Jamaican musician Diana King on LGBT rights and performing at Colombo Music Festival 2018
Jamaican singer-songwriter Diana King plays a mix of reggae, reggae fusion and dancehall. Best known for her hit 1995 single Shy Guy and her remake of I Say a Little Prayer, the 47-year-old artiste heads to the Colombo Music festival 2018. We chat with her in an exclusive interview:
Love your songs. What has changed for you since you began your career and when do we get to hear more music from you?
I made a decision to become an independent artiste in 2010. Though I truly appreciate the success I’ve had with the major labels (Sony and Warner) I wanted to retain my intellectual properties (my music) have more creative control and do more projects that fulfilled me rather than just make me “richer,” so I started my own label ThinkLikeAGirL Music and now release my songs through it. I am also working with other female and non binary artist as a label head, not as an artists. It has been a secret passion of mine to share my knowledge and finances to help upcoming artists like myself who do not fit in a box, free of cost with their first projects. I proudly release my first indie album AGirLNameKING a few years ago. Its available on all music download and streaming platforms. New music is coming soon from myself and all these artistes.
Are you excited to be in Colombo and what do you like the most about travelling to Asia?
I am very happy to have been invited. Much thanks to Cinnamon Life. I have been in talks with various agents and promoters to visit for a few years and now it’s finally coming true. I love to travel to new countries and experience new cultures, and I love my fans and any opportunity to perform for them and do all the above is a blessing. Asia is especially dear to me, because it is the first region that fully embraced my music. I also get to visit with family in India sometimes when I am in the area. I am a half African half Indian Jamaican
Having come out in 2012, what is the message you have for the LGBT community in India.
Being true to yourself and living an authentic life is the best decision a person could ever make. I did not know what would happen when I came out. I actually expected the worse, but nothing has felt better. It feels better than money or things or having hit songs, and it is something I highly recommend to anyone. Be yourself in spite of what others may think about you. Self approval is a freedom and gift that you give to ourselves and it cannot to be taken away from you
You recently got married. What has that journey been like for you?
I still pinch myself in disbelief. Coming from a culture and society like I grew up with in Jamaica, I never thought anything like this was possible for me. When I did not accept of even fully know myself, I was married before in my 20s. It's been an awesome journey. I am more self aware and mature now and I have learned to always do my best, remember to breathe and take everything one day at a time, enjoy the present moments and always be grateful. Life is short.
An interesting fact that few people know about you?
When I wrote and produced the songs from my last album AGirLNameKING I could not walk if feel most if my body. I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) and was told I may never walk again. After months of a myriad of conflicting emotions, I realised I had to make a change. I got up one day and just walked, even though I still could not feel my legs. My doctors still cannot believe it. It was purely the power of my mind. I then learnt how to produce music and I wrote over 100 songs. And with each song I wrote, I felt better and better, happy. I have never taken any drugs for MS. Only Meditation and Music. Sometime I still can't feel my legs and you’d never know, I am equally grateful and fascinated.