With Reggae Sumfest (July 17-23) approaching, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment section reflects on key moments from the show with this series to be published three times a week leading to opening day.
IN early 2004 Macka Diamond's career got a major boost thanks to producer Christopher Birch's Thrilla rhythm. It drove the saucy deejay's breakthrough hit song, Done A Ready, which topped local charts.
By summer that year Macka Diamond (real name Charmaine Munroe) was in high demand and made her debut on Reggae Sumfest.
"The highlight of my career was definitely performing on Reggae Sumfest that year and that laminated money dress that I wore. Everybody was talking about that dress because, as you know, my slang has always been 'Money Oh' and it was the talk of the town," Macka recalled in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Even though she was hot at that time with Mr Tecki Back and Try Wid Him, Macka Diamond was given an early slot on the festival.
"It was my first time and they put me to work at 9:00 pm, when I was the hottest female artiste at that time. But I didn't care. At exactly 9:00 pm they called me up and I started to perform, and people who were coming through the gates ran towards the stage to see me. I represented and gave a good performance," she said.
Her 'expensive' outfit was designed by her friend, Marva Lee.
"What I wore to Reggae Sumfest had people talking. I knew I had to go there wearing something different and I remember saying that I wanted a money outfit â€” and people were saying that I was crazy. I went to a printer in Half-Way-Tree and the guy who was working there said he was afraid to print the money; and it was Stampede [popular music promoter] who said he had a link at a printery on Molynes Road. The person took the risk and said he would do it," Macka Diamond disclosed.
She continued, "Marva Lee, who does a lot of designs, said she would laminate the money that was printed, But I was still worried. The morning of Sumfest, she woke me up and threw the outfit on the bed and it was beautiful. I was very excited about it."
Macka Diamond credits Reggae Sumfest for helping to launch her career globally.
"A lot of shows came in from overseas. I did Sumfest once or twice after that. Those were good times," she shared.
That year Macka Diamond signed with Wray and Nephew as brand ambassador for its Wray and Nephew Rum Cream. She also signed a deal with London-based Greensleeves Records for the release of her debut album, Money Oh.
Her subsequent hits included Hula Hoop and Bun Him with Black-er.
Macka Diamond, who is currently promoting the song Dream Body, is set to release her EP, Diamond in The Rough, in August.