Reggae singer Patra was really big in the 1990’s. She was a big in the dancehall scene and a huge sex symbol. Her real name is Dorothy Smith. She was born in Kingston,Jamaica on November 22,1972.
In a 1994 essay, Patra wrote: “I am a country girl. I grew up in the church, which instilled morals and values in me. I was raised by my mom along with my four brothers–I am the second child. My father died when I was three, so my mother has been my example of a very strong Black woman, and I know that I have her strength.”
Patra first began singing in her church choir and later tried her hand at deejaying. At age 15, she began to realize that music really could be her life. “I always enjoyed music, but up until then I didn’t really think about my goals,” Patra explains. “In addition to many Jamaican artists, I listened to Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Sade and Alexander O’Neal. And Michael Jackson, of course–he really taught me how to dance!”
Patra first made her mark in the U.S. with two notable guest appearances, dueting with Mad Cobra on a track called “Really Do It” and adding her wicked ragga-rap to Richie Stevens “Body Slam.” But the American audience got its first taste of Patra’s true gifts with the Epic Records Group re-lease of her underground 12-inch single “Hardcore.” In October, 1993 came the debut album Queen Of The Pack, and the single and video “Think (About It)”–which teamed Patra with Lyn Collins and the P-Funk Horns for a dynamic dancehall update of Lyns 1972 Top Ten R&B smash.
Each of Patras next three videos–“Queen Of The Pack,” “Worker Man,” and “Romantic Call” (featuring Yo-Yo)– became a Top 10 favorite on The Box. At the 5th Annual Caribbean Music Awards (held March, `94 at the Apollo Theater in New York), Patra was named Best Female Artist for “Worker Man.” At the 13th Annual International Reggae Awards in Chicago, she walked away with Best Female DJ and Best Crossover Song (for “Family Affair,” from the Addams Family soundtrack). In Canadas Reggae Music Awards, Patra was again named Best Female DJ.
By July, 1994 Patras Queen Of The Pack had spent 13 consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboards Top Reggae Albums chart–the longest run at #1 in the history of the chart. The following December, the album was certified gold for sales of more than 500,000 copies. In addition to her own album, Patra embarked on successful collaborations with C&C Music Factory (“Take A Toke”) and Gurus Jazzmatazz II set (“Young Ladies”), as well as joining in the all-female superstar recording “Freedom” for the soundtrack of Melvin Van Peebles film Panther.
“Jamaican dancehall music has its first international queen of the genre,” wrote Vanity Fair, “and her name is Patra!” In 1995, she rules once more with Scent Of Attraction.