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Annette Brissett still in control

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Sunday, October 22, 2017

ONE of reggae's best-kept secrets, Annette Brissett has paid her dues in a music business that has evolved considerably since she started as a drummer over 35 years ago.

In that time she has recorded six albums and a number of singles. She has never been afraid to try different things.

Brissette's latest song, Loose Control, is part of the Reggae Jammin' Vol 4 compilation album, released October 13 by Tad's International Record. She shares time with the hottest names in dancehall including Aidonia, Mavado and Tarrus Riley.

Loose Control is only her second song released in 2017. The other was the self-produced Wanna Be Heard.

Brissett told the Jamaica Observer that she is currently working on an album she hopes to release in early 2018. At the height of her recording she released an album every two years, but the death of her daughter in 2015 put the brakes on that routine.

“She was my only child so dat hit mi, yuh nuh,” she said.

Loose Control is her comeback of sorts. The song and pending album helped relieve her pain.

“Music is therapy, yuh nuh, an' I love to mek music wid feeling. I don't like di hustle thing…if yuh is a hustler yuh days will be numbered, but if di music genuine yuh last forever.”

Brissett has written her share of enduring songs, including Crying For Love, That Is Life and Children Running Free. The last is a poignant piece on the apartheid era in South Africa.

She also wrote I Shall Sing, a hit for Marcia Griffiths, and There For You, a number one song in South Florida for Beres Hammond.

Her 1986 debut album, Love Power, was produced by legendary New York label owner Lloyd Bullwhackies Barnes; she worked with Sly and Robbie on her self-titled 1992 set.

Born in Trelawny, Brissett grew up in the Waltham Park area of Kingston, influenced by soul singers Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight.

Shortly after migrating to New York City in the mid-1970s she became a musician, playing drums in the Calabash band, which backed artistes like Griffiths, Max Romeo and Ken Boothe when they performed in the Big Apple.

Now in her late 50s, Brissett lives in South Florida and never tires of making music. At the time of the interview, she had a recording session, as a drummer, to make.

“I tek my time an' record. Is what inside of mi dat come out in di music, I never plan it,” she said. “If it feel jazzy dat's what come out.”