Jamaica’s Queen of Dancehall Spice recently opened up about her life as a mother, being a businesswoman and of course her phenomenal popularity as a Dancehall artiste. Spice whose real name is Grace Hamilton, sat down with Red Bull Music on YouTube in a series called A Conversation With.
Spice thanked Bounty Killer as she said he was one of the first persons to hand her a mic and encourage her to perform. In fact she said at a big stage show he got her on stage to perform and that would become a catalyst in her now illustrious career. He said it was at that show that Bounty Killer told her that she was going to be the next Queen of Dancehall.
Spice also spoke about her close relationship with Vybz Kartel, who also recently praised Killer as a mentor and father figure in a heartfelt Instagram post.
“Vybz Kartel and I, we knew each other before the fame. We both come from Portmore. When he was trying to make a name for himself and I was trying to make a name for myself, we use to go to stage shows anywhere we coulda find it,” she said. This she said was before they even had the names Vybz Kartel and Spice.
Spice revealed that one night while they were heading out to a show the car was full and Kartel told her she could come but she would have to sit on his lap, which she did from Portmore all the way past Ocho Rios. It’s from times like these that the pair formed a special bond.
“So Vybz Kartel and I, we knew each other before the fame. That’s why me always say, a lot of people see the glory but they don’t know the story. We had a relationship before Ramping Shop.”
She also shared that the collaboration came about after a sold out concert in 2009 when Kartel convinced her that they were now famous and needed to get together to make a hit. Spice credited Kartel as changing the flow of Dancehall because of his flow and unique lyrical content. She also revealed that at first she didn’t like the song, which Kartel wrote himself, because the beat was slow. However she said she gave it her all.
She went into detail about their friendship and once again reiterated that they never had a romantic relationship.
Spice also addressed the crowd about her feeling on colourism. Something she said was a problem in Jamaica. “In Jamaica, they make you feel like if you don’t have that complexion that’s on the screen, you’re not popping, you’re not hot… if you stay as a dark skinned black woman then you are [made to] feel inferior.”
She added: “All my life colorism has affected me. To this day it might have lessened since the song but you know I remember even two years ago you’d post a picture and the comments would be ‘Spice you can bleach your dark skin’, ‘Spice you have too much money to stay Black’.”
Spice jokingly said she didn’t know what went wrong as she started her musical career in church before she made it big and added that she’s been performing since she was four-years-old.
She also spoke about her humble beginnings in Jamaica and attributed them to giving her strength. Spice revealed that she suffered a cultural shock when she was younger after she moved to England for a while.
She also explained how she got her big break at just 14-years-old when she got an opportunity to perform for Sting. This is where she said got her first crown. She reminisced about her days at the music festival and told the audience that she went every year and “demolished “the male artistes.
There’s just one more accomplishment that the Queen of Dancehall is hoping for and that’s a Grammy. “I want to win the Grammys. I want to do, like you know, what no other female from Jamaica has done. Bob Marley did it for reggae, I want to do it for females in Dancehall.”