Friday, 3 April 2020

Q-&-A: Keisha Patterson talks about the plight of street kids, why Reggae Month matters, and being a nature lover

PLAYING TO HER STRENGTHS: "So far it's an exciting work-in-progress. It's not been easy," Patterson says of working on her new album.

With her knack for convincingly portraying headstrong lasses (Cutie in Frank The Freak; Julie in Romi & Julie), Keisha Patterson seems ideally cast as Chrissy, the brainy-sassy one in Jambiz's latest musical comedy, The Windscream Posse, which is about homeless kids who band together to survive on the mean Kingston streets.

It's a role that has Patterson thinking about the social commentary at the heart of the play. As the show's producers hit the pause button due to the coronavirus outbreak, the singer-actress dishes with TALLAWAH about the rough world out there for young outcasts, plus her sophomore album-in-progress, and more.

TALLAWAH: What has been the most eye-opening thing about playing a street kid in The Windscream Posse?

Keisha Patterson: The most eye-opening thing for me was the different backgrounds they all come from. The different stories that they have: for example, one ran away, one was abused, one was orphaned. And thinking about the different backgrounds you realize it's not a choice that these kids make to be on the street.

TALLAWAH: In your view, what  more can the government and government agencies do to ameliorate the situation islandwide?

KP: I'd suggest the opening of more shelters for them and a kind of placement system. There have to be better options than wiping a car glass at the stop-light.

TALLAWAH: Let's switch gears and talk about the recent observance of Reggae Month. How important is it to set aside a special month to honour our music?

KP: It's good. The month itself is important. We do celebrate reggae throughout the year, but one month dedicated to events and other activities is good for the industry.

TALLAWAH: Speaking of music, it's been more than a decade since you released your jazzy-funky solo debut, Sunday Kind of Love. What do you want your next album to sound like?

KP: (Laughs). I love jazz and reggae. That's been my foundation, and that's where my spirit is. So I'll definitely be continuing with that fusion, mixed with different elements of the world. So far it's an exciting work-in-progress. It's not been easy. I'm working with Dalton Browne again and doing most of the writing, but other writers are contributing as well. 

TALLAWAH: When you're not working, how do you like to spend your spare time?

KP: I love to be in nature, go to the beach, visit parks. That's my vibe. I love greenery, love nature and reflecting and meditating.

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