Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Karen Smith featured at VP Records' monthly block party

Published:Sunday | July 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera
Karen Smith (right) being interviewed live on WZPP 103fm by DJ Yvette at the VP Records Block Party at their Miramar headquarters in Florida, recently.
Karen Smith performing to an audience excitedly taking pics and going live on social media at the VP Records Block Party in Miramar, Florida, recently.
Songbird Karen Smith signs her new album for Richard 'Messenjah' Cooke at VP Records in Miramar, Florida, recently.
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Following on the heels of Queen Ifrica, Mr Vegas and Ian Sweetness, Jamaica's songbird Karen Smith was the featured artiste at the VP Records monthly block party at their Miramar, Florida, headquarters, recently.

Smith, whose new single, True Confession, from the album Rush, was number one on the Clinton Lindsay's Top 25 Reggae chart in South Florida and number eight on the same chart in New York, performed to an intimate audience and signed autographs of her CD, during a live outside broadcast on WZPP 103.9FM.

The event, which kicked off four months ago, showcases a different artiste each month, says VP Record's Howie Chung.

"It's an opportunity to feature the new releases and meet the artistes up close and personal," Chung told The Sunday Gleaner. With the release of Smith's album and its gaining popularity, Chung said it was befitting.

The artiste, who started out singing commercials, and who remains renowned for her Grace Cock Soup advert, as well as the period she spent performing on the same stage with Dennis Brown's 'Inseparable' concert series, gave audience an insight into her stellar career.

Reminiscing on her days, she shared the stage with the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown, Smith told DJ Yvette, her thousands of listeners and the live audience, "I was really just starting out and the audience in the National Arena was always so warm."

She explained that the way the show was structured was a presentation of reggae in a cabaret setting.

"Dennis Brown and Lloyd Parkes and We the People Band would come out first, then in the middle, we would do the cabaret."

Now under the influence of a man considered reggae royalty, producer Willie Lindo, Smith seems to be on the path to becoming a fixture on the international scene. If her husband and manager, Jackie Jackson, the bass guitarist, now on tour with 'Toots and the Maytals', has his way, Smith will be doing shows all over the world.

Admitting she was a "freshly" in the studio, Smith, during the live interview, said she was in her comfort zone delivering hits after hits to a group of people that she could touch and intermingle with.

It took her no time to get to this stage of touching last Saturday. As soon as the WZPP DJ completed her segment of the show, the true spirit of Nanny, the beauty of a Miss Jamaica, and the vocals of an Aretha Franklin rang beautifully throughout the block, making that undisputable statement that Smith was a star.

Pulling from her album, she opened with a remake of a Dusty Springfield classic, Don't Know What to Do with Myself', followed by Ace of Base's Every Time It Rains, and a Willie Lindo original, Don't Let the Children Cry.

After a number of songs, Smith ended her impressive set with the title track, Rush, while holding the audience captive and commandeering their every beat.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com