Janet Kay, was born Janet Kay Bogle (the first of 6 children) in London to Jamaican parents. Janet is a descendant of the Jamaican National Hero the Rt Excellent Deacon Paul Bogle.
As a sixties child, Janet was exposed to the singing greats, especially those from the Tamla Motown stable and as a result of the exposure and inspiration, Janet’s love for singing was born.
In 1977, whilst in Secretarial College, Janet was invited by her school friend Sonia Ferguson (who recorded a cover version of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Oh Baby Baby’ in the late 70’s) to a band rehearsal. Destiny saw to it that band member Tony Gad heard Janet singing in the rehearsal room. He was so impressed with the sweetness of Janet’s voice that he introduced her to the reggae legend, the Late Great Alton Ellis.
That meeting resulted in Janet recording a cover version of Minnie Ripperton’s ‘Loving You’ (produced by Alton Ellis), which became a reggae smash hit spending many weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.
The following year, 1978, saw Janet record 2 more cover versions, ‘I Do Love You’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For’, again, both spending weeks at No. 1 in the reggae charts.
In 1979, Janet made history by becoming the ‘First British born Black Female Reggae Artist to have a No. 1 in the British Pop Charts’ – Music Guinness Book of Records. The song ‘Silly Games’, (produced by Dennis Bovell) was a hit not only in the UK but also in Europe.
Janet’s songwriting prowess became evident on the release of her first album ‘Capricorn Woman’. The album was, and still is a best seller. All the songs except 2 were penned by Janet Kay.
By now, Janet had become known as the ‘Queen of Lover’s Rock’. In that same year Janet was presented with the awards for Best 7″ Vinyl Single, Best 12″ Vinyl Single and Best Female Vocalist 1979 by Black Echoes Music Newspaper.
Janet’s voice was not exclusive to only reggae music and in the early 80’s she also penned and sung the soulful ‘Eternally Grateful’ which became an underground hit.
The early 80’s also saw the collaboration between Janet and reggae legend the Late Jackie Mitto with the Randy Crawford classic, ‘You Bring The Sun Out’.
In 1980, after a chance meeting with actor/singer Victor Romero Evans, Janet was introduced to the theatre company ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’. A successful audition saw the birth of Janet’s theatrical career, in the play ‘Mama Dragon’ by Faroukh Dhondy’s which toured England and Europe.
Janet has since appeared in several films and has also made numerous TV appearances, theatre plays, (touring the UK and Europe) and radio plays.
In 1981, Janet also starred in the ‘Black Theatre Co-operative’s’ TV sitcom ‘No Problem’ (LWT/Channel 4), the first black TV show which was created and conceived by a black theatre company. The show became a cult classic.
The late 80’s saw Janet’s collaboration with the singer/producer Lloyd Charmers with the cover album ‘Sweet Surrender’.
In 1990 Janet collaborated with Beats International (Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim) on their track Burundi Blues. Following this collaboration, Janet was invited to feature on Lindy Layton’s version of Silly Games.
In the early 90’s Janet, along with fellow actresses Judith Jacob, Suzanne Packer, Suzette Llewellyn, Beverley Michaels, Josephine Melville and the Late Joanne Campbell formed the highly successful female theatre company the Bibi Crew. All the shows were written produced and directed by the Crew.