JAMAICAN REGGAE ARTISTE
Susan Cadogan was born November 2nd 1951 in St. Andrew, Jamaica, the third child of Rev. Claude & Mrs. Lola Cadogan.
Susan spent several years of her childhood in her father’s homeland Belize (then called British Honduras), a quiet and chubby child whose life was touched by music from an early age. Her mother Lola, was a trained soprano who sang at church, official functions and also made a few 78 rpms. Her sister Jean loved music too and between them all, classical, sacred and secular music was always being played and sung in the home and there was also a piano which Susan eventually learnt to play. She loved to rock her baby brother to sleep so she could sing to him the many lullabies passed down by her Mother…she loved music and she loved to sing. After leaving high school and without knowing what she really wanted to do, she started working at the University of the West Indies Library in February 1973 until fate stepped in. This is her story…
In mid-1974, Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) DJ, Jerry Lewis, convinced Anne Cadogan, a 22 year old Library Assistant at the University of the West Indies Library, to try and sing a song he had written. From her early teens, Anne used to sing along while listening to The Platters, The Drifters and some of her early favorites but she had never dreamed of singing professionally. Nevertheless, she soon found herself at the Black Ark studio of Lee ‘Scratch” Perry recording the song Love My Life for Jerry Lewis. Perry was impressed and asked her if she would record a song for him too… the song was Hurt So Good. She knew the song well as her love of music kept her abreast of popular hits and she willingly recorded the single along with the trio the (soon to be Mighty) Diamonds doing background vocals.
Her life began to change from that night. Perry dubbed her “Susan” saying it was a “sexier” name and gave her tapes of songs to learn and she began to live for the weekends when, on Sundays, she would go to the Black Ark where she recorded track after track for what was to be her first Long Playing Album. The single Hurt So Good, after first creating a storm in the Eastern Caribbean, broke into the British Chart in early 1975 and Susan was called by the British company Magnet Records for promotional purposes and they whisked her away and installed her in Holiday Inn, Marble Arch in London. After some days, while the single was bubbling she made her first professional appearance as Susan Cadogan on the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” weekly record chart show after which the single soared into the top 30. Susan continued to appear on ‘Top of the Pops’ did extensive European radio and television appearances and received abundant press exposure. So began her foray into the frenetic and exacting world of show-biz.
Susan was eventually signed by Magnet Records, who had the legal rights to Hurt So Good at the time and began working on her second album, Doing It Her Way, with a new producer, Peter Waterman. The follow up single Love Me Baby penned by Waterman & Peter Shelley peaked at #21 on the charts. Hurt So Good eventually peaked at #4 earning a Silver Disc in the United Kingdom, and at #1 in South Africa earning a Gold Disc which Susan never received. She continued doing shows throughout Europe and settled down in London doing nightly Cabaret. She returned home to Jamaica after almost one year.
During this time period, Trojan records regained its rightful ownership of Hurt so Good and released many singles from the work Susan had done for Lee Perry. In 1975 Trojan finally released the Lee Perry produced album “SUSAN CADOGAN”.
After her Magnet contract expired, Susan recorded the singles Piece of my Heart, Tracks Of My Tears, and Don’t Know Why for Jamaican producer Owen ”OB” Brown and was named “Female Artiste of the Year” in 1981 by JBC Radio. Piece of my Heart peaked at #2 on the local charts and Tracks of my tears entered the top 20. Susan appeared on several stage shows working with the Fabulous Five and Sagittarius Bands among others, doing shows at Skateland, Fort Clarence Beach, Little Theater, the then Jonkanoo Lounge, and Shaw Park Hotel. She appeared on some television shows including Alphonso Walker’s “Where it’s at”.
In 1981, fellow artiste Ruddy Thomas introduced her to U.K. based producer Roy “Hawkeye” Forbes-Allen and Susan recorded seven tracks for Hawkeye including three duets with Ruddy Thomas. The single “You Know How to Make Me Feel So Good” topped the London Black Chart for 8 weeks earning them an award for Record of the year and broke into the BBC Chart on the Virgin label.
In 1992 Susan signed a contract with Ariwa Records in London and recorded the album Soulful Reggae produced by Mad Professor (Neil Fraser) but the needed boost to her career did not materialize. Susan toured Europe for a while with Mad Professor and his band The Robotics and after a few months returned to her Library position in Jamaica.
In 1998, Susan was lured back into the recording studio by Ruddy Thomas and the album Stealing Love was recorded for Bruce White of British-based Creole Records with Thomas doing production. The album was released in early 1999 (as a combination album with solo Ruddy Thomas tracks included) on the Rhino Label and a re-recording of You Know How to Make Me Feel So Good was released as a single.
In 2003 Susan released a new album “The Rhythm in You”, produced by Upsetter Glen ‘Capo’ Adams, who had worked with Susan during her 1974 Perry recording days. In the summer of 2003 she went on a 34 date European tour with Adams and the New York Ska band “The Slackers”. She received great audience response as the “Queen of Lover’s Rock” and headlined the Lover’s Rock night of the Lee “Scratch” Perry Meltdown Festival in London in June of 2003 receiving a standing ovation from the audience as they danced and sang along to her megahit Hurt So Good.
In 2004 Sincerely Susan - a collection of covers of some of her favourite classic oldies, again produced by Glen Adams, augmented by three tracks from her 1992 Chemistry of Love project was released. The early response from radio and retail was tremendous, and the album entered the New York Reggae Album Chart at the end of February and climbed to the top 5.
In 2007-8, Susan recorded again for British producer Mad Professor of Ariwa Records and the album “Two sides of Susan” was released by JVC Japan in March of 2008 and by ARIWA in September 2008 in London and Europe. A second album was also recorded during this time which is yet to be released by the company although many singles can be found online. Re-recordings of her classics Perry hits “Nice & Easy” and “Fever” were done for this album.
During the ensuing years Susan sang on several shows in the USA and UK inbetween staying at her hillside home in Jamaica, writing and sometimes recording.
In 2012 Susan was asked by Argentine Band “The Crabs Corporation” to collaborate on some music with them and Susan co-wrote the track “Day after Day” and wrote “Music is in love” for them through Record Kicks of Italy.
In 2013 Susan collaborated with “Friendly Fire Band” of Birmingham, UK in the production of the track “W(h)ere is the Love”. She wrote the lyrics and recorded the track in Kingston, Jamaica. It was mixed in London and released in May 2013 and a re-mix was also subsequently released.
In June 2013, Susan also recorded a duet with Jamaican veteran Ken Boothe. This brilliant track “Love Story” superbly played, produced and arranged by Wayne Armond (lead guitarist of CHALICE band ), has shown why both artistes are still going strong today through decades in the industry.
From October to November 2013 Susan appeared on several shows in the UK including the first ever UK Skamouth Festival in Great Yarmouth and in the following years has performed in Mexico, Argentina, USA and her main turf the UK.
Allison Anne Cadogan, pka SUSAN CADOGAN continues to record and perform today. Her Trojan Album produced by the infamous Lee “Scratch” Perry, has been re-released several times through the years and is considered a Collector’s item in the world of reggae music. The single “Hurt so good” and the many excellent releases through the years, has stamped Susan as one of Jamaica’s finest exports to the international music world.
Her love of music, natural ability and the special tone of her agile soprano are the same today as when she stepped into the Black Ark in 1974 and exploded on the British scene in 1975. Her musical journey continues……
SUSAN CADOGAN…International Queen of Lover’s Rock and singer of some of the finest reggae music out of Kingston, Jamaica.