Reggae exploded out of Jamaica with such force and such distinctive style that it became a global music phenomenon. The most famous names in reggae are men, but women have contributed as much, often more to this genre of music. On stage, female reggae artists project pure power and passion, and they should be better known. Here are some of the female reggae artists to take note of.
Superbly talented, Tanya Stephens lays her hypnotic melodious voice over some old-school riddims so naturally that you know she was born to be a reggae artist. Not afraid to mix in some dancehall effects, Stephens keeps it fresh without losing her roots. She’s a highly recommended introduction for those just discovering the fantastic females of reggae.
Two words: beauty and strength. Etana is relentlessly positive, singing with love but not afraid to confront difficult issues in her music. It is simply not possible to remain unmoved by Etana’s music and lyrics. This award-winning reggae artist is just as energetic with her charity work through The Strong Ones United Foundation – music as a force for good. Respect.
Tough and in your face, Lady Saw caught some international attention with her Grammy award-winning collaboration with No Doubt. But to really appreciate her best work, delve into what she’s done solo. Lady Saw has a hypnotic voice and flawless rhythm that is impossible to ignore – she compels you to move. You’ve got to love the opening line on Informer: “you been talking too much, keep your mouth shut”.
The Queen of Reggae, Alpharita Constantia Marley, raised in Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica, was destined for musical greatness. After winning early awards for her childhood performances, there was only one way she would go. She was already a successful young artist when she met her now better known husband Bob – they married in 1966. Rita continued her solo career while also providing vocals for the I-Threes and the Wailers. Rita is rightfully known as the Queen of Reggae – having made history with the first reggae song to top the Billboard disco charts; and having been the first reggae artist to perform for a Grammy audience. She has produced a number of successful albums and heads the Rita Marley Foundation, alleviating poverty in developing countries. Timeless and generous.
Lady G will get you moving, guaranteed. Relentlessly fun and energetic, Lady G is a talented DJ and vocalist who will put a smile on the face of anyone who cares to listen. Drifting into hip-hop without letting go of her grip on reggae, Lady G rides some classic riddims with a sort of deceptive ease that is indicative of true talent. Prepare to be entertained.
Neo-Roots reggae artist Kelissa is keeping reggae fresh with an unmistakable polished sound. She has a seductive smoothness to her fantastic voice that glides above the distinctive roots reggae beat that grounds the music. Heavily influenced by her experience in Africa, Kelissa’s music has a depth and meaning to its message. Engage with the world through conscious positivity – Kelissa will show you the way.
Time for something new – Sevana’s eponymous debut album was released to great excitement in 2016. Mentored and produced by Protoje, Sevana has excellent pedigree and looks set to be one of the big female names in Jamaican music. Her voice has a classic sound that projects an engaging emotional energy. She’s recorded some superb melodic ballads and looks set to be a big name in reggae. Stay current with Sevana.