Patricia Chin: Reggae’s Unlikely Tycoon!

(repost from The New European)

In a macho world, Patricia Chin has blazed a trail for Caribbean music, and for women in the music industry. And at 83 she is still doing so

To be designated as a “record man” is akin to being a secular saint in the music industry. For a “record man” is an archetype of sorts: the guy who founds record labels and develops new sounds and discovers musicians who go on to achieve legendary status while often proving as brilliant in the recording studio as he is in cutting deals.

Yet the term “record woman” is rarely heard. Just as the role of director of feature films was once almost entirely focused on men, the music industry has also tended to be a realm of patriarchy.

There’s been a few exceptions and one of them is Patricia Chin. Aged 83 with 64 years experience, Chin has risen from stocking 78s on jukeboxes in rural Jamaican
bars to CEO of VP Records, the New York City-based operation that serves as the world’s foremost conglomerate of reggae/Caribbean record labels.

To celebrate this lifetime in the music industry Chin has a spectacular memoir out – Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey. Published as a hardback filled with photos of her, family and Jamaica’s foremost reggae artists, Miss Pat chronicles how a Kingston-born girl of Chinese-Indian parentage could marry Vincent Chin, another Jamaican-Chinese, in the late-1950s and together they would build an empire. Twice.

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