Sun | Dec 10, 2017

D'Angel grown and Sassy

Published:Monday | October 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The 'downtown girl living an uptown life' is quite adamant that she has passed the difficult test to earn her respect in the dancehall space. Michelle Downer, more popularly known as D'Angel, shared with Flair that though her struggles and lessons were many, there is nothing she would have changed about her journey.

Her dreams landed her on non-stop flights and runaways across the globe with her perfect physique and a smile that was fitting for the constant flashes and fast pace of the fashion industry. However, reality took her to grand stage shows and fans who have stuck with her from day one.

It was not hard to make the transition as she grew up in a musical family. In fact, she reminisces about singing in church and at school. She was always impressed at the level of talent from dancehall stars. She speaks of the greats like Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Diana King, and Lady Saw.

D'Angel brands the period between 2004 and 2005, as her breakthrough years. Her voice cracked as she spoke of the darker days where she realised that she had to step up and start living for herself. She made a conscious decision to focus on her career and build her brand, letting go off all the negatives.

She shunned the idea of being involved with two of the biggest names in the industry to get popular. "If my heart is not in it, I will not do it," she told Flair. She noted that she genuinely cared for her partners regardless of what was said.

Downer also posits that Jamaicans fell in love with her based on her own talent and actions. She attributes that love to her single Stronger which was released in 2008. "You have to give the people something that will impact their lives and persons could relate to that song," she explained. And even though her name was dragged through the mud, she had constants who knew her and supported her throughout.

After what could be described as the dark period, her career has blossomed and she definitely became stronger. She admitted that she had to find the strength not only for herself, but she was now living for her son. "Having a child opened my eyes even wider and I realised that I had to succeed as now I had a reason to be strong." She now felt untouchable.

With motherhood came new responsibilities. Downer had to now find a balance. She had to balance life as an entertainer, model, and mother. With a hectic schedule she admits that she has full-time employees to take care of her son. This does not take away from her attending all his sporting and extra-curricular activities and being there whenever she needs to be.

She also had to find the balance in terms of managing the content of her songs so that they would not negatively affect her son. "My songs are not raunchy," she expressed, but she also explained to her son that work is work, and this is how she makes a living. So her son understands that when he sees her getting dressed up, it is for work and that is D'Angel. However, when she is home, she is "Mommy" - Michelle.

Being in the business for over 10 years, Downer states that it takes guts to stay in it. She advises other women to stop beating up on each other and focus on being the greatest.