Old school blues improvisation, meets hard hitting lyrical prowess, in a rich imaginative blend of vocal clarity and complexity. She sings with a voice that belies the dimensions of her physical body, from a soul much older than its current vessel. Her philosophy is profoundly spiritual, and her style is Jazz on Dub. Her style is Jazz on Dub. She is Janine ‘Jah9’ Cunningham, the third and final addition to the ministry of Reverend and Mrs. Cunningham. Her mission and music are inspired by a resolute reverence, and a determination to inspire and uplift mind and soul.
She spent her childhood in Trelawny, a rural parish on Jamaica’s west coast, rooted in traditional values and a rich cultural heritage. Upon moving with the family to the dog eat dog world of Kingston city life, the innocent writing of a curious youngster transformed into the indignant battle cries of a defiant revolutionary.
Growing up, Jah9 was taught, by example, about Christ as a consciousness, more so than a fearsome man on high who would one day render judgment. Then in University, she not only began her love affair with the heavy basslines and steady drum beats of Dub and Roots music, but also with the teachings of His Majesty. Her evolution was gradual but intensified consistently, resulting in the inevitable surrender of financial security and a “prized” place among Jamaica’s corporate community to the guiding principle of her calling, toward the Kingdom. Now, as a woman, instead of the slaughtered Lamb, the preacher’s daughter hails the Conquering Lion, the Christ with a new name, Haile Selassie I.
Jah9 has refined her craft over decades of singing on every choir available to her. She has also been a staple on Jamaica’s underground poetry and live music scenes. Her vocals resonate with a blend of textures – the emotion of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, with the sharp cutting edge of Sizzla Kalonji, on top of heavy Dub rhythms akin to Augustus Pablo and King Tubby. The resulting signature sound has led to collaborations with platinum selling producer Donovan Bennett of Don Corleon Records, Sheldon Bernard, and living legend Beres Hammond of Harmony House Music.
Jah9’s debut album – New Name – is her labour of love, a declaration of truth and her testimony of the journey toward self-actualization. The product of a great synergy with renowned Producer and now faithful friend, Rory ‘Stone Love’ Gilligan, New Name is proof that another servant of truth & light has discovered and accepted her mission.