INTERVIEW: On A Romantic Call with Patra, The Queen Of The Pack
by Keya Maeesha
For those of us who grew up on dancehall music from the nineties, Patra is no stranger to your household. She is more than the Queen of the Pack. She is a representative for women everywhere. Exuding sensuality through her music while standing her ground has been her mantra over her years, to which she has upheld even in her brief sabbatical from the industry. The Jamaican roots that seep through her veins speaks to her love for culture and knowledge, as well as her desire to unite the people through music. She’s a hero in her own right, paving the way for the many that have come after her and setting new standards for the ones she came out with.
Couch Sessions received an amazing opportunity to have an interview with the dancehall legend about where she’s been, where she is going, and what she has in store of her fans.
Couch Sessions: I promise that I won’t keep you long because I know that you are very busy preparing for your album that is coming out soon. Thank you so much for talking with me today. How have you been?
Patra: Aww, thank you. I just want to say that I’m excited. Not just about coming back out since I know it has been a while. I just want my fans to know that everything that I have done it is to the best of my ability just to make sure that I am in control of my career and also in control of my business, my sanity, my education, my everything. It is an overall haul that I made which turned out to be a good thing for me. It was as if I had not really missed anything because I’ve had enough time to think, reflect, write some good music, and of course get better dance moves going (LOL). I really needed that rest and in the process still respect what happened before. But right now, the people need to know that the Queen of the Pack is back! (LOL)
CS: I almost hit the pepperseed where I’m sitting because I’m so excited for you to come back (LOL). Do you mind sharing with us why you decided to take that break initially from the industry?
Patra: In the industry, there are times when you want to be in and there are times when you want to be out. So for me, I wanted to take the time out because I wanted to be in control, as I said, of my business. I just wanted to be happy with what I’m doing. I didn’t want to feel like I was being led and have the responsibility of my future rest on my shoulder. However, in the process, I have learned to become more spiritual, be more understanding, more patient, and to educate myself with the things I have not known for a while like Ancient History, Political Science, and other subject areas that I’m attracted to in order to take myself away from the crazy world. For me it was the best thing that I’ve ever done because when you think that you can just take a break and your fans know why you took a break, there is always a reason and they have nothing to worry about. But all I wanted to do was to be in control and be happy. I’ve managed to do that now with my new partners who definitely believe in me. Like LGN Entertainment, Don Harper, and all of those guys who have been good to me by making things even easier by allowing me to take control. It has been fabulous. However, its pure hits on top of hits I’m coming out with. The people need to know that. I’m still the same sexy Patra. Working on this album has been a blessing for me because no one even knew that I was doing this album at all. I have different producers on this project that I was even shocked with how the sound came out. I feel so light now being able to talk about it. I’m really excited.
CS: That is always a good feeling. Such a good thing to experience. Do you feel like there is any pressure now that you are coming back out? Everybody missed you. Hell, *I* missed you. Do you feel like there is some kind of pressure to meet a certain standard that you left behind?
Patra: I think you should always feel pressure from the people that put you there in the first place, which are the fans. The pressure that my fans have given me throughout the years is to make me believe that when I decided to continue my career, all I had to was give them the right music. There was nothing that needed to be “changed”, just maintained, because I had already done that. I’m fit. I’m hot. I’m the Queen of the Pack. My vocals are better. I just want women to feel better about themselves, although the main focus was the hits. I honesty didn’t go anywhere. Just took a little vacation. Haha.
CS: I think that is good. I know that there has been a complete wave of different women that have come out since you which I say are a result OF you. I’m not talking about just dancehall, I’m talking about music in general. Do you feel like the impact of what you did paved the way for all of these artists such as Allison Hinds, Tanya Stephens, Lil’ Kim, etc.? Or do you feel like they have set their own bar?
Patra: Well, personally, being a Jamaican female artist, my way has paved because of the opportunities that I’ve received in the music industry in Jamaica. It is part of the reason why I love my country so much when it comes to the industry because they do give people breaks. And as a woman, when I first came out it was a male dominated industry. So when I went in there with my little sexy self, and just showed my skill, it was as easy as that (LOL). What the ladies are doing now, you can see a little Patra all over it. This is a good thing, because when you shuffle the deck, the Queen stands alone. I like what I am seeing from them. I love to see people doing their thing.
