Interview with ...

Immortalizing Donovan Germain's tradition to work with the winners of the Digicel Rising Stars competition, Shuga recently became a Penthouse artist, in the same way as Romain Virgo or Cameal Davis. This talented female singer is capable of voicing any style. The power of her voice could allow her to reach an international fame.

(November 2011 -

We know you since you won the 2009 Digicel Rising Stars competition. Could you tell us more about your performance during this contest and how did you like the experience ?
This experience was my moment in time. I knew it was a competition and to compete for me meant I had to outshine all the others, stand out, be different and think outside the box. Iíve never competed before because I was always afraid of loosing. I had an idea about how I could sing but my peers thought it was much more than just an idea, so they started pressuring me to go give it a try to the competition. During this time I was a band singer at Corol Cliff Montego Bay so I was well known there and almost everybody at work was always pushing forward. So when I was finally convinced, I went to the audition with no hype, no great expectation because to me I was just a normal girl who loved to sing, but the judges saw it differently because when I started singing, I noticed I drew a crowd and they wanted me to sing some more just like if I was at a penny concert. And even so, I was still surprised when I made it to the studio finals cause I just couldnít see what there was about me that made everybody say ďwow !Ē. Anyway I enjoyed the competition very much, made new friends, started learning about the industry, gained confidence and found my soul in music and this was my moment in time.

Before the Digicel Rising Stars, you toured Europe as a back up singer with Tanya Stephens. Was it your first professional experience in the music industry ?
Yes, it was my first professional experience in the music industry. I toured Europe with her in 2007 and 2008. We went also to Africa and did a lot of Caribbean shows. I saw how beautiful reggae music was and how much it was loved, I saw how music could heal, I saw how it brought people from every nation together, and I had to be a part of it.

What was your 1st recorded single ?
The first single I recorded was "Unknown voices" written and produced by myself and Merrick Shaw on a label we created called Magnified Production. It was after the Digicel Rising Stars, fall 2009.

What are your main musical influences ?
Life on a whole is my influence. Iím a mother and I wish I could change the world so my son and all the other kids coming up would have a safer place to live, and there is another side of me that cares a lot about people and situations. Whatever it may be I believe everyone has a purpose and we all could be happy if there was unity. I love to listen to people and pick what makes sense to me from them I donít believe no man is greater than the others. I have many influences so I'd say life.

You sing on many different styles : dancehall, lovers or cultural. Is your versatility a personal choice or is it aimed to reach the largest audience ?
I think it is always good to be versatile, that way you can reach a larger audience but it was not something that was made on purpose, itís just the music speaking, telling me what to do and it's always okay

Which style interests you the most ?
Well, whenever I can reach a new audience and they can relate back to me then Iím happy ! All these styles interest me because I know them well and when Iím happy and the producers happy then together we can try make the world happier with our artworks.

When did you start work with Donovan Germain ?
Before I met Mr Donovan Germain, I used to record at a studio called Mixing Lab. The engineer told me that Lukie D got a bad riddim from Penthouse Records. So I listened to it and God knows it was bad for true. He knew Donovan but not enough to have his number so I called Tanya Stephens and asked her for a link and she gave me his number. Me and my writer Merrick Shaw got to work on the riddim right away before we even got permission to do so, then I texted Germain and told him that I wrote a song for his riddim, so he told me to come to the studio so he could hear it. Thatís when we first met. I recorded "Complicated Love" on the O.M.G riddim and became a Penthouse recording artist. This is a great accomplishment for me because Penthouse Records has been around since my eyes were where my knees are, and to be in that company I canít do nothing but smile and make good music in a peaceful environment where Iím always welcome, where I get proper grooming I hang with experienced artists and we are one big family, each one help the other one.

Tell us more about this first single for Penthouse.
"Complicated Love" is a beautiful love song to which everybody can relate. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first song I recorded for Penthouse Records and it was like my free ticket to becoming a part of such a beautiful team. Itís a story about lovers who canít stand each other but couldnít live without each other they argued all the time yet they kissed good night to dream about each other "this love is complicated I swear but still I would never trade you for no one else". A true story for many of us but this was my writers Delema at the time and the riddim brought his story to life.

You recorded some weeks ago an adapted version of Michael Bolton's "Said I Love You But I Lied". Is it a personal choice or Donovan Germain asked you to sing this cover ?
When I covered Michael Bolton's song, it was my producer idea. I think he was just testing my vocal ability because this was the first project he gave me as Penthouse artist and again he was impressed.

Tell us about your song "Boys Always Be Boys" recorded on the No Money riddim.
"Boys Always Be Boys" and donít we all know that, it is often said that it is legal for men to cheat, but a lot of women still fuss about it. So in this song Iím saying ďhey men cheat so get a grip, as long as he treats you with respect and itís not in your face then no painĒ. But some women disagree so I say, if you do have a guy whoís not cheating hold on to him tight because that man is a sign. In this song I also tell the ladies donít go looking for hurt, a lot of women love to search, but why bother to look if you donít want to see something that hurts just play your game right and you come out winning all the time.

You recorded for other labels like Sample Rage Records, Computer Paul's Boot Camp and Annex Records. What is Donovan Germain's singularity comparing to other producers ?
Donovan Germain knows the business. I know him as a very humble man, he loves music from his heart and he wants to keep it alive. He is honest. He spends time on his work. Sometimes when I think itís over, itís that same song again cause something just aint right, he believes in good rich production. All the other producers did their best with the resources they had.

During the golden years of Penthouse records (90s), which songs left you most memories ?
Marcia Griffiths "I shall sing" and "Land of love", Beres Hammond "Warriors donít cry", Garnet Silk "Complaint", Terry Ganzie "King of kings", Spragga Benz "Moving up the line" and many more I still rock to these tunes.

Do you know the new generation of young artists who work with Germain like Romain Virgo or Cameal Davis who also won the Digicel Rising Stars and also the others (Sherieta, Torch...) ?
I am a part of the new generation of Penthouse, and like I said before we are a family together we represent Penthouse records so we are one body.

You did backing vocals for others Penthouse productions than yours ?
Yes, I did background vocals for Busy Signal, Romain Virgo, Exco Levi, Terry Linen, Richie Stephens, to name a few.

To conclude, what are your plans ? I've heard your debut album will be released soon.
Right now I have everything everything I didnít have before. A family who loves music and can share with me their many experiences I already have a complete album you will soon get the release date. The sky is the limit and we aim high so right now the plan is just to do the work and let the music speak.


- Boys Will Be Boys (2011 - No Money riddim)
- Complicated Love (2011 - O.M.G riddim)
- Nutten Nah Connect (2011 - Automatic riddim)
- Said I Love You But I Lied (2011)

listen to these singles :