Marion Hall famously known by the stage name Lady Saw is a Jamaican
singer-songwriter whose career has spanned over two decades. Widely
known as the Queen of Dance hall, she is the first female deejay to be
certified as a triple-platinum and Grammy Award–winning artist.
Lady Saw was born in Galina, Saint Mary, Jamaica in 1972. As a child,
Saw attended Galina Primary School. During her teen years, she had a
sewing job at The Free Zone in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of fifteen,
she began performing with local sound systems. Lady Saw went on to
work with the Stereo One system in Kingston.
In August 1994, Lady Saw released her first album entitled Lover Girl.
The album spawned the hit “Stab Up De Meat”. Then in 1996, she
released her second album Give Me the Reason.
In February 1998, Lady Saw released her first greatest hits
album entitled Raw, the Best of Lady Saw. In December 1998, Saw
released her fourth album 99 Ways, which charted at number 10 on
Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums chart.
In 1999 Lady Saw had a major hit in the United States with “Smile”,
recorded with Vitamin C, which peaked at number 18 on
the Billboard Hot 100, also a major hit in New Zealand and Canada, and
certified gold with over 500,000 sales. In 2002, her collaboration with No
Doubt, “Underneath It All”, which reached number three in the US and
sold more than three million copies, reaching triple platinum certification. The track won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Performance by a
Duo or Group’.
In August 2004, Lady Saw released her fifth album Strip Tease. The
album charted at number 84 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
chart and number 14 Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums chart.
In 2009, Lady Saw released her second greatest hits album entitled Extra
Raw: The First Lady of Dance hall. She launched her own record label,
Divas Records, in January 2010. In August 2010, Saw released the lead
single “Party Till December” from her forthcoming album. In December
2010, she released My Way, which failed to chart. In the same year, Lady
Saw was also featured along with Nicki Minaj on rapper Trina’s song
“Dang A Lang” from her album Amazin’ . In May 2011, she released a
single “When Mi Left a Man”.
On December 15, 2015, Lady Saw underwent a Baptism. She later stated
she will no longer identify herself as “Lady Saw”, but instead as Minister
Marion Hall or simply Marion Hall. She also stated that she will not
perform dancehall music, but instead she will begin a new music career in
gospel music. She has released a few gospel songs; “Jesus In The End”,
“Cup of Blessings”, “God Almighty”, and “Heaven” which appear on
several mix tapes. In July 2016, she released her gospel album When God
Lady Saw became known for slack performance style. The style also
prompted her to record “What is Slackness?”; a song in which she defines
‘slackness’ in many ways. Slackness often refers to vulgarity in behavior
in Jamaican culture, and the music. It always sums up the explicit sexual
lyrics used in reggae and dance hall music. Because of this, several of her
performances were banned in some parts of Jamaica, though equally lewd
male performances were not. The double standard inspired her to record
the song “Freedom of Speech” in protest. She also became known for her
“conscious” lyrics. She recorded “Condom”; warning girls of the dangers
of unprotected heterosexual sex.
Lady Saw has been a part of Reggae Sumfest since 2004 and she performed
this year at Reggae Sumfest 2020.