Lady Ann
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Lady Ann

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Reggae

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Music

Press


'Informer' sticks on Lady Ann
published: Sunday | September 24, 2006
Kavelle Anglin-Christie, Staff Reporter

The cover of Lady Ann's album 'Informer'. - Contributed
If a day can be a year in politics, a decade is like an eternity in Jamaican music, where a new entertainer pops up every other week and many fade from memory faster than bell-bottomed jeans - and do not mount a comeback. The Sunday Gleaner will be bringing back memories with 'Glory Days', a weekly look at some of the entertainers who were hot and cooled as time went by, but have made a significant contribution to Jamaican music, beginning with Lady Ann.
Lady Ann's voice could be that of a young artiste on the verge of greatness, eager and playful, but that quickly changes as she speaks of her challenges and triumphs in music for almost 29 years.
Barbara 'Lady Ann' Smith, was undeniably one of Jamaica's top artistes in the early 80s and, with the release of her song Informer in 1983, it was obvious Lady Ann was destined for something great.
But then there was nothing.
As years went by and a new generation of 'ladies' emerged, Lady Ann and her songs following Informer slipped into the cracks of Jamaican music history. It left her asking 'why?' and a younger generation unexposed to her music. Her migrating to the United States, from where she spoke to TheSunday Gleaner, did not help.
Where did you grow up? What was your family life like?
I grew up in Kingston 13, on Waltham Park Road. Well, I grew up in a big family with a mother, aunt, grandmother and that sort of thing.
When did you start deejaying and what did your family think?
In 1977. Then it was a fun thing. It was something that I liked and me just do it. Normally with females, dem nuh take you seriously when you do things and there is always the feeling that females wouldn't do certain things that males do.
How was it competing in an industry that was and still is male dominated?
The male dem fraid ah we because we bold. We tek it to a level they won't, especially now. Back then with people like Johnny Ringo and Peter Metro, them did love we and show dem appreciation, but now the male dem nuh stay so. Now, the males, we ruffa dan dem by far because the extreme wha we will go to and talk about certain things dem naw do that.
Did you go on many tours back then and did you have any problems doing so?
Yes man. Plus, back then I was the main leading female and you had people like Sister Carol, Sister Verna and dem people there. The only place me never go was England and them time deh me never have no problem; actually it did easier then."
What was your (deejaying) style that helped to define you in dancehall?
You find say I was one of the first female artiste them start call 'lady' then. Then after that everybody start call themself 'lady'. Then the other thing was that I used to do my song dem in terms of a love story or about something happening in the ghetto. But me wouldn't go too deep into certain things, because a lady can't do or say certain things. Then when so many people started coming up calling themself 'lady this' and 'lady that' I was surprised. But one thing though, when them do interview dem nuh talk who influence dem wid the name and dem thing deh. Them will say 'big up Sister Nancy'. I don't really feel no way still, but why not call yourself 'Sister' then? They are so biased. If me never name 'Lady' wha dem wouldah call themself?"
Which local female artiste's deejaying style do you think you influenced the most?
The whole of them, if you ask me. Them try to copy me to the 't', but dem nuh acknowledge me after them do that.
How difficult was your musical journey leading up to 'Informer'?
It was okay, but Informer is a song wha me like and don't like. It was a true story, ah nuh nothing wha me just mek up. The song mek me and give me a name, but after that things just stop and me nuh try fi understand why. The Informer song overshadow me - to people is like is the only song wha me did do. I was the first female deejay out there to have a number one song and a number one album. I did other songs too, like Husband and Wife, Tek Yuh Mouth Offa Me. So me like it and don't like it, because to other people is like me cyaan do anything except Informer.
In what other ways did the release of Informer impact your life and career?
After Informer was released I was working hard. Like as soon as I finish one show, I would be off to another one and at the time I had a young child, so it was hard and I was busy, busy. At the time I was on my own doing everything and I didn't have nobody really in my corner, so maybe that's why things turned out as they did."
We slowly stopped hearing about you. Why was that?
I was still recording and doing shows, but you naw hear bout that. No song naw play fi Lady Ann except Informer. Over the years I have worked with people like Sonic Sound, Sly and Robbie, Jah Life and so much producers. But if is n - SUNDAY GLEANER


