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Janet Kay talks about Silly Games

PUBLISHED: 12:46 12 June 2013 | UPDATED: 12:46 12 June 2013

Janet Kay

Janet Kay

Archant

Janet Kay first hit the headlines in 1977 when a she recorded Loving You and emerged on the Lover’s Rock scene.

The song became a reggae smash hit and spent mant weks at the top of the reggae charts. In 1979 Janet made history with Silly Games as she became the first British born black woman to have a reggae song at the top of the charts. Silly Games also became a hit in Europe.

It also heralded the beginning of what became known as Lover’s Rock which influenced the likes of Sade, the Police and Culture Club. It also gave her a place in the Music Guinness Book of Records as the first Black British-born female reggae artist.

Now as she is about to bring Lover’s Rock Monologues to Theatre Royal Stratford East, Janet recalled how it all began.

“I was just one of many yound kids that dream of becoming a singer. I didn’t know whether I had the talent to do it.

“Back then, we didn’t have all the drama schools that there are now, our parents weren’t clued up and there was no internet.”

Once she began on her musical journey, thanks in large part to Tony Gadd, the keyboard player with Aswad, Janet said: “Everything I did happened because I was at the right palce at the right time and things just happened.

“I thought maybe that that was the path that was set for me by a greater force. I guess I felt, I think blessed is the word I’m looking for. I belive that was what happened because things just kept falling into place until the present.”

Janet recalls that she went to a rehearsal studio with a friend and although the room was empty, she began singing with a microphone. Tony Gadd from Aswad heard her, mentioned her to Alton Ellis as he knew that he was looking for a female perfomer for the song Loving You. From then it was just a matter of time before Janet recorded the song which hit the charts in 1977.

In 1979, Janet made history by becoming the first British born black female to have a reggae song at the top of the British charts with Silly Games, produced by Dennis Bovell.

It was a hit not only in the UK but also in Europe.

Since then, she has had three children, continued making music while holding down a secretarial day job, and won a series of accolades.

Janet has been voted one of Britain’s Top 100 Black Britons by the Evening Standard and has also been presented with many awards over the years including, Silver Disc for Silly Games, Best Female Singer, Best 7” Vinyl Single and Best 12” Vinyl Single (1979), Memorial Disc to commemorate the overall success of Janet Kay Albums in Japan, presented by Sony Music Japan (1995), Women of Merit by Darker than Blue in association with Barclays (2002), Contribution to British Black Music Industry (2001) and Outstanding Contribution to British Reggae (2009).

Now Janet will be revisiting the late 1970s with the Lover’s Rock Monologues which will be staged at Theatre Royal Stratford East over four performances from June 20 until June 22.

The show, which celebrates 40 years of Lover’s Rock in the East End, has already sold out across London.

Lover’s Rock, a musical style with its origins rooted in 1970s London and now in its 40th Anniversary year is known for its romantic sound and content that combines smooth reggae with soul and blues. Performed by critically acclaimed artists Janet together with Victor Romero Evans and Carroll Thompson, Lover’s Rock Monologues is packed with classic British Lover’s Rock songs. The show features their hits including Silly Games, At The Club and Hopelessly In Love.

Lover’s Rock Monologues will run from June 20 until June 22. To book tickets call the Box Office on 020 8534 0310, visit www.stratfordeast.com or book in person at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford.

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