TANYA, A REAL 'REBELUTIONARY' - DANCEHALL IS OVEREXPOSED

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By Sean Miller/Freelance Writer
Photos By: Carlington Wilmot

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Tanya Stephens has never been accused of being afraid to speak her mind. She believes firmly in the mantra: "tell the truth and shame the devil".

She is one of the exclusive acts for the rebirth of Reggae Sunsplash this year, and in a surprising move, chose to spurn this year's Reggae Sumfest show. She sat down with YardFlex.com this month to voice her opinions on her personal life, her music and the state of dancehall-reggae.

"Sumfest people dem no have nah no manners, and dem hype fi no reason 'cause dem tink dem a star," she said. "Gourzong a little bit too big fi him breaches, mi caan stand dem, dem no have no manners. Everytime they call, they're disrespectful, condescending, dem belittle you. Nuff artistes run back at them, oh please put me on, but for what? Nobody nuh buss offa Sumfest."

Stephens, who is riding a high on the international scene where her amazing voice and intelligent, socially conscious songs have made her

a bona fide reggae star, said he is actually looking forward to appearing at this year's Sunsplash.

"I'm happy to see Splash back, and honestly, they have way more manners, so I am looking forward to working with them," she said. Stephens will be performing at the Richmond Estate venue on August 5th.

Tanya has been focusing on the release of her upcoming album, 'Rebelution' for VP Records, the followup to the critically acclaimed 'Gangsta Blues' which spawned the hit, "It's A Pity", on the German-produced "Doctor's Darling" riddim.

TanyaSteven,reggaemusic,dancehall,sexygirls,nudeXXX,seanpaul,beeniephotos,rihanna,sex.jpgHer album, which hits stores on August 29th, is almost exclusively produced by her partner/lover, Andrew Henton of Tarantula Records, but there are a few guest producers such as Ainsworth 'Big A' Higgins, Barry O'Hare and the rookie producer, Sherkhan from Tiger Records, a French Caucasian living in Jamaica.

TANYA BELIEVES DANCEHALL IS OVEREXPOSED

But even after over a decade in the business, Tanya is not satisfied with the quality of the overall dancehall product coming out of Jamaica.

"Right now, dancehall reggae is overexposed, it is the most promoted music as a genre, check it, nobody no out there promoting rap as a genre, or hip hop as a genre, artistes come out and promote dem album, and that's that. We need to work on our product...and stop worrying about marketing and worry more about production. We can’t be like 'hey, I am over here, look at me, look at me', then when everybody look at you, you have nothing to offer them," she said.

Too much people have an MPC machine, she added.

"Our industry spits on the talented people, the hype is what everybody subscribe to, so a little man who come with a really good song, you probably hear it one time if you hear it at all. If you hear it one time, and love it, you don't know where to get it because the jockeys don't even call dem name when dem play it," Tanya complained.

This sort of caustic commentary is de riguer for the writer/singer of tunes like "Big Ninja Bike," an exuberant deflation of men who don't deliver on sexual promises. But that is Tanya being well, Tanya.

ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH PARTNER ANDREW

Tomboyish growing up, Tanya has blossomed into a full-blown sex bomb. During the interview, she was dressed in a figure-hugging blouse, and the buttons were open enough to offer a glimpse of her, ahem, 'assets'. She has also blossomed in love, sharing a steady relationship with Andrew Henton, the son of producer 'Computer Paul' Henton.

"We set high standards, we pressure and push each other, because we want the best product out there. I am my own worst critic, and I cannot give anyone ammunition to use against me so I shot it up myself, remove all the bullets, heal the bullet wounds...remove all the offensive parts," she said.

Not that Tanya gives a damn if anyone finds her candor and wit offensive. She even had some harsh words for the media, saying they were no longer trendsetters, but 'wagonists' when it came to exposing new artistes.

TANYA LOVES 'DUTTY WINE'

She loves Matterhorn's 'Dutty Wine' which at the time of the interview, was the number one song in Jamaica.

"It is well written, a classic, when I first heard it, I wondered, who this? Because it was pop-sounding and up-tempo. Matterhorn really did a good job with it. And you know Matterhorn did born hype, so you can imagine now," she said, laughing.

Even though she is in a better place spiritually, Tanya has not buried the hatchet with fellow deejay Lady Saw with whom she had a very public falling out a few years ago.

"Me and Saw no have no relationship. Full Stop. I don't wish her no ill will, but we will never have a relationship," she said.

Look out for Tanya's lead single, 'These Streets' which has popped up on the South Florida and New York reggae charts. It is 'rebelutionary'.

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