Hearing Jamaican recording artiste Shenseea and Trinidadian songstress Nailah Blackman performing together on their collaborative tune "Badishh" reminds us about everything that is wonderful in Caribbean music: the rhythms, first and foremost. Those drums! The bounce. The unique blend of voices. The infectious melodies. The familiar dialect. Those of us who love Caribbean music appreciate it because of its vibe, but rate it mainly because of how it makes us feel: ALIVE!
The collaboration of these two young women is a great testament to how the year 2017 concluded, and how 2018 is proving to be thus far. While women across the world were marching, and uniting, and collectively standing in their strength and "reclaiming their spaces" publicly, you could almost feel the shift. Politically. Socially. And now, even musically.
Females in reggae and soca music are not an anomaly, by any means. In fact, women have always played an integral part in the music's flare, development, and soul. Tracing the roots of Jamaican reggae, or Trinidadian soca back generations, we discover names that are as familiar to us now as they were to our predecessors.
|Buy "Badishh" on iTunes|
Reggae and soca have their distinct differences (and always have) but there are times when the lines are so blurred...and the classification is so irrelevant. When you hear Shenseea and Nailah Blackman performing their hit "Baddish" of the past few months, no one is concerned about what specific category the tunes fall into. As long as it's banging...it almost doesn't matter. Real music lovers don't need a category to appreciate a true, true jam.
That's what made this particular collabo of talents so special: it could have easily been a soca hit during the carnival road march in T&T...and it could groove equally as vibrantly at a street dance in JA. With the addition of the young energy and originality that these two ladies are bringing to the game, they can perform in either genre and still get ratings.
Born Chinsea Lee in Mandeville, Manchester, the 22-year-old can proudly look at her young career and know that she already has a massive hit collaboration with Vybz Kartel on her list of accomplishments. Already. After just entering the Jamaican reggae music scene in 2016. Easily winning the accolades of "Break Out Celebrity" and "Young Hot and Hype Artiste" at the Youth View Awards by the end of the year.
Juggling responsibilities of motherhood (she has a son named Raj) and academia, she was enrolled in College and pursuing a career in Entertainment Management just the other day. It hasn't been that long. She went from humbly taking care of her education and her child, to topping music charts and building a tour itinerary that would send her across continents.
It's no secret that Shenseea had a fast descent into stardom, and it's also evident that this is truly just the beginning of what is promising to be a lucrative career. Earlier this year, the Jamaica Star noted that this lady could be classified as a "dancehall singjay-meets-rapper" and she could surely add that her intent is to not only take over the world of reggae, but also top the international charts. Pop music is her first love, and a part of the vision for her future in music.
With the guidance of her manager Romeich Major. Shenseea is headed towards continued momentum. Adding Pepsi, Flow, and Campari to her repertoire of corporate partnerships, her reggae EP this year is sure to solidify her position in the Caribbean music industry. There's a magnetism to her that is unique, and an energy that will continue to push her towards being an amazing performer and young trailblazer.
ABOUT NAILAH BLACKMAN
She spells the genre of her family's legacy as S-O-K-A-H, just as her grandmother did. As her grandfather originally intended. The namesake of her mother's clothing brand, and the spirit of her heritage, Nailah clings to the original spelling of the sound that has driven her career to first-time heights.
Gaining inspiration from various genres of music, from soca, to jazz, to East Indian, to pop music, the 20-year-old is determined to keep the original spirit of the music remain within her--as a musical education to others.
Needless to say, Shenseea and Nailah Blackman are hotter than hot right now. And as they build their catalogs, continue to study their craft, and ascend in the Caribbean music scene and international music industry, we confidently know what legacy they are rooted in. We know where their inspiration has come from. They are two of the freshest female Caribbean artists right now--and there are dozens and dozens more that they have channeled in spirit...some of the baddest females out there:
Althea & Donna
Brick and Lace
Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez
Lady Saw (Minister Marion Hall)
Michie and Lou Chi
Sandra Joy Alcott
We love them! We respect them! We honour their contribution to music, and we eagerly await the next wave of sounds, trends, and classics. We have asked Toronto's DJ Majesty to put together a special (but brief) all female reggae and soca mix, in celebration of Ms. Shenseea and Ms. Nailah Blackman in particular...and all those who graciously--and fiercely--came before them.
Connect with DJ Majesty here: https://www.instagram.com/djmajesty101/
Inspired by the strength of Caribbean females, here's a fictional love story that was created to the backdrop of those very voices listed above:
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.