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The Sister Nancy Day Thread (August 19, 2020)

Sister Nancy, aka Ophilin Russell-Myers, is a reggae pioneer, the first female Dancehall DJ.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1962, she followed her older brother Robert – better known as Brigadier Jerry – into the music scene as a teenager in 1976. After entering the studio for the first time in 1979, she had success with a string of singles and toured internationally.

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Dancehall pioneer Sister Nancy #bambam

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“Bam Bam” was recorded for her 1982 debut album ‘One Two’, her vocals over an Ansel Collins’ 1977 instrumental. Outside of Jamaica in the decades afterward, the song would become arguably the most sampled and remixed dancehall song of all time (including by Kanye West and Jay-Z in recent years). Nancy was screwed over by the album producer however; he surreptitiously changed the copyright for the song and left her receiving no money from it’s use. She continued to appear live for some years before leaving the music scene behind in the Nineties.

It was only when she migrated to America that she realised how ubiquitous “Bam Bam” had become. After seeing a Reebok commercial featuring a sample from it in 2014 she said “No.”

Through lawyers she negotiated a deal with the current rights holders, so she would get some, but not all, of the royalties she deserved for her own music. After working as an accountant for the biggest bank in New Jersey for fifteen years, she could afford to leave and return to performing once more.

As you can see I’m on Instagram where you can find my work, and I’m always open to collaborations and commissions.

Have a great day and take care of yourselves and each other, everyone!