Janet Kay, one of the most influential Reggae singers of all time celebrates 40 years in the music business at Stoke Newington Music Festival 2017.
Janet Kay made history in 1979 by becoming the first British born black female to have a reggae song at the top of the British charts. The song 'Silly Games', was a hit not only in the UK, but also in Europe. Janet's song writing prowess became evident on the release of her first album, 'Capricorn Woman'.
The album was, and still is a best seller. All the songs except two were written by Janet Kay. At this time in her career, Janet had become known as the 'Queen of Lover's Rock', and was presented with awards from the Black Echoes Newspaper for best 7" vinyl single, best 12" vinyl single, and for best female vocalist.
The early 80's saw the collaboration between Janet and reggae legend Jackie Mitto with the Randy Crawford classic, 'You Bring the Sun Out'. In 1980, after a chance meeting with actor/singer Victor Romero Evans, Janet was introduced to the theatre company Black Theatre Co-operative. A successful audition saw the birth of Janet's theatrical career. She had her theatre debut in Faroukh Dhondy's play 'Mama Dragon', which toured England and Europe. Janet has since appeared in several films, and has made numerous TV, theatre and radio play appearances.
In 1981, Janet also starred in the Black Theatre Co-operative's TV sitcom 'No Problem' (LWT/Channel 4), the first black TV show created and conceived by a black theatre company. The show became a cult classic. Later, in the early 90's Janet, along with fellow actresses Judith Jacob, Suzanne Packer, Suzette Llewellyn, Beverley Michaels, Josephine Melville and Joanne Campbell formed the highly successful female theatre company, the Bibi Crew. All the shows were written produced and directed by the company.
Over the years Janet has collaborated with top producers such as Drummie Zeb & Tony Gad (Aswad), Junior Giscombe (Mama Used To Say), Jeremy Meehan, Shinichi Osawa (Japan), Kodama & Gota (Japan), Omar and Sly & Robbie. Janet's has had three platinum and gold selling albums in Japan, 'Love You Always' selling over 400 thousand copies in its first year alone.
Janet has also co-written and composed songs for a Japanese TV series entitled 'La Dolce Vita', alongside the renowned Japanese composer Taro Iwashiro.
Janet has been voted one of Britain's Top 100 Black Britains by the Evening Standard and been presented with many awards over the years including: Silver Disc for Silly Games, Memorial Disc in Commemoration of one platinum and two gold albums in Japan, presented by Sony Music Japan (1994), Women of Merit by Darker than Blue in association with Barclays (2002), Contribution to British Black Music Industry (2001) and Outstanding Contribution to British Reggae (2009) to name but a few.