This is the eighth in the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk's series for Reggae Month titled Princess Black.
OFTEN cited as reggae's only major female producer, Sonia Pottinger was the proverbial rose among the thorns. Throughout the 1970s she amassed a formidable catalogue that contains songs by marquee acts like Marcia Griffiths and Culture.
Known as Miss Pottinger, she got into the music business during the late 1960s with her first hit song Every Night, a ballad by singer Joe White.
She learned the production ropes from her husband, LO Pottinger, who was a fairly successful producer. Miss Pottinger's Tip Top, High Note and Gay Feet labels churned out a flood of hit songs including Swing And Dine by The Melodians, Hard to Confess by The Gaylads, That's Life by Delano Stewart, and Guns Fever by The Silvertones.
Pottinger quickly developed a shrewd business sense. She purchased the Treasure Isle catalogue of producer Arthur “Duke” Reid in 1974, shortly after his death.
During the roots-reggae explosion of the 1970s she had many more hits with Griffiths ( Dreamland, Hurting Inside and Stepping Out of Babylon), Judy Mowatt ( I Shall Sing), Culture ( Natty Never Get Weary and Stop The Fussing and Fighting).
Errol Brown was Miss Pottinger's primary engineer during the 1970s. He said she was as tough as nails.
“She loved the music ... loved it too much. She knew what she wanted in the studio, and had a lot of respect for the musicians,” he told the Jamaica Observer in a 2003 interview.
Sonia Pottinger, a recipient of the Order of Distinction, died in November 2010 at age 79.