A moment in ‘her-story’ with Nadine Sutherland
“I felt I had to honor the girl who imitated Tina Turner and received her a prize of a recording contract, where Bob Marley supervised her first recording ‘Starvation on The Land’. She really just wanted to sing and dance - it was akin to breathing. Dancing and singing took her to 40 years of glory and also pain.”
You might know her for her hit tracks Action or Babyface. Maybe she looks familiar from your television screen, judging on Digicel’s Rising Star. Either way, there’s no denying that Nadine Sutherland has placed her singing stamp on the letters of Jamaica’s reggae music.
You’ve heard the story of her musical career starting from age 10 when she won a Tastee Talent Competition and blossomed into stardom under the tutelage of reggae icon, The late great Bob Marley. Today, The Flair Magazine takes you to a moment in her story. Celebrating 40 years in the business, she has released a new song - ‘It Takes One’, and shares her journey full circle.
Beyond the horizon of any ‘misfortune’ is a breakthrough just waiting to happen. Back in September of 2017, Sutherland received the wonderful opportunity to create a performing arts program for the Challenge Schools group Organization in Far Rockaway, New York. So she left Jamaica to tackle the task at hand, and immediately got actively involved with the process. And even managed to balance in some shows along the way.
After its successful run, her position was reinstated for another year. She continued on her merry way. And while she enjoyed the challenge, something was missing: home. So in the latter part of 2018, she tendered in her resignation and returned to where the sun is sweet. “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,” she explained to Flair Magazine.
What was in the pipeline was a song that would be nothing short of life changing. Before she left New York, her sister-in-law had conversations with about possibly doing a song for an all female album she was conceptualizing titled “Queens in the Arena- Kemet Riddim.”
Once Sutherland received the demo of ‘It takes One,’ she immediately liked it. But she couldn’t connect with the lyrics on an emotional capacity. And although she was sure that eventually she would record the song, the timing was off. So she put it aside to focus on her. The personal events of her life which followed months after her comeback to Jamaica were all the motivation and the experience she needed.
She had redeveloped a love for newspapers’ crossword puzzles, a pastime that she quieted for approximately 10 year. Her newfound indulgence led her to an oldie but goodie moment, where she was featured in the leading local newspaper, under ‘Memory of the Day’. Moved by the sentiment, she was enthralled by the sight of her younger self. That coupled with hosting friends and visiting the Bob Marley Museum, took her down a similar lane of nostalgia. If those didn’t do the trick, maybe stepping into Tuff Gong Museum would.
All these events, culminated at the end of the year brought about a new beginning for her. The icing on the cake came when it dawned on her that she would be seeing her 40th musical anniversary since her big break. This became the driving force she needed to reignite her songbird flame from within. “ I was filled with a drive to honor the gift God gave me, the talent that He blessed me with. I realised that I had to make her dream live. I had to recommit to my true self, recommit to music, recommit to performing, so that the world can know her story. Her story is me.”
In order to make the decision to recommit, Sutherland pointed out that she had to revisit the dark side of her story, to see if she ready to face some of the challenges life brought her again. Bolstered by the love and support, she recorded and released “It takes One’ and she’s looking forward to where this awakening chapter takes her. “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 knowing that life is indeed beautiful, no matter the challenges. And when it comes to finding your purpose, it surely does take ‘One’.”