b. Lorna Anderson, London, England. Asher nurtured her vocal skills singing in the school and church choir. She was encouraged by her peers to compete in local talent competitions, and her regional success steered her towards competing on a national level and the release of her recording debut. Although a competent soloist, she joined the female group African Pearl where she was able to demonstrate her enthusiasm for the close harmonies she had experienced in her days as a chorister. The group’s critically acclaimed debut, ‘Band Wagon’, was produced by the Mad Professor and was featured on Roots Daughters. The Ariwa Sounds connection led to session work providing backing vocals for a variety of artists, including veteran Jamaican recording artist Earl Sixteen and producer Lee Perry. While working with the Mad Professor she also supported Jean Adebambo and the Cimarons. Her vocal skills were featured on a number of releases including sessions with top Jamaican artists, Sanchez, Tyrone Taylor, Johnny Osbourne and Jimmy Riley as well as UK-based reggae stars Lloyd Brown, Tony Douglas and DJ Sandeeno. Asher’s first solo release was a version of Gregory Isaacs’ ‘Mr Love’, a popular radio hit that led to further cover versions of songs by artists including Slim Smith and Gwen Guthrie. Asher enjoyed a chart-topper with her own composition, ‘Show Me That You Care’, featured on the Surfer EP alongside Neville Morrison and Sharon Marie. The release stayed at the top of the reggae chart for 14 weeks and her profile was further enhanced when the Progressive crew featured her performing ‘Won’t Give Up’ on the release of The Singles Album. A series of recordings ensued with a variety of producers during 1998 including Jah Marcus (‘Telling’), Black Roots (‘Never Weak’), Yush (‘Bring Back The Love’) and Dennis Rowe (‘Revolution’), and she formed an allegiance with Twinkle Brothers’ Norman Grant who produced ‘Straight To Your Heart’ and her stunning debut album. During 1998 she also played at the Sierra Leone Peace Concert in the nation’s capital Freetown. Her phenomenal performance led to her being hailed Mama Africa and a proposal of further concerts on the continent in 1999. Prior to her African commitments she worked with producer Mykey Simpson, who released the consummate double a-side, ‘Know Jah’/‘Right Thing’.
Share this page