The history of reggae’s largest label, VP Records, is an inspiring American immigrant success story.
The founders of the label, Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin and her late husband, Vincent “Randy” Chin left Jamaica during the late 1970s and built what can only be described as a reggae empire, that has transcended time and remained a relevant and important part of reggae and the broader Jamaican culture.
After 42 years, the reggae matriarch Pat Chin is detailing her journey in a new autobiography titled, ‘Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey’.
The book shares personal insights about the rise of the Jamaican music industry and nuggets of wisdom about the music business and life.
Natasha Von Castle, the director of communications at the record company, says the book is an important part of reggae culture because of the success of VP Records. “It tells the story and gives the history of VP Records. Not only does she share her experiences, but she also incorporates some of the musicians and producers that she’s worked with,” Von Castle said.
Quotes and remembrances from luminaries including former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, Lee “Scratch” Perry, the late producer Edward “Bunny” Lee are included.
Von Castle said that it is particularly important for women across the diaspora to learn from Pat Chin’s life and business experiences.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1937, Chin helped build a reggae empire in her homeland, beginning with the Randy’s Record Mart store and Studio 17. The famous studio helped to push the careers of artists like Bob Marley & the Wailers, Augustus Pablo and Toots & The Maytals.
In 1978, she uprooted her business and family to emigrate to New York, landing in Queens, where she still lives today. Randy’s Record Mart was transformed into the new and improved VP Records in 1979.
The label introduced several Jamaican artists to the international scene and built a new wave of reggae legends from scratch, including Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw and Sean Paul.
As she enters her 84th year, Miss Pat still goes to work every day, to live out her dreams.
“I have always been proud to be a woman. I tell young women that they can do more than take care of their home and children. I tell them they can run a home and business at the same time if they really want to. ‘Just start where you are,’ I always say. ‘The rest will follow,” she says in the book.
Miss Pat received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Independent Music in 2015.
With the help of co-authors Anicee Gaddis, John Masouri, Alex Lee and James “Jazz” Goring, Chin’s autobiography is presented with a humility and warmth that draws the reader in, no matter their knowledge of music or even Pat’s illustrious history.
The book can be purchased at https://www.vpreggae.com/miss-