Reggae Beachfest is throwing a Bob Marley Birthday Bash this weekend to mark what would have been his 69th birthday. And they’ve called on Jamaican reggae legend Dawn Penn to mark the occasion. Penn, who began making music in the late ’60s, topped charts worldwide with the much sampled You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No). Our friends at Hype has collated 10 quotes from Dawn reflecting on her career.

“I used to be singing without getting paid, some of the time. You go and do a show, maybe you’ll get something to eat, you get to perform maybe three or four songs, and then come back. It was a day out somewhere. Eventually it became a business.”

“When I entered the pop section of the Jamaica Festival competition, Tyrone Evans of the Paragons told me that I should sing as Connie McGann because Dawn Penn didn’t sound professional.”

“I’m relaying my experiences in my music. I really have some diehard fans who follow me wherever I go and it’s amazing.”

“I thought the song You Don’t Love Me was a simple song that a young child would gravitate towards. I didn’t really think it would be popular. When I recorded it, I just met up with some friends and sang the song onto tape.”

“This whole music thing, nobody knew the music was going to get this big. Put it this way – that was far from our agenda. We just sang what we had to, according to what the vibe was, how you felt, to express yourself. It’s really fantastic to know that it has turned, that the whole thing has been positive.”

“The vintage music from back in the day has more substance than what is being done now, and that’s the longevity of that music for you. I have been across the world and there are just so many bands – you have really good bands in Germany, Hawaii and Japan.”

“The music was new, there was no music like that before.”

“I don’t set a standard and say, ‘I’m going to be doing this beat or this melody’; it depends on what grabs me at the time. I have my own label now, Da Beat Records, and I’m doing my own music.”

“The belief that women should be subordinate to men is still widespread. In the music business, women are still seen as a second choice. Women are often paid even worse. There are exceptions, of course, but not too many.”

“When you are blessed, you are blessed. Persons of all ages listen to my music and every 10 years a new set of people embrace my work.”




XL Beach Club, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina. Tel: (052) 9934276. Taxi: Habtoor Grand. Metro: Dubai Marina. Saturday 2pm-3am. Dhs100 in advance, Dhs125 on the door, ladies free before 6pm.