Discography

TITLE LABEL
Worries Taxi
Teck u mouth
Man Tease
Look how me hot Mr. Tipsy
Husband and wife
Man move
Them think me gone Shocking Vibes
Lady Ann u Sweet Volcano/Greensleeves
Don’t want to loose
Man whey we Have Midnite Rock
Shine eye Boy Roots Tradition
Teck a Set Black solidarity
Why is Love a Crime Black Roots
Matie Flip up Bunny Gemini
Donnet Striker Lee
Bossanova Dynamite

INFORMER Joe Gibbs
VANITY GG s
LADY ANN Connection
BAD GYAL INNA DANCE Mush 1 /Jump Up

Photos

Bio

Lady Ann

Bad Gyal Inna Dance

Barbara Smith, better known as Lady Ann, was the second child of Verona Dacres, and was born in Jubilee, and raised in Western Kingston (also known as Kingston 13). Lady Ann’s first music experiences included listening to, and sneaking into, local roots reggae dance hall sessions circa 1975-1977, featuring sound systems like Black Harmony and Soulatonie.
Lady Ann’s closest musical cohorts in these early days were Little John and Ranking Toyan. Little John is credited to be the first artist to pass the mic to Lady Ann, circa 1978, during a dance hall session held by the original Kilimanjaro sound system.

Other artists which Lady Ann grew up with and was influenced by in these early days include Clint Eastwood, Ranking Dillinger, Trinity, Ranking Joe, Louie Lepkie, Michigan & Smiley, Barry Brown, and Sugar Minott. Lady Ann and these artists would work out on sounds including Stereophonic, Metromedia, Gemini Disco, Lee’s Unlimited, and Romantic HiFi, as well as Kilimanjaro. Lady Ann began her professional music career in 1978, recording her first songs, Plan Your Family (a combination with Ranking Toyan), as well as Shine Eye Boy, for Don Mais’ Roots Tradition Label. In 1980, Leon Synmoie invited her to record several songs for the Thrill Seekers label, which ended up as part of her debut album, Vanity (released on the Alvin Ranglin’s GG’s label, which also included the hit single Sataap). Then, in 1981, Lady Ann then teamed with producer Blackbeard to record the song Husband & Wife on the Mr. Tipsy Label.

Between, 1981-1982, Lady Ann enjoyed her biggest commercial success up to that date with her song Informer, produced by the legendary Joe Gibbs (as well as an LP by the same name). This song stormed up the local charts, with the song Informer going to #1 single, and the Informer LP going to #1 album in Jamaica. This was history in the making, as Lady Ann was the first female DJ to have a #1 single, as well as the first to have a #1 album. The success of Informer helped to swing her career into high gear, and its popularity led to major international exposure, including tours of the United States, Canada, and the Cayman Islands. Lady Ann’s third LP, Connection, produced by Eric Bubbles (of the African Brothers), was also released at this time (1982-1983). In addition, Lady Ann’s popularity surged to new heights in 1983, when she was named Jamaica’s first female DJ of the year. After enjoying these successes, she continued to record for the cream of the crop of Jamaica's producers/labels, including Jah Thomas (Midnight Rock), Sly & Robbie (Taxi), Henry “Junjo” Lawes (Volcano), Bunny “Striker” Lee, Jah Life, and Shocking Vibes. Up to this date, Lady Ann has over sixty songs to her credit, including three full length albums. Lady Ann has also graced the stage at music festivals including Sting, Reggae Sum fest, Reggae Carifest, Irie Jamboree, Westchester Reggae Fest, and Hot Shot.

Lady Ann “Informer” has been remixed with Alborisie She has just completed a CD “Bad Gyal Inna Dance” Produced by Mush1 .Lady Ann is still in the recording studios Recording for Jah Life , Mungos Records Flava , look out for the first Lady of Dance hall to emerge on the scene this year.