Dawn Penn is one of the original queens of reggae music.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, she grew up in a musical family, studying piano, classical violin and performing with her sisters Pat and Audrey in churches. Her first recording was ‘When I’m Gonna Be Free’ was in 1966.
She then recorded for the legendary Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and her first hit came in 1967 with the title ‘You Don’t Love Me – No, No, No’, one of the most famous reggae hits of all time, which has been covered by countless artists around the world including Beyonce, Rihanna, Sean Paul, Wu-Tang Clan, Eve, J Millz and Lily Allen.
In 1991 she re-recorded the single with Steelie and Cleavie – this version (which they recorded to commemorate Studio One’s 35th Anniversary) was a crossover hit in the mainstream pop charts, and in 1994 she was back on the charts with her re-recorded dancehall version which charted in 53 countries and its album was nominated for a Grammy Award.
In 1995 she produced and recorded ‘What Do You Do?’, followed up by Delroy Williams and herself producing Come Again on Trojan Records which sold close to 110,000 copies. Her 2000 single ‘Never Ever’ was released on Jet Star, becoming a smash hit on BBC Radio 1.
In 2001 she was honoured with the “Martin Luther King Award” by Caribbean Images in recognition of her contribution to Jamaican music.