Interview with ...
Junie Ranks


Junie Ranks has occupied an important place in dance hall since many years. After recording her first single “Counteraction” for Techniques on the stalag riddim, she scored many hit singles like “Gimmie Di Buddy”, “ Cry Fe Me Boops”, “Big and Ready” and “Dibby Dibby Man”. At the time she was one of the top female dee-jays and received the Father Bins award for Female Dee Jay of the Year in 1989.
Junie has recorded for some of the top producers in the business such as King Jammys, Steelie, Bunny Lee, Patrick Roberts, Black Scorpio and the late King Tubbys. She also collaborated with Penthouse records on several occasions at the end of the 80s.

(October 2008 - penthouserecords.free.fr)

You were a child when you started your musical career. Tell us more about your early years. Did you start singing in Sound Systems ?
At a young age I enjoyed being a challenge. I was always pushing myself to the limit which back then for a female wasn’t considered the most proper thing to do. Sneaking out to perform at the community center youth club called “Afreak,” I was always getting the crowd going. When I became a regular local act, that’s when some of the sounds approached me. I began dee-jaying on ET Sound System and on Technique Disco and that’s how I was discovered. I was always a challenge on the mic and would challenge anyone. Not only was I challenging men, but I was also challenging some of the biggest names in the industry.

Can you explain the choice of your artist name ?
I was always rude when I was younger. At that time “Ranks” was the name that was in style. So they began calling me Junie “Ranks” and the name stuck.

Why did you choose DJ style rather than singing ?
Singing was my first love, however like I said before, I like challenging things. Listening to artists such as Super Cat, Shabba Ranks, Admiral Bailey, etc. I started to mimic the style and just enjoyed the way the words would flow so rapidly with the riddim.

What were your main musical influences ?
General Echo and Sister Nancy.

What was your first hit ?
I became famous when I did “Gimmie Di Buddy” as an answer to Admiral Bailey’s “Ge-Me Punany” and “ Cry Fe Me Boops” which was the answer to Super Cat's “See Boops Deh”.

Despite your talent and your experiment, you are rather not very exposed, like the majority of the female artists in Jamaica. How do you explain that women do not have as much credibility as men in the reggae music industry ?
At the time I came out I was famous. Right be out of the game is why I am not as famous as before. Reggae music has always had male domination, but there are a few females who have made a name for themselves. The lack of female presence may be due to the industry wanting a certain type of style. That limitation makes it hard for females to be creative and have the ability to stay fresh in the music.

You recorded your 1st song for Donovan Germain's Penthouse label in 1989. How did you get connected ?
At the time I was one of top female dee-jays and was approached by Donovan Germain. After working with him, I had stopped being with Techniques.

You recorded for many labels. What is Donovan Germain's singularity comparing to other producers ?
Donovan Germain is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. He was very easy to work with and allowed me to have my own creative style even when he didn’t always agree with what I was doing.

When you recorded for Penthouse, Dave and Tony Kelly were producing most of Penthouse songs. Can you tell us a little more on their way of working ?
They were young, fresh and hip to everything. They were most sought after producers and great writers. The work they did made Penthouse what it was in reggae music at that time.

Among all your singles for Penthouse, which one is your favorite ?
Sweetest Girl featuring Wayne Wonder.

What do you think of the current state of the reggae industry? Don't you think, like me, that quality is better than quantity ?
Depends on what you would define as “quality.” I agree in my time the industry was more focused on quality and now it is for quality. Now it’s more about the money whereas in my time it’s the love of the music. We were more interested in performing for the audience.

Who are your favorite artists among the current generation ?
I don’t have a favorite from the current generation. My all-time favorite from back in the days and even now gotta be Shabba Ranks. Shabba Ranks is still my favorite artist. He can go against any of the current artist right and still rock the crowd more than them. If I had to pick an artist from today it would be Beenie Man. He used to stand on a soap box so the crowd could see him (Junie laughs).

Do you earn a living with music or do you have another job ?
I eat, sleep and breathe music, but I do have to make a living and have another career.

To conclude, what are your plans ?
Right now I am working on my upcoming album and promotions. In the future, I want to become the biggest and best female producer after I stop holding the mic. I am already working towards this goal.
I especially want to thank all my fans (old and new) for their love and support !
For bookings or more information, please contact Ms. Shelley Lopez at DASK Entertainment, Inc. (daskentertainment@gmail.com or www.myspace.com/daskentertainment) and visit MySpace .

DISCOGRAPHY ON PENTHOUSE RECORDS :

- Careful Who You Love (1989 - Pon Me Nozzle riddim)
- Nyam Him Down (1989)
- Stop Distressing Woman / Lick Out Against The Man (1989 - Taxi riddim)
- Sweetest Girl with Wayne Wonder (1989)
- X-Rated (1990 - Workie Workie / Mud Up riddim)

listen to these singles :