If Lady Saw is a deejay that sings sometimes, then Abby Dallas is a singer that deejays sometimes. So, think a blend of Tessanne Chin with a little more street cred and a bit of Lady Saw with much more subtlety and you would not be far off from Abby Dallas. That Abby Dallas is first and foremost a singer is without question; however, she recently has begun to embrace her dancehall persona, resulting in inevitable comparisons to perennial leading ladies of dancehall such as Lady Saw and Cecile.
The winner of numerous national cultural music awards, including Most Outstanding Junior Vocalist, as a teenager, Abby Dallas first shot to national prominence in 2012 when she won the prestigious Jamaican Cultural Development Commission’s Festival Song Contest commemorating Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. Her festival victory with the song Real Born Jamaican enabled Abby Dallas to share the stage with Jamaican festival greats such as Eric Donaldson and Roy Rayon and to perform before over 10,000 people at the Jamaica 50th Grand Gala. Having reaped success repeatedly on the cultural side of Jamaican music, Abby Dallas has set her sights firmly on attaining mainstream success as a solo performer.
Her journey towards achieving commercial music success started to gather momentum in 2014 when she released the reggae ballad From My Heart for iconic dancehall artiste Cutty Ranks. From My Heart, with its accompanying music video, announced the arrival of the photogenic Abby Dallas as a first-rate contemporary lovers rock singer. She followed up with Extraordinary, a dancehall effort on One Jam Music’s gritty Harder than Hard dancehall riddim. She admits to having been a bit reluctant to record Extraordinary, her first dancehall tune, but she relented after being convinced by her teammates at One Jam to take a shot at deejaying. She was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reaction of fans to the recording of Extraordinary and to her live performances of the song at events such as the 2014 edition of Kite Fest. The favorable reaction of her fans to her first foray into dancehall has encouraged Abby Dallas to delve a bit deeper into the dancehall genre while continuing to focus on delivering reggae hits.
Extraordinary may have unearthed Abby’s deejaying talents, but her versatility comes as no surprise given that in recent years she has spent significant time in the role as backup singer to pop-reggae diva Diana King and to lovers rock and dancehall singer/deejay Tanya Stephens. While she is grateful for the opportunity to have learned from two of Jamaica’s leading female entertainers, Abby Dallas is now firmly focused on stepping into the spotlight as a solo performer. She has a number of reggae and dancehall songs produced by DreZion for One Jam Music that are slated for release in the first half of 2015. Songs such as Into You, Bruk Out, and I’m Hot showcase Abby’s ability to deliver at a high level across reggae, dancehall, and urban-pop and look set to accelerate Abby’s journey towards mainstream success.
Island Stage caught up with Abby for a quick conversation. Read it in full here