Pulling Rank!

Veteran deejay makes comeback

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

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JUNIE Ranks, one of dancehall's pioneer female artistes, is planning a return to the scene after a 16-year break.

Known for '80s hits like Gi Mi Punany and Cry fi mi Boops, Junie Ranks says she is better prepared the second time around.

"I am more professional and educated as it relates to the business. When I started a few decades ago, I wasn't too informed about the business aspect," she told Splash. "My aim now is to bring back the rub-a-dub-style."

She said she was forced to drop her music career after migrating to the United States in 1998.

"It was different when I moved to the States. It was hard finding producers to work with. I wasn' t treated like a Jamaican dancehall act, persons saw me as just an artiste living in the States," the 46-year-old Ranks recalled. "Therefore, when promoters wanted dancehall artistes for events they would look to Jamaica for them instead of booking me."

With live dates and recordings drying up, Ranks found employment in the medical field as a nursing assistant.

Although she changed careers, the entertainer said her love for music never faded. Last summer, Ranks said she was approached by respected New York producer Ed Robinson to record a 17-track album.

It includes the new songs You Say I Don't Love You, My Life Story and Every Night Yuh a Call Mi, as well as old favourites Big and Ready, Sweetest Girl and Joe Grind.

Ranks says the album will be released this summer.

Junie Ranks' (her given name is June Evans) career started in 1983 at age 15. She performed regularly at Afreck, a youth club in her hometown of Old Harbour, St Catherine and later worked on the ET and Techniques Disco sound systems.

In 1984 with the help of Everton March aka 'Fatta March', she entered the Tastee Talent Contest.

Her recording career began that year with producer Winston Riley who was at the helm for most of her early songs which include Gi Mi Punany, Cry fi mi Boops, Big and Ready, Dibbie Dibbie Man, Nah Stop gi Bun and Sweetest Girl, a combination with Wayne Wonder.

Along with Sister Nancy and Lady G, Junie Ranks opened the door for female deejays 30 years ago.

She is aware of how formidable the current crop of female stars are, but has no interest in competing with them.

"I am just trying to bring me back. I like some of the songs that are being done today but some of the female artistes need to keep their clothes on and let people hear their talent. Dressing half naked on stage doesn't make you talented," she said.




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