Entertainer Marion Hall, having taken a hiatus of sorts from the music, is back and really living the life. Basking in the glow of solid corporate endorsement as one of the new faces (read ‘Diva’) of cellular mogul, Digicel, she has rolled out her very own Diva Records label and is in full production mode.
Always engaging and with a ready smile – whether she’s being her moniker Lady Saw, or living her real life persona, Marion – this entertainer has garnered the respect of the dancehall/reggae community, the same one that lovingly refers to her as ‘Muma Saw’.
Sunday Observer caught up with Saw soon after the launch of Reggae Sumfest, where the Digicel Divas of Dancehall campaign was unveiled. She was full of praise for Digicel for what she termed “taking a chance with her”.
“I suppose other corporate people have not looked beyond one set of dancehall lyrics and have preferred to ignore the fact that Lady Saw is a total package. I deejay, sing clean, uplifting songs that empower women and it is this that Digicel has responded to,” the Diva of the Dancehall declared, adding impishly, “I love my Digicel.”
While this may be her first such foray in the world of advertising on a local level, Lady Saw is not new to this game. Her combination single, Smile, with Vitamin C – which incidentally achieved gold status – was featured in a television commercial for laundry detergent Tide in the States and she has been featured in Hyundai television advertisements over in Japan.
Saw, one of the acts to perform on Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night, is full of anticipation as this will give her a chance to showcase to her fans all the work she has been doing recently. She gave a taste of this at the launch of the event and ended up being quite a show-stealer.
“Sumfest will be something special. I have great things in store for my fans,” she promised.
Wearing the hat ‘producer’, she has been working assiduously on her Summer Bounce rhythm project, which is intended to break in her label. Summer Bounce features contributions from Lady Saw herself, Elephant Man, Ce’Cile, Assassin, Mr Vegas and Vybz Kartel.
Saw’s singles are entitled Beg Yuh Some Money and Bills.
“When asked about the name of the former, she laughed outright. “In these times of recession, ladies have to be bold and ask for exactly what they want,” she stated firmly. “I have good friends who I will ask outright for money if I have a need . you can’t be shy about these things and you can’t accept ‘monkey money’ either. You just have to be forthright,” Saw advised.
Among the projects that Lady Saw is working on is an album of one-drop songs. She admits that she has been doing more singing in recent times and has been enjoying it. Known as a veteran deejay, she surprised fans a few years ago when she chose to sing the country and western-tinged Give Me A Reason, and then followed it up with other songs quite pleasing to the ear.
“Yes, I will be singing more . that is the mode I am in right now, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be hearing deejay tunes from Lady Saw,” she noted.
Referred to as ‘The First Lady of Dancehall’, Lady Saw has been described as “a Jamaican bad girl with loads more attitude and sex appeal than hip-hop mistresses like Lil’ Kim or Foxy Brown, plus one of the most distinguishing images in reggae”.
“That’s a description I can live with, but there is much more to Lady Saw/Marion Hall than that,” she says.
Lady Saw, whose career has been rising steadily since the early 90’s has had a long association with Jamaican grassroots New York-based label VP Records with whom she has terminated her record deal. Among the album released on the VP label are Lover Girl, 99 Ways, Give Me The Reason, Raw: The Best of Lady Saw, Strip Tease, Passion and Walk Out.