Then & Now
Shirley McLean came to Jamaica from England at the tender age of 3. She was raised in Eastern Kingston and remembers the deep feeling of desire to sing on stage that has been in her heart from as far back as she can remember. Her deep seated desire came through in 1979, when Alvin "GG" Ranglin gave her the opportunity to record her first song entitled "Memories Linger On". "After years of practicing in front of my mirror my dream had come through" says Shirley. There was no turning back for Shirley after this and it was during the Eighties that she made her mark and became a household name with hit songs like "Let Me Go", Rebel Girl Style" and "Reggae land". "Rebel Girl Style" was written by herself and produced and distributed by Sly and Robbie on their Taxi label while Reggae land was produced by Willie Lindo and distributed on the WKS Label. In 1986 Shirley was the brightest star, she was awarded "Female Artiste of the Year" by the only two radio stations that existed at that time and also performed on "Reggae Sunsplash", for the first time, scoring very well with her audience. Her biggest hit during the eighties was in 1987 when "Bigga Boss" written and produced by veteran guitarist Dwight Pinkney was declared "Song of the Year". This song created such a storm among fans that it seemed destined to remain to remain permanently on the charts. Widespread recognition brought her demands for more stage appearances and television commercials. It was also during 1987 that Shirley took time out to tie the knot with her other half renowned radio personality Owen Brown of Radio Jamaica's "Radio 2". "He is my Soulmate and we are just in love in the year 2000 as we were in 1987 "she says. In the years 1988 through to the early nineties she continued to burn up the charts and to this day the women islandwide all remember Shirley for her hit called "Nuh Scrub no Floor" which was a very strong piece of message music. The response to this was really overwhelming. Other hit songs during this period were "Roof Over Mi Head" which was produced by Phillip "Fattis" Burrell and distributed on the "Exterminator" label and "Peace wi want" which was recorded in association with Ricki General and Megga Banton. Peace wi want earned Shirley an interview on Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1994. This song after hitting the number 1 position on the local charts was selected by Sony Records to be included on a compilation Album entitled "Positively Reggae". Proceeds from this album were donated to the children's' charities all over the world. "I was honored to give of myself" says Shirley. Shirley did very little recording in the latter part of the nineties but due to her versatility she was able to capture new hearts with the Country and Western song she wrote and recorded in 1996 entitled "mi Country". This song got a tremendous amount of airplay. Shirley says she has never ever lost the desire in her heart to sing and to perform and although "mothering" four children takes much time, she intends to maintain a good balance between working nine to five as an Accountant, singing and family life, as she continues her journey in the Entertainment Business. "A dynamo on and off stage" is how one fan described Shirley, her very presence radiates a kind of energy that undoubtedly made her successful with a variety of audiences. "I am now looking at life from a spiritual point of view rather than from the human side, I am more aware of the power of the spoken words therefore I am very careful of the lyrics I create" she says. Shirley insists that she wants to continue touching the hearts of her fans. "We all have a divine purpose, mine takes me along different paths but I intended to do what I'm here to do, no one can do it for you. I know all things are working according to divine order" says Shirley. Here's to Shirley as she continues to uplift humanity with her music.