The empress of reggae music Marcia Griffiths
Dubbed the empress of reggae music, longtime musical sensation Marcia Griffiths began her professional singing career in 1964 at the age of 15, with Byron Lee and the band Dragonaires.
Philip James of The Blues Busters, who heard her sing in his neighborhood, introduced her to the mainstream music industry. Clement Dodd then offered her a signing opportunity and she released her first songwant to jump in 1978 on Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label. There, she released several duets including Young, gifted and black in 1970 and The flute player in 1971 as one half of the duo, Bob and Marcia.
Following the success of her duo, she launched her solo career on the High Note label, working with one of reggae‘s only established producers, Sonia Pottinger, on many tracks. She has produced several hit songs and two well-known albums, Naturally and Step by step.
In 1974, Griffiths teamed up with Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt to form the I-Threes. Together, they were an integral part of Bob Marley’s entourage. Even when she toured with this important group, she continued to develop her career as a solo singer.
When his huge single electric boogie was released in 1982, Griffiths became a household name globally. Upon its initial release, the song topped the Jamaican charts and later became popular in Washington, D.C. when a disc jockey started playing the song and it was added to the station’s regular rotation roster. .
The song then inspired the creation of the cool, chic and simple dance moves of the Electric slide. The dance turned out to be a boon that led to a huge increase in music sales. The song and dance has also been featured on several international TV shows including Oprah Winfrey’s show and Black Entertainment TV (BET).
Speaking about his influence and experience in the industry, “It has been tough and difficult work to stand as a woman in this profession. My views on women in reggae are positive; most new or upcoming reggae singers started singing my songs before doing their own originals. I feel great about it; to know that I have positively influenced my people”, Griffiths said in an interview recorded on Last FM.
In 2002, when Jamaica celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence, Marcia received the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence. She was also awarded the Jamaican Order of Distinction in 2014 for her contribution to reggae music. Marcia will celebrate 58 years of music this year and she continues to support her community through the Marcia Griffiths Foundation.