VP Records, the popular, independent, Caribbean-owned record label, is paying tribute to women in reggae over the past 60 years with the release of its commemorative calendar for 2022.
The calendar features 12 Jamaican female reggae artistes who have, in their own way, played their part in the development of the Jamaican musical landscape post independence. The acts featured are rocksteady pioneer Phyllis Dillon; singers Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley, JC Lodge, and Carlene Davis; child star turned international act Nadine Sutherland; singer-songwriter Tanya Stephens; conscious reggae chanter Queen Ifrica; Grammy-nominated deejay Spice; neo reggae act Jah9; and dancehall's 'It' girl Shenseea.
According to Natasha Von Castle, director of communications at VP Records, the calendar follows on the heels of the biography of VP Records co-founder Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin, Miss Pat: My reggae music journey, which was published last year and serves as the inspiration for the project. She added that there was great interest for stories about women's contribution to reggae. This has been a popular cultural trend for the past number of years, and therefore the company thought dedicating this year to highlighting women's contributions to reggae music would be timely and powerful.
“Greek illustrator and graphic artist Maria Papaefstathiou pitched us on the idea of an all-female calendar, so we started by reviewing work she had previously created. Next, we considered the label's release and promotional schedule and considered artistes who would fit those opportunities. Then, we went about getting permissions, and these formed our final list,” said Von Castle.
For singer Nadine Sutherland, to be included as one of the women for the calendar is both empowering and humbling.
“This is remarkable. I'm amongst 12 women chosen as prominent Jamaican female artistes over the past 60 years. I'm December. What an honour! I'm feeling so proud. These are all women whom I admire so to be one of them is just amazing. It is also great that VP has decided to choose artistes from different eras and recognise our contribution to building the Jamaican music brand. Also, just to know that this was inspired by the work of Miss Pat is also remarkable, given her contribution to the music,” Sutherland told the Jamaica Observer.
Papaefstathiou took to social media and expressed her joy about working on this latest project.
“I am happy to present you with my latest work, 10 illustrations of women in reggae designed for the VP Records annual calendar, 2022 edition, entitled 'Women of Jamaican Music 1962-2022'. Women have always played an intricate role in reggae — the making, marketing, and distribution of the genre sees female leadership at every turn. Their proud role call illuminates the progress of Jamaican music across a six-decade span since Independence — from ska to reggae to dancehall and onwards to the contemporary consciousness of younger artistes,” she shared on her Instagram page.
VP Records will be looking to explore this theme of women and their contribution to reggae throughout this year.
“There are many women who have contributed to the development of the genre as performers and on the business side. Our goal is to whet the appetites of reggae fans to dig deeper into that history. Our Spice album 10 and her smash hit Go Down Deh, featuring Sean Paul and Shaggy, continues to roll into 2022. We hope to release a new record from Jah9 this year and will promote the 'Women Of Reggae' concept with our themed playlists on Spotify and Apple Music,” Von Castle noted.