Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lady Saw - Dancehall Artiste

Lady Saw is a Jamaican singer, known as "the first Lady of Dancehall". She is the first female deejay to win a Grammy (which she did with No Doubt for "Underneath It All" — Best Performance by a Duo or Group with a Vocal), to go triple platinum with the same single, to go gold (with Vitamin C for "Smile"), and to headline shows outside her native Jamaica. She was born Marion Hall in 1972 in a village in the parish of St Mary. At only 15, she took the name Lady Saw after famous Jamaican Deejay Tenor Saw, whose style she is said to emulate. She was soon signed to the Jamaican grassroots label VP Records, now a powerhouse, and debuted in 1994 with Lover Girl. At that time, she guested on the Shabba Ranks track, "Want It Tonight," and her star began to rise.

Her first big successes came at the beginning of the 1990s, when gun talk ruled the dancehalls of West Kingston. Recording for the local Diamond label, she injected a heavy dose of sexually explicit lyrics, known as "slackness", into the music, but from her perspective as a female. The results were early hits like "If Him Lef" and "Stab Out de Meat", which scandalized and enthralled audiences. Indeed, her stage shows usually included picking men from the audience (or sometimes her own band members) to pull on stage and to simulate sex acts with.

However, she suffered for her outspoken ways; she was banned from many events due to her lyrics. Even though male artists were performing similar lyrics and stage shows, it was Lady Saw that became a pariah for it and endured censorship and even outright banning in more than a few Jamaican parishes. She continued to be outspoken though, and often addressed unfaithful lovers, female degradation, and safe sex in the wake of the emergence of AIDS ("Condom"). Subsequent hits like "No Long Talking", "Sycamore Tree", and "Find a Good Man" cemented her position as number one female deejay regardless of what her critics would say.

In 2003, Lady Saw received her greatest mainstream honor, bringing home a Grammy for her 2003 collaboration with No Doubt for "Underneath It All", a slow-burning ballad that used her unique style to great effect. (She has also collaborated with Beenie Man on tracks such as "Healing" and "Bossman" (the latter also with Sean Paul), Cecile, perhaps the Princess of Dancehall, on "Loser", and long-time friend and peer, Tanya Stephens on "Bruck Dem Up". State-side, she has shared the mic with Missy Elliott, Eve, Lil' Kim, and Foxy Brown.) In late 2004, she released Striptease after a 6 year hiatus and presented her most balanced and well-written album yet, with "I've Got Your Man" gaining significant video and airplay in the US.

See you
in Jamaica.


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