Lady G, welcome, nice to have some female presence at the Reggae Sundance festival again.
Lady G: "(laughs) That's what I'm saying. You have to mix up things. You can't have only males; you have to put some females in there too! Yeah man! It's a pleasure to be here in Holland."
Your real name is Fyffe, so where does the Lady G name come from or what does it stand for? Wouldn't Lady F have been more logical?
Lady G: "(laughs) Well, my real name is Janice and at first I wanted to call myself Sister Janet. That's my pet name and the way they call me at home. Then one day I went to this promoter to have my name put on a poster for an event, and he said: "No man, that name don't sound right!" and he suggested the name Lady G. I thought about it and looked to give some meaning to the "G". Now it stands for a number of positive things like good, gorgeous, genius, goddess, whatever you want to read into it really."
You've been active in the music scene in Jamaica for a while now. In the mean time a number of ladies have joined you. I'm thinking of people like Lady Saw or Tanya Stephens...
Lady G: "And you have Macka Diamond and Ce'cile."
Do any of them look up to you as a role model?
Lady G: "All of them!"
And how do you feel about that? Is the vibe changing in Jamaica what female reggae or dancehall is concerned?
Lady G: "The vibe has definitely changed for the better because now you have a lot more females in the forefront. Before you only had one female artist running the dance at the time; like at the time when I started out, there were no other female artists around. Now, as you say, you have people like Ce'cile doing her thing, I'm still doing my thing, you have Lady Saw, Tanya and you have Macka Diamond, who is the newest sensation, having totally reinvented herself."
Where does your personal taste lie? Are you more inclined towards the rougher dancehall style like Lady Saw, or towards the more intelligent lyrics like Tanya Stephens' songs?
Lady G: "Personally I tend to go more for song with intelligent lyrics. For me a song has to have a meaning and if possible even a positive one. That has been my vibe since day one. My first hit song was called 'Nuff Respect' and I've never changed my concept over the years, even when slackness and gun lyrics became more and more common. I just talk about relationships and family, positive messages you know."
Apparently you're even a kind of social role model for women in Jamaica. They tend to recognise their daily life in your lyrics and identify with that.
Lady G: "Yes, that true. Even my friends, when they're having trouble with their boyfriend or their husband, call me up for advice. I guess they have confidence in me because I got to hear them say more than once: "Boy, you really uplifted me that time by what you said!" or "You really made me see things from a different perspective." I guess people look up to me for good advice."
Your father (Kenroy Fyffe, now a vocalist with The Congos, red.) is also a musician; he played bass with Cornell Campbell to name but one thing. Could we say then that music was predestined for you, that it was in your genes, or did you ever think of doing something else?
Lady G: "No, I've never thought of doing anything else. Right now my father is working with The Congos. For me music was an inborn thing. When I was still going to primary school, I already liked to sing other people's lyrics. I used to copy the popular tunes, change the lyrics and made up my own versions with lyrics about my friends, just to tease them. When I reached the age that I could acknowledge that my father was a musician, it even gave me more drive to do it myself. Music gives me chills and that's why I love it so much. Music is joy, it's my life; it's everything to me really."
You're a mother too. Is that something that is difficult to combine with your musical career?
Lady G: "Yes, it's a bit hard to be a parent and an artiste at the same time, but it is just the role I have to play, so I do it. I just take it one step at the time. I make sure I make special time for my children though; to hang out with them or go on vacations and stuff, but they know that their mommy has to work too."