the girls people are paying attention to. They had some singles that caught the ears of many, and all eyes will be on them over the next few months to see what they have to offer,” she said.
Young added, “We are a lot more open nowadays to giving these women what they deserve in the industry. I mean, look at Koffee, – I think people weren’t really expecting her song – Toast, to be as big as it is. They were just kinda watching her and getting a feel for her musical talent when that song just came out of nowhere, and now it’s one of the biggest songs of the New Year so far. Based on the fact that people didn’t really know what to expect from Koffee, and she’s in that space with all the other women that had a decent year in music, people will now be, like, ‘Ok let’s pay attention to these young women a little bit more’.”
Sharing similar sentiments, Tara Playfair-Scott, marketing and public relations consultant, noted that the current crop of emerging female artistes are commanding the attention they are because they’ve found an image that works for them and have remained true to that style. She believes that the latter, coupled with their talent, will make them hard to ignore. “I think the women in reggae have really emerged this last year. From Sevana to Naomi Cowan to Lila to Koffee, it’s been great for the music. Koffee is young and authentic. She’s delivering what no one else is right now, and that’s what people love most about her. Lila Ike has a unique style, and she is just true to herself, unapologetically. She brings a good vibe to the music that people really appreciate. Once upon a time, I could only name one or two female reggae artistes. Now, we have so many to watch out for.”
She continued, “On the dancehall scene, Stefflon Don, though she’s not living here now, grew up here, and I think she brings a really cool dancehall British pop vibe that clearly crosses the pond and makes the listeners want to find out more about Jamaica. Shenseea is also one that has been doing well, and again, it’s about authenticity – she lives what she sings, she’s true to herself, and she’s grown a lot over the last year in her delivery and stage presence. I’m looking forward to what lays ahead for our music and the representation of our culture in 2019.”