When it comes to Jamaican music, Patricia Chin has heard it all. The 83-year-old, known as “Miss Pat”, has been a fixture of the island’s music industry for over 60 years. Today she runs VP Records, the world’s largest reggae music and distribution company, making her a crucial music mogul for the island’s music. DJ Kool Herc, who along with his sister Cindy Campbell is considered the founder of hip-hop, once said of the sweet-natured 4ft 11in entrepreneur: “What Berry Gordy was to Motown Records, Patricia Chin is to the reggae industry.”
It all started in a former ice cream shop in Kingston, which Miss Pat and her husband Vincent opened as Randy’s Record Mart in 1959. In her new memoir, Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey, out this week, she describes how it was there she developed her legendarily encyclopaedic knowledge of ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall. It was there, too, that Jamaica’s homegrown musical explosion in the Sixties and Seventies took place, bringing those sounds and styles to the world.