@ the Indigo 02
27 October 2012 - 23 September 2011
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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
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
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
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
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
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.