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Yvonne Curtis - The Jamaican Queen of Reggae/Soca by The Editorial Team

Posted 04/06/2020 10:04:54

Yvonne Curtis, The Jamaican Queen of Reggae/Soca

We finally managed to catch up with the legendary female singer songwriter Yvonne Curtis, here's what she had to say.

The Story

Question 1 - When did Yvonne Curtis first discover she had a voice and how did she use it?

"I started signing in church at an early age in St Anne’s, Jamaica. When I came to England it went on the back burner for a few years then I entered a talent contest and came third. My first recordings thereafter was with the following record labels, Third World Records, Empire Records, Brown Records, and also World Sound. Now I am with Digital Jukebox Records doing what I like to do best."

Question 2 - What was your first love, Reggae or Soca and why?

"Whilst growing up in Jamaica it was often said that Reggae came from Blue Beat (Ska) music but Reggae will always be my first love. Soca was not as popular as Reggae music until I came to England and as I heard it more and more I became somewhat addicted to it. The Bands that I performed with had a deep preference to Soca instead of Reggae because the members I work with were from other Caribbean Islands, but we still played a Reggae on many occasions. Most of the time I’d get asked where I was from and when I said Jamaica they would reply saying “We never had knew that Jamaican’s could sing Soca”. We would laugh about it and listen to all types of music even though we all had our personal favourites."

Question 3 - How would you describe your experience when you first performed in South America?

"Performing in South America was amazing as I was treated like a Princess. The people are so lovely it felt like I was home in Jamaica as I also noticed that a lot of them had a Jamaican background. On the night of one of my first shows I was very shocked to see such large crowds and a love for my music, there were thousands of fans that came to see me perform. I was a bit nervous at first but that went very quickly as soon as I started singing because everybody started dancing and jumping all over the place. At end of the show there were very long queues waiting for me to sign autographs and take photos. I shall soon be going again, as my management was recently contacted for a performance prior to this dreadful pandemic."

"Question 4 - You seem to be making more Reggae than Soca these days, is there a reason why? When will we hear more Soca and is the demand still growing in South America?"

"Yes, that is true I have been making more Reggae then Soca. The demand for Soca is not like it was before but I still do it a certain venue's performances. For example, Soca music goes down very well at Carnivals and Festivals globally when I perform and in South America it’s usually a mixture of Reggae and Soca but I think it will be more Reggae I could be wrong."

Question - 5 - How did the song Sweet Sensation come about as this is a global favourite. Tell us what inspired you to do this song and if you were expecting such a big global response?

"When I was making the ‘Move On’ album and sorting out songs Mr Brown requested we do that song called ‘Sweet Sensation so I immediately got to work the song work on it. We went to a recording studio in London where I met Lindel Lewis, he was the producer for the album as he did the rhythm track. He said I should try it out and to my surprise the listeners loved what I did. When the album came out Body Music Records of London heard and listened to it and predicted that the song would be a big hit, maybe not today because it hasn't reach the right places as of then but when it does so it will never die, which in fact turned out to be very true. Whenever I perform Sweet Sensation at any of my performances I’d only have to start it then the audience would sing the whole song and finish it with a demand for lots of ‘rewinds’. So far I haven't heard any other female artist doing this song, therefore Sweet Sensation has become my national theme and anthem."

Question 6 - You mentioned that one of your most enjoyable performances was at the London Royal Albert Hall in the United Kingdom. Could you expand on that and how you got involved in that show in order to perform at such a prestigious event?

"When I was in the Serenades band we had been given a job to perform at the Royal Albert Hall for the Barbados Independence Dinner & Dance. We were all very excited as on the same night there two other reputable Soca artists performing that night. They were Gabby & Grinner who were known as ‘Soca Monarch’. We went on first and the place was completely packed to the roof. It was a wonderful night as we kept everyone on the dance floor with our Soca music. In my wildest dreams I never thought that I would be performing at the Royal Albert Hall as I have only ever watched shows from that on the TV. The dressing room walls covered in names of artists that performed there we also left our mark there. Since then, we had always done the Islands Independence Dance. That Royal Albert Hall show was the biggest one we ever did for the Barbados Independence and we’ve never forgot it."

Question 7 - How did you get signed and started working with Digital Jukebox Records?

"I had to do a gospel show in city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, UK and I was speaking with an old friend and during the conversation we were talking about the music business. Later on she introduce me to an A&R executive from Arising Artists, London who was there that same night in the building who owned his own record label with a roster of reputable recording artists worldwide, his name was Mark (Anthony) Duffus, we sat down and we started to talk about my career during which he had asked me if I needed any help. That’s was in 2015 and since then Mark as done a wonderful job for me and now I am going from strength to strength with Digital Jukebox Records as we have now had a many successful song releases."

Question 8 - Of all the great songs you have ever released, which was your favourite and why?

"This is a question I’ve been asked so many times. I have favourites but not one or two because there is always a very special one that stays with me and it’s called ‘Sweet Sensation’. This song I call my national Anthem as I often use it to finish my shows. DJs at times can't get it off the turn table because of the amount of rewind requests. It gives me so much joy watching the crowd enjoying themselves, singing and dancing to ‘Sweet Sensation’."

Question 9 - Most Reggae artists appear to have been one hit wonders whereas a very few like yourself have consistent classics/hits. What drives Yvonne Curtis to continue her career in music?

"I have always love doing what I do and I get great pleasure in making, writing songs and entertaining people. I was never the type of person to hang around studio hoping that a producer would ask me to do something for him I was too busy with my band working here and there. I was never looking for a hit song when I started recording I was only interested in making good music. If a hit comes out of any of my songs then yes l would be very happy, until then I shall continue doing what I do best."

Question 10 - What advice would you give to any up and coming musician that wants a career like yours?

"To the up and coming artist out there who wants to join the music industry? First make sure it is what you want to do. You got to have patience you won't become a super Star overnight as it's not an easy road. Work very hard for your passion and don't try to be anyone be yourself. Believe in what you are doing and follow your heart."

DigitalJukebox · Yvonne Curtis - Greatest Hits (Mix Preview)