Remembering J Capri
Twenty-seven years ago on Christmas Eve, Oradell Carwin gave birth to a vivacious baby girl. That baby, Jordan 'J Capri' Phillips, would grow to become an internationally embraced singer, who was one of few to successfully bridge the gap between dancehall and hip hop. Just five years into her career, the world was stripped of the fast-rising talent when she died on December 4, 2015, following a motor vehicle accident weeks prior.
Carwin says Christmas Eve has never been the same.
“For me it’s very, very sad, cause it’s her birthday, and the last thing I want to do on my daughter’s birthday is go to her grave which is what usually happens,” Carwin told The Gleaner. “We try to do a birthday dinner on this day for her, just to celebrate her, and remember how she was, and what she would have wanted to do.”
Carwin said that J Capri was big on birthdays, but said sharing a birthday with Christmas Eve presented challenges.
“She was happy to be born on Christmas Eve, and of course always wanted two gifts,” Carwin recalled with a chuckle. “At the same time, she hated it a little bit because she always said that when it comes time for her birthday and she wants a party, everyone is always too busy because it’s Christmas Eve.”
Remembered for her signature purple streaked-hair, rock star fashion sense and warm personality, J Capri, embodied the lyric “living my life like it’s golden”. For her 21st birthday, she went all out. Her mom recalled, “She was actually going on a tour in Europe, and she really wanted a special celebration, so she decided to give herself that while touring. She travelled first class, had champagne, just the whole nine yards."
J Capri emerged on the scene in late 2010, after she formed an alliance with acclaimed producer, Rvssian. Long before tropical house or dancehall trap, she was fusing her love for R&B and hip hop, with her passion for dancehall in chart-hitting hybrid projects. Her 2013 single Whine and Kotch, featuring Charly Black, soared to the top of the Reggae iTunes chart in France, The Netherlands and Caribbean territories. The music video racked up more than 51 million views. Her repertoire also includes Pull Up to My Bumper featuring Konshens — a 2013 track which has amassed more than 35 million views on Youtube. She also collaborated with Vybz Kartel on Mamacita (2014) and has other notable singles like — Reverse It (2014) and Boom and Bend Over (2014).
Even though her musical journey was short, J Capri left an indelible mark on the industry, and has cemented her place in the history books of Jamaican music. Her legacy is further being immortalised through her eponymous foundation, launched in June to help young female artistes actualise their dreams.
“Since the launch, a lot of people have been interested in supporting us and we are very grateful,” Carwin said. “We’re now raising funds to support our scholarship and mentorship programs, that we started in September. We are helping the various artistes through companies and government entities, to achieve our mission, and help provide the necessary resources to help young female artistes in Jamaica. Our website will be launched in March, and the public will be able to join us through that and we’re planning some fundraising events for next year so definitely look out.”