Born in Kingston, Jamaica, PATRA arrived on the International music scene in a major way in 1993 with her chart-topping debut album Queen of the Pack. The album's first single "Think (About It)", a Dancehall-flavored remake of the 1970's Funk classic "Think" featuring the late Lyn Collins, who recorded the original version, became a top 40 hit. Follow-up single "Worker Man" proved to be an even bigger success peaking at No. 1 on the U.S. Dance chart and No. 20 on the R&B chart. The album's third and final single "Romantic Call" in collaboration with iconic female rapper Yo-Yo became a top 10 hit on the Rap chart and Tupac appeared in the video with Patra and Yo-Yo. Patra's 1995 sophomore album Scent of Attraction followed with the singles "Pull Up to the Bumper" (Grace Jones cover) and "Scent of Attraction" featuring Aaron Hall.
The Queen of the Pack is back with a new single called "Gimmi Way" available on all streaming and digital music platforms.
TERRANCE: First, congratulations on the release of your new single "Gimmi Way". Talk about the inspiration behind it and how it came together.
PATRA: Well, "Gimmi Way" is a song that a good friend of mine named General Degree sent me. He's also a recording artist. He's done a lot of hit records like "Traffic Blocking" and all of these things and he knew that I'm working on my project, so he reached out to me and said, yo' Patra, I have something for you and some ideas. So he sent me the rhythm and stuff like that and I started working on it and putting everything together and making sure that the sound and also the harmonies and everything was structured. That's how it came about. He also wanted to do other things as well, but I believe that this song is the right song for me to continue with. "Gimmi Way" literally means, 'Get out of my way, I'm here'. *laughs*.
TERRANCE: What was it like creating the visual concept behind the song?
PATRA: Oh my God. It's very hardcore and I'm just doing my thing. It's very message-driven, positive vibration and of course the sex appeal is in there, but at the same time authentic.
TERRANCE: This year marks the 30th anniversary of your debut album Queen of the Pack.
PATRA: Yeah. I know. I know. And people have been like, I don't even see that because you age in reverse. I'm like, really, that time really went by so fast. And what I love about it though is that the quality of the music back in those days when people were producing it, is three things you had to have. You had to be able to perform, you had to be able to make hits and you had to have the look. They called that the triple threat. You know? So, I was like, okay cool, I'm going in and that's exactly how I'm gonna do it. But, you know, the music back then, the quality was so outrageous and that's the reason why I know that I'm coming back out. I'm trying to enhance what I've done before and show people that good music is always good.
TERRANCE: Are there any special memories you can share about creating that album?
PATRA: Oh yeah. I remember going to California and linking up with my girl Yo-Yo. We were thinking about what to do. I was like, you know what? How about you think about the men in America and I think about the men all over. Let's just balance this thing out and we're going to call it "Romantic Call". I remember when I started it, I was like [sings: I'm on a romantic call. Talkin' to my baby. I'm on a romantic call]. Yo-Yo was like, oh my God, oh my God, that's so dope. But in the end it's all about us as women, you know? Respecting lovers around the world and that's how it came to be and we went to New York to record it. I also worked with Christopher Williams on "Sexual Feeling" and Lyn Collins on "Think". Oh my God. Lyn Collins. I had to force her to dance in the video. *laughs*. It made me more mature than I was back in the day because what it showed me is that, I can go among the greatest and still be able to put my little one cent in it or my culture and change it around a little bit. And of course "Worker Man". I couldn't go anywhere in the world, all men thought they were worker men. I don't think they understood what it meant. *laughs*. Then there's the Scent of Attraction album with Aaron Hall. I've worked with so many people. C+C Music Factory, Shabba Ranks and the list goes on.
TERRANCE: There's been talk about a new album in the works. What can you tell us about that?
PATRA: Most definitely. It's a very happy album, a very sexy album and finally you'll be able to relax, sitback and hear some good music without cringing or having to worry. You can be happy again and dance again and that's what's good about this album. It's message-driven. So, all the females definitely be extremely empowered and loving who they are and for sure, all the fellas, all they need to know is that the Queen is back and they'll be extremely happy about it.
TERRANCE: Who are some producers you're collaborating with on the album?
PATRA: Well, I worked with General Degree who I mentioned before. I have Eddie Galan out of California. He's a multi-platinum and Grammy winning producer and stuff like that. I also worked with Teflon Zincfence from Jamaica who produced a lot of stuff for like Koffee and all of these other people. So what I do in order for me to get the right type of music, I have to go to the producers that fit what I'm doing now so that I don't make any mistakes. I also did one with NotNice called "Love Your Body". That song is on a compilation which I did something on his record as well. I try to keep everything private, but I'm also keeping everything new and authentic. The good thing about this album is I made sure I have the Crossover section and I have the Pop section and I have the R&B section covered. Most definitely I have my Reggae and Dance songs. But it's a good album because of the mixture. Even me listening to it, I'm shocked.
TERRANCE: Can we expect a US/International tour anytime soon?
PATRA: Well, everything is lined up and I'm gonna be in the States pretty soon, my dear. There is a lot of stuff going on right now and I can't wait to perform for my people back in the States. I tell everybody around the world, including my country, that I will always give respect and appreciate the people in America, especially my fans and everyone, because America just picked me up and put me up and they just love what I do and they just tolerate it and made Patra who she is today, so that the whole world could see who she is. So, there's a special place and that's where I'm touring first. I'm excited because I can't wait to get back on that stage to show and give the people what they need, satisfaction guaranteed. The art of the music is so much different from the way I saw it back in the day because I'm more mature now and I know how to deliver.
TERRANCE: Besides the music, what's next for Patra?
PATRA: Besides music, one of the biggest projects I've ever done in my entire career where the whole world will see me in a different format and it's also art. It has to do with acting, which is huge. I also have my cooking show coming out called Hot and Sexy Cooking with the Queen. I own a successful restaurant in Jamaica called Chateau 7 Gourmet. It will be reopening up in another two or three months because I was finishing up the album and finished up the project I just talked about. It's going to be just that. And also, I just want to be able to enjoy my life and enjoy some Sun and pray a lot and meditate and just hold everything and just continue to be a humble girl. I don't get excited about vanity and all those things. Vanity is there sometimes to take care of your immediate needs, but I'm not one of those people who are entrapped in such a facade. It's more for me to enjoy nature and to be able to just love my family, love others and also, do what I have to do, especially for the elders and people in the community. I think I have a different sense of worth now. There's not much time left on this planet for us. So, it's good to be humbled and absorb it and just see it as a job.
Follow Patra on Instagram @therealpatra