There are two sides to Lady Saw, and the second, more wholesome debuts on the Grammy winner’s latest album “Alter Ego.”
The Queen of the Dancehall latest dropped on Nov. 18, and while she doesn’t shy away from her racy side, she will surprises many listeners with more subdued, introspective tracks.
“Lady Saw, the controversial, sexually explicit and liberated queen of the dancehall,” she said. “And then there is Marion Hall [her birth name] who has been through some struggles, she has been through some pain.”
The trailblazer is known for challenging double standards and saying things that seemed normal for a man but taboo for a woman.
“I feel blessed to be a trendsetter and to be able to tear down a lot of doors for the females,” said Saw. “I can only say that it’s been a journey and a great experience and when people show genuine appreciation, I am honored by it.”
In the past, she has done many collaborations with various artists such as No Doubt, Nicki Minaj and others, and this album is no different. Here, she works with Beres Hammond on “She Has Changed”; Ali Campbell of UB40 on “I Do Love You”; Flo-Rida on “Hells On”; and Estelle on the single “What Kinda Man.”
In the latter, Lady Saw said she and the British songwriter hit it off.
“Estelle is a darling! She came to Jamaica and we would always link up,” she said. “I love her voice; she has soul. I grew up listening to that type of music, so I asked her to come on the album because I just felt her on it.”
Saw was the first female Jamaican artist to win a Grammy, go certified triple-platinum, artist and headline dancehall shows outside her native country.
Born Marion Hall in Galina (parish of Saint Mary), she started her career on local sound systems like many artists on the island. As a female artist in a male-dominated world of Jamaican dancehall reggae, Lady Saw defeated all odds when she went on to top the Jamaican charts with “Find a Good Man.” In 2002, her collaboration with No Doubt, “Underneath It All” reached number three in the U.S. and sold more than three million copies, reaching triple platinum certification. The track also won a Grammy Award for “Best Performance by a Duo or Group.” Lady Saw released six albums under VP Records and then formed her own label called Divas Records. In 2010, she released her first independent album entitled “My Way,” which was later followed up by the hot single “Heels On” which reached No. 1 on all Caribbean charts.
Proceeds from a portion of the sale of every copy of “Alter Ego” sold go to the Lady Saw Foundation for Abused Women and Children.