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Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet Kay
@ the Indigo 02
27 October 2012 - 23 September 2011

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Biography

Born Janet Kay Bogle (the first of 6 children) in London to Jamaican parents, Clifton and Monica Bogle. Janet is a descendant of the Jamaican National Hero the Rt Excellent Deacon Paul Bogle.

As a sixties child, Janet was exposed to the singing greats, especially those from the Tamla Motown stable and as a result of the exposure and inspiration, Kay’s love for singing was born.

In 1977, whilst in Secretarial College, Kay was invited by her school friend Sonia Ferguson (who recorded a cover version of Smokey Robinson's “Oh Baby Baby” in the late 70’s) to a band rehearsal. Destiny saw to it that band member Tony Gad heard Kay singing in the rehearsal room. He was so impressed with the sweetness of Kay’s voice that he introduced her to the reggae legend, the Late Great Alton Ellis.

That meeting resulted in Kay recording a cover version of Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You” (produced by Alton Ellis), which became a reggae smash hit spending many weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.

The following year, 1978, saw Kay record 2 more cover versions, '” Do Love You” and “That's What Friends Are For”, again, both spending weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.

In 1979, Kay made history by becoming the first British born black female to have a reggae song at the top of the British charts. The song “Silly Games”, (produced by Dennis Bovell) was a hit not only in the UK but also in Europe. Kay’s history making has been recorded in the Music Guinness Book of Records.

Janet Kay’s songwriting prowess became evident on the release of her first album “Capricorn Woman”. The album was, and still is a best seller. All the songs except 2 were penned by Janet Kay.

By now, Kay had become known as the “Queen of Lover's Rock”. In that same year Kay was presented with the awards for Best 7” single, Best 12” single and Best Female Vocalist 1979 by Black Echoes Music Newspaper.

Kay’s voice was not exclusive to only reggae music and in the early 80’s she also penned and sung the soulful “Eternally Grateful” which became an underground hit.
The early 8’'s also saw the collaboration between Kay and reggae legend the Late Jackie Mitto with the Randy Crawford classic, “You Bring The Sun Out”.

In 1980, after a chance meeting with actor/singer Victor Romero Evans, Janet was introduced to the theatre company ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’. A successful audition saw the birth of Janet's theatrical career, in the play ‘Mama Dragon’ by Faroukh Dhondy’s which toured England and Europe.

Kay has since appeared in several films, numerous TV appearances, theatre plays touring the UK and Europe and radio plays. In 1981, Kay also starred in the ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’s' TV sitcom ‘No Problem’ (LWT/Channel 4), the first black TV show which was created and conceived by a black theatre company. The show became a cult classic.

The late 80’s saw Kay’s collaboration with the singer/producer Lloyd Charmers with the cover album “Sweet Surrender”. In 1990 Kay collaborated with Beats International (Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim) on their track Burundi Blues. Following this collaboration, Kay was invited to feature on Lindy Layton’s version of Silly Games.

In the early 90’s Kay, along with fellow actresses Judith Jacob, Suzanne Packer, Suzette Llewellyn, Beverley Michaels, Josephine Melville and the Late Joanne Campbell formed the highly successful female theatre company the Bibi Crew. All the shows were written produced and directed by the Crew. In 1991, the album “Sweet Surrender” was renamed “Lovin' You, Best of Janet Kay”, (which included a newly recorded version of “Lovin' You”), and was released in Japan.; The track “Lovin' You” propelled Janet to stardom in Japan. Kay subsequently signed to Sony Music (Japan).

Over the years Janet Kay has collaborated with top producers, Drummie Zeb and Tony Gad (Aswad), Junior Giscombe, Jeremy Meehan, Shinichi Osawa (Japan), Kodama & Gota (Japan), Omar and Sly and Robbie. Kay’s albums have sold in excess of a million copies in Japan, “Love You Always” selling over 400 thousand copies in its first year alone. Japan entitled “La Dolce Vita”, alongside the renowned Japanese composer Taro Iwashiro.

In recent years Kay has visited Japan, performing at the exclusive Blue Note Night Club for 2 to 3 weeks at a time in Fukuoka, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagoya and Tokyo.

In 2006/7 Kay returned to theatre, where she appeared as the Fairy Godmother in Hackney Empire’s Pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, which the Evening Standard rated the best ‘Panto of the season’. Kay is currently promoting and performing, along with Victor Romero Evans and Carroll Thompson, their newly devised ‘Lover’s Rock Unplugged’ shows.

Kay has recently recorded a cover version of “Take A Bow” which appears as the No. 1 track on the “Covers for Reggae Lovers” album on the VP Label. Kay has also crossed genres by recording and releasing a Funky House track entitled “So Good” where she features along side Spoonface (available for download only).

Kay’s talents are not exclusive to singing and drama. Janet is an accomplished Machine Knitter/Designer and Lacemaker her works have been published in craft editorials. Janet also designs and builds websites and has recently completed a Film Editors course and already she has co-edited a short feature film by Clive Gandison ('Evergreen Man'), starring Victor Romero Evans, which was recently nominated for an award by the BFM.

Janet Kay has been voted one of Britain’s Top 100 Black Britains by the Evening Standard and she has also been presented with many awards over the years including, Silver Disc for Silly Games, Best Female Singer, Best 7” and Best 12” Single (1979), Memorial Disc to Commemorate the overall success of Janet Kay Albums in Japan, presented by Sony Music Japan (1995), Women of Merit by Darker than Blue in Association with Barclays (2002), Contribution to British Black Music Industry (2001) and Outstanding Contribution to British Reggae (2009) to name but a few.

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Janet kay

Janet Kay

 


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