St Vincent’s first lady of dancehall building on momentum from Sting Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

By the time the dust at Sting 2022 had settled, many were unanimous in their opinion that Sita D Lyrical Diva delivered one of the more memorable performances.

And it wasn’t just her lyrics or her fearless stage persona that made Sita stand out. It was also the fact that she was the first Vincentian to perform at Sting and she earned the respect of the Jamaicans in attendance.

When Sita took the Sting stage, she moved with confidence, spitting out fiery lyrics befitting the occasion.

Clearly, the organisers knew she was capable when they selected her to perform, but she was stunned when she received the invitation.

“To be honest, when I was told that I was booked for Sting, I was shocked because I’m from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Sting is dubbed the greatest one night for dancehall music and usually witnesses performances from Jamaican acts. So being a non-Jamaican and being told that I was booked for Sting itself was kind of unbelievable,” said Sita, birth name Vasita Caine.

Although she has been doing dancehall since her teens, getting ready for the biggest dancehall stage in the place where it originated required preparation. She told Loop News that it was mentally taxing.

“I went through thought patterns like suppose I go there and my style of dancehall is not accepted. What if I go there and they don’t understand my accent? What if they’re not appreciative of the fact that I’m not Jamaican and do dancehall music?

“When I got to the event I was a bit anxious because I’m creating history for St Vincent and the Grenadines and the entire Caribbean region outside of performing well, and representing my country well as a cultural ambassador, while being true to the genre,” she said.

Recalling her experience on stage, Sita said once she got the first sign of approval from the audience it was easy.

“All I wanted to do from the time I got the full sign of approval was to finish strong and I think I accomplished that,” she said.

Sita also sings Soca but she described dancehall as her first love.

She was first exposed to reggae music as a child growing up in a single-parent home with her father. He was a Rastafarian and listened to artistes such as Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.

“What I immediately fell in love with were the expressions. Compared to Soca music, dancehall music is more expressive, but Soca music is happy music,” she said.

In the fourth form, having been exposed to the likes of Bounty Killa and other dancehall acts, Sita was challenged by her social studies teacher to write a song addressing societal ills on the island.

She chose unemployment as her topic and wrote a dancehall song with the melody from Beenie Man’s “Girl Prayer”.

“The teacher leaped out of her seat and said brap, brap, brap, and from there I realise I have a unique ability to make people move,” she said with a laugh.

Sita D Lyrical Diva

Later, as a student of the Grenadines Community College, she would participate in lyrical clashes with the boys on Fridays and that is where she earned the name Sita D Lyrical Diva.

“I told Icon, who was an artiste at the time, that I would like to go there because I’m seeing all these boys, but I’m not seeing any females. And when I went there, I just dismantled everybody. I cemented my name as a, as a lyricist in college,” she said.

“They started saying, you know, you are the first girl they ever see do this and I said I’m not a girl and I’m a big woman. I was about 14 at the time. And they said you know, you are the first woman to ever do that, you the first lady we’ve ever seen do this. And that’s why I got the name first lady,” she recalled.

At the age of 19, Sita did her first single with producer Dougal Allen, which made her a household name in St Vincent. The song was called “Kitchen Dunce” and challenged women to show they could cook by clapping.

As there were no platforms for local dancehall in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sita looked to soca music to help build her reputation, particularly through the Carnival months of May to July when Vincy Mas is held.

Sita did a collaboration with her friend Icon called “Clash”, which she said cemented her reputation as a performer.

With her success at Sting, Sita is seeing the positive effect it has had on dancehall singers in St Vincent.

She said a number of them have reached out to her asking for assistance in upping their game.

She said for many Vincentians, there was a belief that Jamaicans were not very receptive to people coming into their culture and they would respond with violence.

“And I’ve had to show people via my actions that just because you hear something doesn’t mean that it’s true. That doesn’t mean that it’s not true either, but this is not my first time in Jamaica. When I came to Jamaica, I had that myth in the back of my mind, and I was telling Jamaicans you know, this is what we think in the Caribbean and I found that it was quite the opposite.”

“I found that once you’re good at your craft, they will accept you, but obviously, they’re so full of pride and patriotism that if you come and you try to imitate their culture, but you’re not doing a good job at it, you will not be welcomed and I don’t blame them,” Sita said.

Long before Sting, Sita found herself on the radar of the Jamaican dancehall community.

In 2015, while touring in Saint Lucia, she was challenged by someone in the audience to do a freestyle. Dancehall singer Demarco was impressed and gave her his number.

“That resulted in me being the first artiste from St Vincent and the Grenadines to be featured on a major Jamaican production by Demarco himself and featured the likes of Vybz Kartel,” she said.

Sita credits her aggression and grind for her growing achievements as well as support from people like MC Nuffy who discovered her, and her friends and family.

She said while her country has many dancehall singers, there aren’t a lot of platforms for them and promoters do not create spaces for them to shine alongside foreign acts.

She said artistes themselves are not serious enough about investing in their image and marketing.

“So I would have made it out or put my foot at a bit further than St Vincent and the Grenadines because I’m very aggressive and I believe in my talent to the extent that my social media reflects that of a dancehall artiste. But you would not find the average Vincentian dancehall artiste social media being up to date, their photos are not up to date and you would not find relevant material being produced frequently,” she explained.

“We have the talent, but a lot of work needs to be done. In terms of females, I’ve seen like two maybe three other female artistes up and coming, I think they’re very talented from my experience. Obviously, there are little things I would fine-tune, but you know that’s not my place.”

Since her performance at Sting, Sita has not been resting on her laurels. She has already recorded seven songs and dropped a new release called “Top Ranking Gal”.

She is riding the wave while the focus is on her to show that she is not just a stage show artiste but also a good writer.

Looking at her future, Sita declared: “I want to not just be the artiste from St Vincent who created history. I want to actually hear she is a dancehall artiste. I want my slice of the cake because I think I am good enough and I’m deserving of a slice of the cake. I want to be regional and international.”