Contrary to popular belief, there is a number of female vocalists perfmorning in the dancehall reggae scene. From Cape Town, via Eastern Cape to Gauteng via Bloemfontein, Durban and pretty much every province in South Africa. If you are lucky, you can catch them perform at a dance session near you, but hardly ever featured on big stages or as opening acts for international artists, giving the impression they do not exist. Most if not all of them, have problems in finding the right producer. Somewhere right now as we speak, a producer is sitting on a song that is yet to be finished, has been working on it for years and probably not even planning on releasing it. This scenario is common to many a female artist in South African Dancehall Reggae scene. Sometimes it is that they never find good management to help in their career path and therefore end up quitting the scene.
Not so with Empress Pro, who has gone through similar tribulations, the difference being that quitting was never an option for her. She was fortunate enough to secure recording contract that would allow her to record, master and release her debut album, Journey & My Vision. That was back in 2014. She has been distributing her album independently by selling it at shows where she performs and always carrying it with her wherever she goes.
The 8 track album has been in obscurity since, but the ever driven empress has been on the radar, performing in and around Johannesburg underground venues. It would have been a pity if the album remained in the dark, as it is an innovative amalgamation of Afro Soul Reggae sounds unique to the Southern region of Africa and worth listening to. The opening track, Isiboniso, recorded in Zimbabwe during her sojourn there is almost like a tribute to her icon Busi Mhlongo, as she is channeling Ma Mhlongo’s energies and vybz. The lead single Take a Ride, which is accompanied by a video – is definitely a favorite catchy tune, the crowd always cries out for an encore every time she performs it. The other title, Lead Your Way was featured on Mzansi Reggae Sistas Vol I, along with other prolific female vocalists on the scene. The entire album is a reflection of her journey and her vision of love and life through her chosen creative path.
She has earned the moniker, The Bell Ringer, for her fierce stage presence and her modulated voice which toggles between high and low pitches seamlessly. A signature trait she picked at FUBA School of Drama and Visual Arts when she was studying Music and Drama. Years later after taking time off to raise her three beautiful kids, Empress Pro (real name Gcinekile Dlamini) has picked up where she left off and ready to embrace the duties of The Bell Ringer, after having signed a management contract. She is now in the studio working on some new material that would reflect the changes in her musical trod. The reggae scene is about to witness a lioness on the rise and she is inviting all to join her in her journey.
Watch Take a Ride with Me