Spice talks about “10”, “Love & Hip-Hop” and Dancehall [Interview]

I’ve been arriving for a long time Spice up. The Jamaican-born ‘Queen of Dancehall’ has been recognized for her appearances on ‘love and hip-hop’, her community work and now, as a Grammy-nominated artist. Now that the time has come for her to enjoy the fruits of her labor, she sat down with us to revel in her success.

Spice began his career in the early 2000s alongside artists like Vybz Kartel. Not the typical female artist, her performance is very gritty, steamy and hardcore. Dropping singles that have spanned over 20 years, she has never given up on an album – until now. On August 6, 2021, she released her first studio album ten. Primarily produced by fellow artist Shaggy, the 15-track album landed a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album. Although she was snubbed for the award, she is the first “hardcore” female dancehall artist to be nominated in this category, something to be proud of. “It feels good. I tell people all the time that I work regularly. It’s not an overnight success. I’ve been in the business for over two decades and reaping the seeds I planted. , it’s incredible, ”she shares about her latest hit. ten is essential for Spice, not just for the Grammy nod, but because it showcases his dedication to music. “‘tenis important because it’s been ten years since I signed a recording contract for this album. A lot of my fans don’t realize that I’ve never made an album. This is my first official album. I’ve released some hit singles, but nothing like this before. So, this is to remind fans that this is not an overnight success but rather ten years of making. “

There are a lot of elements that separate dancehall from other styles of reggae. Rooted in Kingston, Jamaica, dancehall can be recognized by riddims, quirky drums and patois. The lyrics are often filled with sexual nuances and aggressiveness compared to rhythmic instrumentals. “When people think of reggae, they think of Bob Marley. For me it’s a faster beat, it’s called hardcore dancehall. Reggae is a smoother beat, it’s more cultural is singing to soft beats. Dancehall is faster, more aggressive, street and that’s what I mean by hardcore dancehall, “she explains.

As a dancehall artist from Jamaica, there are many hurdles to overcome in order to become an internationally renowned artist. Artists might be considered superstars in their home country, but struggle to achieve the same status in the United States. “Every Caribbean artist dreams of becoming internationally famous, but it takes a real crossover song to do it. So Spice took an unorthodox path to achieve international status. “I joined the ‘Love and Hip-Hop’ family to put a face to my name and that was my strategy to get my name out there,” she reveals. She joined the cast of Love and hip-hop: Atlanta around 2017 as a recurring personality. The show gave fans a glimpse into her life as a mother and as an artist. “I’m grateful for this opportunity because a lot of people didn’t think I would go this far because my music is too hardcore and explicit. They spoke of my music with contempt, but to know that I have stayed true to myself and been so successful, it’s a really great feeling.

Love and hip-hop is a tough show to participate in. Quite controversial and filled with drama, the reality show has garnered a lot of attention that isn’t always positive. Initially a strategy for Spice to get some well-deserved attention, she found a way to make the series work for her. “Personally, I feel like it opened up a lot of doors for me. I remember when I did my colorim awareness campaign, a lot of people said ‘Spice from Love and Hip-Hop, ‘ not the “Queen of Dancehall”, because that’s where they know me. In 2018, she posted a photo of herself with considerably lighter skin. The post garnered a lot of attention, assuming she bleached her skin. She stepped out and confirmed that she faked her skin bleaching to raise awareness in the black community about colorism. She continues, “So I think the show has opened up a lot of international doors for me, but I don’t want to be labeled as just a reality star. I’m known as the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ and that’s my heart, my first love, and that’s why in each episode, I talk about my music. “

Beyond music, Spice has ventured into other endeavors, his most notable being his involvement in the LGBTQ community. She has opened up about her alliance and has even been the headliner for Pride events. Jamaica is known for its violent homophobia, but Spice tries to bridge the gap between dancehall and sexual orientation. “I took a stand. I love people and regardless of race or sexual preferences. So I’m headlining the Gay Pride concert in Toronto next year and a lot of people are criticizing me for being from Jamaica. You are the ‘queen of dancehall’, you shouldn’t align yourself with the LGBTQ community, ”she begins. “But at the end of the day, the LGBTQ community supports me and I love them. Just because I’m from a homophobic place doesn’t mean I should label myself as something I’m not. There is a kind of hypocrisy in dancehall, especially with male performers. The music is sexually fueled, often violent toward homosexuality, but images of only women engaging in sexual activity are not uncommon. “I think it’s hypocritical because a lot of male artists will have two women in the clips, kissing and doing all of the above. So I took a stand. I am an artist, a real performer, and I will go anywhere to perform for my fans and my people. “

In addition to her upcoming performances and community service, Spice continues to push for women’s empowerment and unity. The artist now has her own beauty line, Faces & Laces, a fashion line, Graci Noire, and her non-profit organization, the Grace Hamilton Foundation. Despite the obstacles, she reached the pinnacle of success. So what do you do when you’ve achieved all of your goals? “Every year I set a goal for myself and I always try to surpass what I’ve done before, but now I wonder… how am I going to top a Grammy nomination?” She laughs. . “At the end of the day, you never know what’s going to happen.”

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