Nadine toasts Koffee

Nadine toasts Koffee

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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With her win for Best Reggae Album at last Sunday's Grammy Awards, Koffee became the first solo female artiste to win that category, which was first contested (as Best Reggae Recording) in 1985. For Nadine Sutherland, it is a long time coming.

“I'm happy for Koffee. I'm happy that a woman finally broke the glass ceiling,” Sutherland told the Jamaica Observer.

Like Koffee, 51-year-old Sutherland began recording as a teenager and is observing the 40th anniversary of the release of her song Starvation on the Land. She believes Toast, lead single from Koffee's Grammy-winning EP Toast, did the trick for the 19-year-old artiste.

“Significantly, Toast's popularity transcended race, religion, gender, sexuality and I'm sure it will transcend time. It's a spiritual song that grooved from the dancehalls to the pulpit,” said Sutherland.

Koffee (real name Mikayla Simpson) is the youngest winner of the Best Reggae Album category. Toast was a hit in North America and Europe, opening doors for her to perform at major events such as this weekend's Super Bowl activities and the Coachella festival in California.

While some say Koffee's victory is a breakthrough for young Jamaican artistes, Sutherland disagrees. She noted that youth is not unique to the Best Reggae Album slot.

“I don't believe it's a game-changer for the younger generation. When you look at who were awarded for Grammys in the past, it can be seen that practitioners who were considered the younger generation in their era won Grammys. The examples are Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Shaggy and Beenie Man,” said Sutherland.

The Spanish Town-reared Koffee was a hot favourite to win. She attended the ceremony at Staples Center in Los Angeles and acknowledged the contributions and influence of her rivals for Best Reggae Album, who were Third World ( More Work to be Done); Julian Marley ( As I Am); Steel Pulse ( Mass Manipulation), and Sly and Robbie vs The Roots Radics: The Final Battle.

Three women have been members of groups that won Best Reggae Album. They are Puma Jones with Black Uhuru, who won the first award in 1985; and Sharon and Cedella Marley, who won three times as members of Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers.

Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley, Sister Carol and Etana have also been nominated for Best Reggae Album.


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