Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records, was her usual self on Saturday, Aug. 3 — hardworking and involved in all aspect of the successful brand, that according to her, could be considered 60 years since she was the driving force from the age of 18, when her journey began in her homeland of Kingston, Jamaica.
Decked out in summer colors, Ms. Pat, as she is fondly called, was hands-on, serving Jamaican food outside the VP Records booth, at the 2ndAnnual Spirit of the Caribbean festival, sponsored by the Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning and VP Records.
The red tent, that boldly showcased the VP Records trademark, covered scores of printed reading matter, promoting the label’s upcoming events for its 40thAnniversary. Booklets chronicling, the label’s decades old success, and Miss. Pats Reggae Music journey, showcased the passion and commitment the VP Records brings to the community.
Caribbean Life caught up with the very busy Miss. Pat, who graciously agreed to share her fervor for music and duty of promoting artistes, many who, have helped to make VP Records a phenomenal house-whole name across the world.
“If you think about it, VP Records would be celebrating 60 years, because I came here (US) in 1977, and started selling the same Jamaican music, and here I am 40 years after, developing reggae artistes, and making good music, and giving back to my community,” said the humbled Ms. Chin in a deep Jamaican twang.
When asked how does she do it all, she answered, “It’s the music and the people I meet along the way and all those I can help, to introduce them to the music, and to really spread my culture throughout the world. I also like to develop new singers, some make it, and some don’t.”
Adding, “we are happy that we continue to develop artistes, producers and who ever loves the culture and the music.”
Patricia Chin, who began VP Records with deceased husband, Vincent Chin, sums it up to being gifted and lucky to meet so many talented performers, stating that many up-and-coming artistes come to VP Records for representation.
“They come to us and then we develop their new songs, and when they meet a certain level, we sign them to the label,” she said, adding “ we now have an arm, named V-Pal, an incubator for new singers. When they develop, we put them on the VP label.”
“When I came to New York, 40 years ago, we went to Jamaica, Queens, because it reminded me of Jamaica back home,” she said.
Some of the current artistes on the VP Records label are Beres Hammond, Jah Cure, Estelle, Gregory Isaacs, Richie Stephens, Buju Banton, and many others.
Miss Pat is excited about the 40th Anniversary upcoming events, like the Live Painting Murasaki at Summer Stage Central Park, featuring Elephant Man, Junior Reid, Estelle, Raging Fayah, and more, on Aug. 10, from 6 pm to 10 pm.
The Annual Jamaican Jerk Festival, featuring Christopher Martin, Capleton, Shenseea, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Naomi Cowan, Blakka Ellis, and more, will be held on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Roy Wilkins Park. Show time noon to 8 pm.
VP Records, in addition to its many outreach,and educational programs, under its theme, “Miles Ahead in Reggae” has established the Vincent and Patricia Foundation, a 501© 3 non-profit committed to using the 60th year legacy of the Chin family in the reggae and global music industry to improve public awareness of and engagement with Jamaican music and culture.
The non-profit will focus on ‘improving access to music education, particularly among youth, supporting interdisciplinary initiatives that would advance Jamaican music literacy in primary and secondary school curricula.
The nonprofit will also produce public performances that strengthen partnerships between diverse stakeholders in the community, as one of its focal points.
Miss Pat, who started Randy’s Record Mart with her husband, by selling used records out of their ice cream shop at East and Tower streets in Kingston, Jamaica, spoke passionately about a touching moment she experienced when the company celebrated its 25th anniversary at Radio City Music Hall, in Manhattan.
“As I reflect back on that night. It dawned on me that it was the first time I had ever been in a limo,” she recalled the ride that she and her family had taken in a limousine to attend the prestigious milestone concert.
“A life changing moment, and one that I will never forget was on May 8, 2004. I was in a limousine with my four children, heading to Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of VP Records since coming to America.”
“As we approached, I noticed the marquee with our name, VP Records in bright lights and all the people standing in line to see the celebration concert,” said Chin.
“I felt an extreme sense of joy and pride knowing that all the people in line were there to celebrate this special occasion with me. I couldn’t believe that almost 60 years ago, when I was just 10, my father used to put my mother on his bicycle handlebars and ride her to the movies on the weekends.”
“As children, we were so mad and would run after them crying because we wanted to go too, but they could not afford to take us all.”
“Radio City was a very special moment. It showed me how far I’ve come in my life,” were the cherished memories, shared, and will forever, be etched in the mind of Ms. Pat.