LADY G – DON’T CALL HER GAL
Interviewed by M. Peggy Quattro
Written by Sara Gurgen
The talented ladies in Reggae have historically taken a back seat to the popularity of their numerous male counterparts. A handful of singers, and even fewer DJs, have held their ground and withstood the test of time.
Not to be outdone by the current crop of new lady DJs, the lovely and talented Lady G has consistently proved that she is not yet ready to be considered among the “dead and gone.” The sweet appearance of Lady G does not belie her steely interior, and the Spanish Town-born DJ has taken her shot at macho males with her latest sizzling releases. Lady G, who has seen a great response to her hit song “Me or the Gun,” a demand that her man choose between which one “gives more fun,” is now coming in strong with her latest song “If I was a Gal.” “You’ve got guys who call women gals; that’s not the right way for a man to style [call] a woman,” said Lady G following her terrific performance inside Ft. Lauderdale’s Reggae Cafe. Referring to her new song, she goes on to explain: “It’s not the name they should call the women. In some countries–like Trinidad–they call their women gal. It’s not the name that they call the women, it’s the way they express it.” Lady G is telling the men that if they want to get a woman’s attention, these days, that’s not the way to do it.
Lady G shared how her hit song “Me or the Gun” was formed: “I was reasoning with some male friends. I was saying, ‘You have a lot of men who look at girls and think they are the girl’s pet or lover boys, but no, all of dem a gansta.’ I had to write a song for them. I went to Danny Browne’s [Main St.] studio [in Kingston]. He had this rhythm and said, ‘I want to do something on this rhythm.’ So, I said, ‘I don’t have any tune to do now.’ He said, ‘Just give me an idea.’ The rhythm start flowing in the studio and then we start putting lyrics together. It was just the vibes. Danny did the instruments–everything on the rhythm.” Danny Browne is the producer of her latest song as well. “Danny is a person who has a new idea every day,” Lady G said. “He is really gifted.”
Lady G feels that guns are not as prevalent amongst the Jamaican male community as they once were. “I guess the males in Jamaica are starting to get real conscious,” said Lady G, who has always been into DJing conscious music. “I mean the music is turning around. You have men like Capleton, you know, he is really strong. Look at Buju, he is really strong and then Everton, also. I mean you have a lot of guys in Jamaica [who] start twisting up their hair. Now, they are showing their culture. They are changing. I see that change, and it’s coming from the artists. When Sunsplash was having their talent shows, I was part of the audience. When some DJ come up and start talking about the ladies, you have some youths saying, ‘We want some culture, man. We want culture lyrics.’ It wasn’t like that before.”
What does a conscious DJ like Lady G think about a slack DJ like Lady Saw? “Well, I mean, the same way Capleton change, I think [she] can do the same thing. I know she can do it. I saw her at SumFest. The first two lyrics she started with were Culture, and the crowd went wild. I guess she’s not comfortable doing it. I guess she enjoys [slackness].” Lady G pointed out another DJ sister, Angie Angel, who left the slackness route and is now enjoying success as a conscious dreadlock. “Anyone can do it,” she added.
Lady G was born Janice Marie Fyffe on May 7, 1968, in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, where she still lives. “There are six [in the family]. I didn’t really grow up with a father, just a mother.” The only other person in the family who is musically inclined is her brother. “I have a brother who is selecting on a sound [system] called Four by Four Exodus. He helps me out sometimes with lyrics.”
Lady G got her start in the business 10 years ago. “I went to this talent show in Spanish Town, over the Independence holiday, and I did well. I discovered my calling. I was DJing on Black Scorpio sound [system] for a couple of years. I toured all of Jamaica, then I did my first song for Black Scorpio. The name of it is ‘Ghetto Rock.’ I don’t know if anybody really knows that song. It’s a DJ thing with General Trees, Sassafrass and Sugar Shine [all DJs with Black Scorpio]. When I did [‘Ghetto Rock’] for Jack Scorpio, I got pregnant with my son. I didn’t cool out for long. I came back and did my first real hit song, ”Nuff Respect,’ for Gussie Clark, and then I start doing songs like ‘Legal Rights’ and ‘Round Table Talk’ with Papa San, and ‘Old Time James.’ Then I had to cool out in 1990 [because she had a baby girl]. My second one [her daughter] I lost last year in July, but I had another little girl a week after that one died. I lost a little girl and I had another little girl in the same month. I think babies give me a lot of luck. Mine definitely give me a lot of blessings. Whenever I have one, I get a hit tune.”
In addition to DJing, Lady G can sing. I noticed this new side during that evening’s performance and had to comment that she has a good, strong singing voice. “Yesterday at the rehearsal,” she commented, “I finally said I’m going to sing a song because we have so much DJs on this show. I love singing. At home I keep on singing. I sing more than I really DJ at home.” Asked whether she can be a performer who goes from DJing to singing all in one song, Lady G replied, “Yeah, I think I can, but I always doubt myself.” After witnessing the strength of her overall performance, I see that there’s no room for doubt. The time for conscious lady DJs is (finally) at hand, and leading the way is the veteran sweetheart of Dancehall, big up! Lady G.