Saturday, April 13, 2019
In September 2017, I left Jamaica to take up an offer to create a Performing Arts program for the Challenge Schools group Organization in Far Rockaway, New York. I threw myself in, although still performing on shows in the Tri- state area. I was offered an extension for another year, which I commenced in September 2018. I subsequently, resigned and returned to Jamaica late November 2018.
While I was still in New York, my sister- in- law spoke to me about doing a song for an all female album she was conceptualizing titled “Queens in the Arena- Kemet Riddim.” She sent me the demo of ‘It takes One,’ I liked it. Although I knew I would eventually record it, I didn’t quite connect with it emotionally at that time. In the ensuing months, as the series of events unfolded in my life, without me even knowing, this song would become intricately linked in the grand scheme of my life’s journey in 2019.
After I resigned my job, I had no clue then what I was supposed to do. When asked “what’s next” by friends and family members, I told everyone, it would be revealed. I decided to take a break until the holiday season ended, before I would allow myself to think of the next step in my career path. I really wanted December to be party time. I felt happy to be home in Jamaica. However, the next step was already etched out for me, as clues and signs from the Universe, started to unfold serendipitously.
A month prior to my return to Jamaica, I redeveloped a love for newspapers’ crossword puzzles, a pastime that I hadn’t indulged in for probably ten years. So, I started buying newspaper again, just for that sole purpose.
On the December 21st, 2018, I brought the Jamaican Daily Gleaner, and rushed to the page where I could get my cross word puzzle fix. I initially didn’t see, and then as I browsed through the newspaper, I realized that I was featured as the ‘The Memory of the Day,’ a daily feature in the newspaper. There I was on my knees, a wisp of a girl, microphone in hand, doing my winning routine for the inaugural Tastee Talent Contest held in 1979. I was enthralled at the sight of my younger self, recollecting that moment in time, when in my head I felt I was dancing like Tina Turner while singing Peter Tosh’s Buckingham Palace.
I was very moved by this picture, but, did not yet quite understand that clues were being unfolded about the next step to pursue. Over the next few days, some of my friends were vacationing from Atlanta asked me to accompany them to the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road, Kingston. This was the place where Bob Marley lived, played football and conducted his business, and is the original Tuff Gong Studio where I recorded my first song, ‘Starvation on the Land’. I took them up on the offer, excited to spend time with them. We entered the museum, and as we conversed, tears started welling up in my eyes.
It was overwhelming to see the crush of people from all ethnicities and different parts of the world, visiting my former playground. While we participated in the tour, the memories of meeting Bob and some of my childhood Tuff Gong experiences played through my mind.
It didn’t hit me then, until couple days after, that the day I stepped into Tuff Gong museum, to enjoy the tour with my friends, was probably 39 years to the day after I won Tastee Talent Contest, when I went with my father to meet Bob Marley and members of the Tuff Gong organization. Incidentally, a recording contract with Tuff Gong was my main prize. On reflection, I realize that I spent the last days in December revisiting my start in the music industry, without me making a conscious effort.
It was New Year’s Eve, I was at a party dancing, excited to ring in 2019. As midnight approached and 2019 neared, the memories of the last couple of days in 2018 started mulling through my head. The profundity of these moments took me to the revelation, as it dawned on me then that December 2019 would be the beginning of my 40th anniversary of being introduced to Jamaica after winning the Tastee Talent Contest in 1979.
Before experiencing all these events I was already listening and practicing with the track ‘It takes One’ but now I felt a stronger connection to it, it had taken on new meaning for me, I was filled with a drive to honor the gift God gave me, the talent that He blessed me with.
I felt I had to honor the girl who was doing in her head a great imitation of Tina Turner, which gave her a prize of a recording contract, where Bob Marley supervised her first recording ‘Starvation on The Land. Dancing and singing took her to 40 years of glory and also pain. She really just wanted to sing and dance. It was a part of her, like breathing.
I realized that I had to make her dream live, I had to recommit to her, recommit to music, recommit to performing, and the world has to know her story. Her story is me. However, in making the decision to recommit, I had to revisit the dark side of her story, to see if I’m ready to face again some of the challenges life brought her. Some of these were the disrespect that she felt was meted to her from some members of the music industry, the possible career- ending rumors that she rose from, yet the pain of it sometimes still haunts her. In addition, the ones she most grappled with, but is far better off now in her mastery of them, are her own shyness and insecurities.
Nonetheless, she is bolstered by the love and support she receives daily from the ‘people’ and her fans, who sometimes sees more than she does, her grandeur and potentials. Also, the music industry practitioners who supported her, some who have become friends over the years, some just good people, unsullied by some of the less than favorable aspects of the industry. One lesson though, that she has learnt from all the challenges, is that no one owes her anything. Nothing is ever promised.
So, my vocals on ‘It takes One’, will probably sound emotional to some of the listeners, because that’s the way I’m feeling. I am indeed thankful; I take each day as a gift, life is indeed beautiful, no matter the challenges. In closing, I would like to add that the Universe does speak to us, giving us directions every day; we just need to pay attention. It surely does take
Nadine Sutherland presents the song "It Takes One" from the album "Queens in the Arena - Kemet Riddim" oh Nico Star Music Label.
Album available on all digital retail download and streaming platforms on February 22, 2019!!!
Buy Album on iTunes - GooglePlay - Amazon
Listen to it on Spotify - Deezer
Queens in the Arena - Kemet Riddim
01) It Takes One - Nadine Sutherland
02) What Yu Gon Do - Pam Hall
03) This Yah Route - Lady Ann
04) Amazing - Chyna Nicole
05) Back to Destiny - Vonnii
06) Be Alright - Dionne Reid
07) Missing You - Helen Rogers
08) Me Too - Dionne Blaize
09) Tough Like a Diamond - Novel-T
10) Nah Go Follow - Empress Priscilla
11) Tell Me - Lisay
12) People of the World - Isafire
13) Beauty for Ashes - Michibella
14) Kemet Riddim (feat. Ansel Collins) - Mark Clarke
Nadine Sutherland - It Takes One - 2019