Bent debuts new album

Observer writer

Monday, June 10, 2002

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Over the years, women in the music industry have spoken of the obstacles they have to overcome to get that much-needed break. These range from sexual harassment to prejudice.

Singer/songwriter, dancer and choreographer, Jana Bent, says she has not had much bad experiences since she came on the scene three years ago.

The multi-faceted Bent is currently preparing for the release of her sophomore CD, Shadow Girl, the follow-up to Chase The Sun, her 1999 debut.

"The only thing (bad) that I have experienced is the fact that people look at me and judge me; I have been stereotyped. I am looked at as this uptown girl who is doing music, it's totally not like that," Bent said in an interview with All Woman.

To reinforce her point she recalled a recent incident. "I am not a fan of soca music, however, I went to an event at a venue that was going to host a soca event later that night. There was this guy who right away assumed that I was a soca fan and thought I was going to come to the show later in the night," she said. "He just assumed by looking at me, that this uptown 'browning' is going to come to the soca party."

Bent has been into music since her early years. Her father, Rupert Bent Snr, is an accomplished guitarist so too her brother, Rupert Jnr, who was formerly with the Third World band.

"When we were growing up, it was my father who sort of opened our appetite for music," said Bent. "He had such a broad taste in music and often played the latest in pop, jazz and classical music," she added. "We also travelled a lot, because of my father's privileges as a pilot. Travelling made us more aware of different music forms and culture from the countries that we visited," she said.

Bent once worked as a choreographer for the Sandals Group and is a former back up singer and choreographer for dancehall superstar, Shaggy. She was featured in music videos for the deejay's hit singles, Bombastic and In The Summertime.

She has also toured with The Wailers, Damian "Junior Gong" Marley as well as Richie Stephens and soca star, Denyse Plummer.

A former student of the St Hugh's and Priory High Schools, Bent completed studies at Campion College before heading off to the University of West Ontario where she earned a degree in psychology.

Chase The Sun bore some similarity to the acoustic sound of Canadian pop star, Alanis Morrissette; through songs like Say You Care, Still Wish and The Way I Do, it received good rotation on local airwaves.

"The album did far better than we had anticipated. We didn't make any attempt for it to appeal to any particular market," said Bent. "We just did what we felt in our hearts, what we loved to do."

Shadow Girl is tentatively slated for release later this year, and will carry 10 songs. You So Fine and My Man Dat (featuring Canada-based Belinda Brady) are among the songs making the final cut.

"I have a couple of combinations on the album. There is a song that Rude (formerly known as Italee) wrote with me. There is a song called No Regrets that I am hoping to have a prominent deejay featured on the remix," Bent disclosed.

Her brother Rupert Jnr; Jeremy Harding, and Derrick Brin are among the producers contributing songs to the new album.

Bent is hoping for a repeat of the success she gained last year with the catchy You So Fine, which was later included on a compilation released by Promo Only, which services music to club and radio disc jocks in North America, the Caribbean and Europe.

"Squeeze from Fame FM told me that it would be a good idea to submit the song to Promo Only, and I was surprised that the company accepted the song. It was included on a compilation with songs from Destiny's Child, R Kelly, and Mary J Blige among others," explained Bent.

"I think the first album laid the groundwork for You So Fine, and that in turn paved the way for the upcoming album," Bent stated. "I have been blessed to have gotten the local attention with my music. It has been a lot of work and heartache. The placing of emotions and hopes were hanging in the air."

And what of her plans for the future?

"Hopefully this album will attract an international distribution deal for our label Gypsi Music, and I will be able to go through those doors that Shaggy has opened up for artistes from Jamaica. I want to put out the best quality product," she concluded.

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