Singer Patsy Todd enjoying retirement

Cecelia Campbell-Livingston

Friday, March 30, 2012

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SKA singer Millicent 'Patsy' Todd is enjoying her life out of the spotlight, nearly 50 years after she officially quit the music business.

In fact, she doesn't own a cell phone, is not interested in the Internet, and makes no apology for it.

"You gonna think I'm weird," she said in a recent interview with Splash from her Tampa, Florida home.

Todd's last stage performance was October, 2011 at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York. She said she is enjoying her retirement despite health challenges.

Todd enjoyed popularity during the early 1960s, singing duets like ... And give me the right with Derrick Morgan and Stranger Cole, respectively.

Born in Fletcher's Land, west Kingston, Todd says she attended All Saints School where her goal in life was "to marry Frankie Lymon whether he liked it or not!"

Amidst outbursts of laughter she reminisced.

"I didn't have a career in mind, I wanted to marry Frankie Lymon (American singer of Why Do Fools Fall in Love). I was going to live in a house with a white picket fence and have about five kids," she said cracking up again.

After leaving school at age 14, Todd was approached by Morgan to record a song with him.

"I didn't even know who he was, I spent most of my time listening Frankie Lymon, Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald," she recalled.

At the time, Morgan was one of the hottest performers in Jamaica, recording a string of hits for producer Leslie Kong.

Unknown to Todd, her mother had approached Morgan and told him her daughter could sing. It was not until 2003 when she read an interview with Morgan, that she discovered that.

The first song they recorded was Love Not To Brag, Love Not To Boast in 1960, followed by other hits such as Housewife's Choice, and Shirley Come Back To Me.

In addition to Give Me The Right, she did When I Call Your Name with Stranger Cole.

In the late 1960s, Todd threw in the towel on her singing career and migrated to New York where she worked as a secretary at a hospital for over 30 years.

"I decided that was it! I wasn't being paid enough," she said. "I had no idea what I was going to do as the only thing I knew was music. If I had stayed I would have been frustrated with not getting paid from what I earned," she added.

These days Todd's passion is not fuelled by music, but her love of children.

"Our children die before they have time to live. Parents and other adults are prophesying bad things over them," she said. "This is my passion, I am hoping to God to push this agenda, not just for children but for parents," she vowed.

Patsy Todd was honoured for her contribution to Jamaican music, at the tribute to the greats show in St Andrew last August.




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