CS: I see it in all genres of music that it is a male dominated field all across the board. Do you feel like as a woman you had to do a little extra to be recognized?
Patra: A woman shouldn’t have to do anything extra because we are naturally extra. There is no way that the men can compete with our sexuality. They’ll need the whole thing (LOL). If a woman isn’t involved, then it is not going to work. I’ve never felt I had to do “more”. I’ve received so much respect from the guys in the industry because I stood my ground. When I go in there, I’m not trying to look for lovers or anything. I go in there to make music and respect people. My job is to make women feel good and proud of themselves and present themselves in a nice way. Not too vulgar or anything like that but be confident. There is something on the album for everyone, but I won’t deter from being sensual. It is who I am as a Jamaican woman.
CS: I never looked at you as super vulgar. Just sexy. I always used to pretend that I was you with the big braids and whining in the mirror.
Patra: The whole thing is not about the body alone, you know. It is about the way I think, the way I express myself. You have women that come in different shapes and sizes, so it is all in the mind. This is what I need women to know. The more you use your mind, the more you enhance the way you think, and you read to gain knowledge, the better you feel. This is why I studied Ancient History. People laugh at me when I say it, but it is true. It is how I learned more about Cleopatra and how she was as a woman. You can be sexy in so many ways and express yourself. For me, it is how I feel on the inside. That means I should be able to be fully clothed and still feel sexy. Everyday I wake up and think “How am I going to be build my empire?” Now that I am in control, I cannot blame anyone. I depend on God to give me strength, even when I’m doing my whole sensual stuff. I know sometimes they don’t mix, but if I think spiritual while I do what I do, I will always have something to fall back on because it is not like I’m going to be doing this forever. But while I’m here? Hey.
CS: So let’s talk about all these businesses you have going on? I heard you have a book coming out. Is this true?
Patra: YES! I wrote an autobiography about my life from the age of 8 until now. I’m putting the final touches on it now. But it talks about growing up as the only daughter of your mom and my father dying when I was three. I learned very early that there is a whole world out there and you have to conquer it. I also have a workout video coming soon and a cookbook. Taking a break has helped me to be more creative because I love cooking and I love working out. This is my favorite thing to do besides making music. I’m going to teach women how to cook the food that makes you whine better. I love to go to the market and pick up different things. I have different people who are my tasters. So now my fans can enjoy me even more. I’m very accessible.
CS: So you have your workout tape, the autobiography coming out, your cookbook, and now your album. Tell me about how that is coming and your new single.
Patra: The single is called “Come Over”. We were in the studio vibing with Damien Gail, who is a good friend of mine. He’s been asking me for years to collab with him and wanted to do something dancehall. So he called up Delus and came up with this amazing song. I have to big up Damien because he is the one who came up with this rhythm so that the Queen can whine up on it properly because I wanted something good to dance to. The name of the album is going to be Patra: The Continuation. The single is going to be the hottest song in the club this summer. And again, I have to big up LGN Entertainment because these are the guys who are making things happen. The video for the single will be out before the end of June. The old school girl is back with a little improvement (LOL). The entire album will be out by the end of the summer. This is the best continuing project I’ve ever seen, and even for myself. I’m very excited. I turned down a lot of stuff because I wasn’t ready. Life has taught me a lot. Knowledge is power, and I feel more ready than I ever I have before. My fans are amazing. They have been loyal. Thank you to my fans out there for loving me and being patient. I promise you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
So basically…if you haven’t picked it up yet…The Queen is back! If you thought she lost her step, think again. I wish you guys could hear the strength in her voice and feel the energy that I felt. She’s magnetic. I am very excited for Patra.
Make sure you check out her new single, “Come Over”, which I most assuredly whine to on a daily. Also, make sure you hit her up on her twitter @RealQueenPatra and check Patra on Facebook. This legend is not going anywhere.