Lady Saw

Lady Saw has forged a career in the male-dominate world of Jamaican dancehall reggae. Her style of deejaying rivals that of the most lewd and crude of her male contemporaries.

Lady Saw began performing for sound systems when she was 15 years old. She feels that her work with sound systems gave her an understanding of the recording process and helped prepare her for working in more professional studios.

Born Marion Hall around 1971, in Galina, St. Mary, Jamaica, Lady Saw was the middle child of nine children. Her father was a fisherman and a farmer. Her mother was a domestic worker. They lived with her grandmother in a one-room house. Their family struggled to survive, with the children doing what they could to contribute to the family income. They would pick a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables to sell at market. Hall’s brothers made brooms. Hall (Lady Saw) laboured as a domestic worker in exchange for food and clothing.

In 1994, Lady Saw released her first album, Bare As You Dare. This album helped establish Lay Saw as the queen of dancehall and slack. In particular, the tune “Stab out the Meat” became a hit in Jamaica and increased her notoriety among dancehall fans. Her next album, Give Me the Reason, delivered more of Lady Saw’s raunchy lyrics. She also used the album to showcase her range of singing ability. The album includes a country-sounding song called “Give Me a Reason” and a gospel song called “Glory Be to God.” The album also features a scathing attack on those who accused her of being obscene. The song “What Is Slackness?” shot back that political corruption and lies were more obscene than her lyrics.

Her popularity in the reggae scene has helped her gain notoriety with American rap and pop stars such as Eve, L’il Kim, and Foxy Brown. In 2002 she expanded her audience when the ska/punk band No Doubt featured her on their popular hit “Underneath It All.” The St. Lucia Mirror described her as “a consummate and energetic performer who feeds off her audience every single time.”

Today, Lady Saw has her own production company, Hall Productions. She’s produced two riddims: Blindfold and Lock Jaw. She’s produced major dancehall artists Capleton, Spragga Benz, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man. She’s a mentor to up-and-coming artists on her imprint as well as to Ce’Cile, her artistic progeny. She’s recorded for Shaggy, legendary producers Sly & Robbie, Funkmaster Flex, and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes . She’s appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” And she’s the only dancehall artist to have had her song, “Give Me the Reason,” covered by a country singer.

Lady Saw aspires to speak for all women. For one, she can relate. She is a Mama to three adopted children: one girl and two boys. She’s almost married, has been through her share of heartbreak and infidelity. And being one of the few females in a male-dominated industry, she’s definitely experienced sexism. While some prudish people find her expressions, both the lyrical and the physical, to be offensive (she was once banned from some important stage shows), she continues to address, with each stroke of her pen, what she considers to be the real issues women face: Being daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, and mothers in this modern world while still being strip teasingly sexy.

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