Marcia Griffiths: Reggae’s reigning queen

At 70 years old, Marcia Griffiths is still a very active entertainer.

After more than 55 years in the music industry, reggae’s doyenne Marcia Griffiths says she would love to slow down. But don’t be mistaken, she doesn’t mean with music.

“I said I shall sing as long as I live, and I plan to be here for a long time, so when I say slow down it’s in reference to the travelling, not the singing,” Griffiths, 70, told BUZZ.

“I like to give 100 per cent when it comes to what I like to do.”

— Marcia Griffiths

“I would like to take it easy and do less travelling which I don’t really like, but I have commitments to go on the road in Europe and the Caribbean, so I have that lined up.”

Courage to sing

The songbird has made being relevant for decades appear effortless, but it has taken a great deal of work to get to the ‘Queen of Reggae’ designation.

The West Kingston native had her big stage performance debut at 13 alongside Bryon Lee and the Dragonaires. Although the band tried to throw her off by striking a high note, Griffiths ultimately mustered the courage to sing and wooed the crowd.

The performance paved the way to recording at Clement ‘Sir Coxson’ Dodd’s Studio One, the space where Griffiths would go on to record early hits like Feel Like Jumping, Truly, Dreamland and  Melody Life.

It was also at the Kingston studio where she met singer Bob Andy, whom she would form an intimate relationship, and the successful duo, Bob and Marcia. Their cover of Nina Simone’s Young, Gifted and Black hit number five on the British chart in 1970, and after touring the world they disbanded in 1974, and Griffiths formed part of Bob Marley’s I-Threes.

Positive vibration

With her success in a duo and trio, Griffiths continued her prosperity as a soloist with her most commercial single to date, Electric Boogie, penned by Bunny Wailer and released in the early 80s. The Billboard hit is often associated with the electric slide dance.

Marcia Griffiths performing at Masters of Medicine recently.

She received the Order of Distinction in 2014, a year after she entered the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart for the first time with Marcia Griffiths and Friends.

Her last album, Timeless, was released in 2019 and debuted at number two on that chart. Less than a year later, Griffiths revealed she will be releasing another album soon with longtime collaborator Donovan Germain.

“As always I like to give 100 per cent when it comes to what I like to do and what I do best,” she said. “I usually look forward to positive results, and I’m not going to do anything and think anything negative, so the same kind of energy and vibe that I send my music out into the world, I look for the return in the same way. I always send my music out with lots of love and positive vibration, so it can connect.”