As a sixties child, Janet was exposed to the singing greats, especially those from the Tamla Motown stable and as a result of the exposure and inspiration, Janet’s love for singing was born.
In 1977, whilst in Secretarial College, Janet was invited by her school friend Sonia Ferguson (who recorded a cover version of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Oh Baby Baby’ in the late 70’s) to a band rehearsal. Destiny saw to it that band member Tony Gad heard Janet singing in the rehearsal room. He was so impressed with the sweetness of Janet’s voice that he introduced her to the reggae legend, the great Alton Ellis.
That meeting resulted in Janet recording a cover version of Minnie Ripperton’s ‘Loving You’ (produced by Alton Ellis), which became a reggae smash hit spending many weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.
The following year, 1978, saw Janet record 2 more cover versions, ‘I Do Love You’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For’, again, both spending weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.
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. The song ‘Silly Games’, (produced by Dennis Bovell) was a hit not only in the UK but also in Europe. Janet’s history making has been recorded in the Music Guiness Book of Records.
Janet’s songwriting prowess became evident on the release of her first album ‘Capricorn Woman’. The album was, and still is a best seller. All the songs except 2 were penned by Janet Kay.
By now, Janet had become known as the ‘Queen of Lover’s Rock’. In that same year Janet was presented with the awards for Best 7” single, Best 12” single and Best Female Vocalist 1979 by Black Echoes Music Newspaper.
Janet’s voice was not exclusive to only reggae music and in the early 80’s she also penned and sung the soulful ‘Eternally Grateful’ which became an underground hit.
The early 80’s also saw the collaboration between Janet and reggae legend Jackie Mitto with the Randy Crawford classic, ‘You Bring The Sun Out’.
In 1980, after a chance meeting with actor/singer Victor Romero Evans, Janet was introduced to the theatre company ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’. A successful audition saw the birth of Janet’s theatrical career, in the play ‘Mama Dragon’ by Faroukh Dhondy’s which toured England and Europe.
Janet’s theatre credits include:
Mama Dragon - BTC
Shooting Stars At Day - BTC
Redemption Song - BTC
Sink or Swim - Foco Novo
Tewodos - BTC (Black Theatre Forum)
Say Hallelujah - Black Theatre Forum
Don,t Blame The Post Man - Roots Theatre
65 With a Bullett - BTC (song writer) On a Level - BIBI CREW
Another Level - BIBI CREW
Pheonix England - BBC play
Read Peoms and short stories - BBC
Friends - BBC
Skip Crisps (Voice Over)
Tilda Rice (radio)
In 1981, Janet also starred in the ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’s’ TV sitcom ‘No Problem’ (LWT/Channel 4), the first black TV show which was created and conceived by a black theatre company. The show became a cult classic.
Other television credits include:
Top of th Pops - BBC
Party at the Palace - with special guest Trevor McDonald and Gary Bird - LWT/CH4
Birds of a Feather - BBC
Verdict - CH4
Razamtaz - Southern TV
Runaround - ITV
Afternoon Plus - ITV
Hale and Pace - ITV (sung theme track for one episode)
Snakes and Ladders - CH4
Blacka and Bella Show - CH4
In Between the Lines “Cracker” - BBC1
Casualty - BBC1
A Touch of Frost – ITV
Burning an Illusion
Time and Judgement
The late 80’s saw Janet’s collaboration with the singer/producer Lloyd Charmers with the cover album ‘Sweet Surrender’.
In 1990 Janet collaborated with Beats International (Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim) on their track Burundi Blues. Following this collaboration, Janet was invited to feature on Lindy Layton’s version of Silly Games.
In the early 90’s Janet, along with fellow actresses Judith Jacob, Suzanne Packer, Suzette Llewellyn, Beverley Michaels, Josephine Melville and the Late Joanne Campbell formed the highly successful female theatre company the Bibi Crew. All the shows were written produced and directed by the Crew.
In 1991, the album ‘Sweet Surrender’ was renamed ‘Lovin’ You, Best of Janet Kay’, (which included a newly recorded version of ‘Lovin’ You’), and was released in Japan.; The track ‘Lovin’ You’ propelled Janet to stardom in Japan. Janet subsequently signed to Sony Music (Japan). As a Sony artist Janet has, to date released the following albums:
Loving You (The Best of Janet Kay) - 1991
Love You Always - 1993
For the Love of You – 1994
In Paradise - 1996
Making History - 1998
Through The Years - 1999
Lovin’ You … More - 2003
Over the years Janet has collaborated with top producers, Drummie Zeb and Tony Gad (Aswad), Junior Giscombe (‘Mama Used To Say’), Jeremy Meehan, Shinichi Osawa (Japan), Kodama & Gota (Japan), Omar and Sly and Robbie. Janet’s albums have sold in excess of a million copies in Japan, ‘Love You Always’ selling over 400 thousand copies in its first year alone.
Japan entitled ‘La Dolce Vita’, alongside the renowned Japanese composer Taro Iwashiro.
Janet has visited Japan at least once a year every year since 1990.
In recent years Janet has visited Japan, performing at the exclusive Blue Note Night Club for 2 to 3 weeks at a time in Fukuoka, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagoya and Tokyo.
This year (2006/7) sees Janet’s return to theatre, where she appeared as the Fairy Godmother in Hackney Empire’s Pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, which the Evening Standard rated the best ‘Panto of the season’. Janet is currently promoting and performing, along with Victor Romero Evans and Carroll Thompson, their newly devised ‘Lover’s Rock Unplugged’ shows.
Janet’s talents are not exclusive to singing and drama. Janet is an accomplished Machine Knitter/Designer and Lacemaker her works have been published in craft editorials. Janet has recently completed a Film Editors course and already she has co-edited a short feature film by Clive Gandison (‘Evergreen Man’) which was recently nominated for an award by the BFM.
Janet has been voted one of Britain’s Top 100 Black Britain’s by the Evening Standard and she has also been presented with an award for her Outstanding Contribution to Black Music by Darker Than Blue in association with Barclays.
Janet’s sweet, heart warming vocals has and continues to win her many friends around the world. Her songs, ‘Silly Games’ and ‘Lovin’ You’, reaching anthemic heights, on this side and the other side of the globe.
May the sweetness of Janet’s vocals continue to warm the hearts of each and everyone!
Edited by Bowen93 on 2 Nov 2007, 16:20
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