Interview: Dawn Penn (Part 2)

August 14, 2012

In the second part of our exclusive interview with Dawn Penn we look at her life since she decided to relaunch herself as an artist: the second coming of No No No; her autobiography; her reaction to the criticisms of the Rocksteady film; and her upcoming appearance at the UK’s One Love Festival 2012…

Dawn Penn

Why did you decide to come back to the music and Jamaica in 1987?

I left Jamaica to go and look for my roots which involved my dad. Hi thing, larger than life, is another kettle of fish, and I’m not even going to go into it so deep. It took me 17 years to get a certain situation solved but… it’s a sad ending and I’m not taking the sad with me. It’s sad but it’s not that sad, but at the same time I’m not taking that as the final thing. But I had some upheavals and I decided to go back to Jamaica. When I got back to Jamaica it was dancehall and I said to myself “If you are doing all these wonderful songs in five seconds with the dancehall idea, then if they took about five or ten or 15 or 20 minutes then half an hour they would become proper hits.” But it’s a blessing in disguise because at least you get paid and you sing a dub, right away. It used to be that you had a little quirky thing and they’d say “Oh, I didn’t know you were going to be in the studio but see, come in and I’ll give you a ting” whatever that is. But even if they had the money they’d want to get it for free or for a cheap price. Now you have the soundclash thing and my dub [of No No No] has won quite a few clashes!

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