'Action' still buzzing after 25 years — Nadine Sutherland gets airplay from Terror Fabulous collab


June 16, 2018
Nadine Sutherland (left) and Terror Fabulous performing at the Shaggy and Friends concert in 2016.
Nadine Sutherland (left) and Terror Fabulous performing at the Shaggy and Friends concert in 2016.

In 1993, singer Nadine Sutherland and deejay Terror Fabulous had ethnic radio stations buzzing with their combination dancehall anthem, 'Action.' It was one of the biggest songs of the day.

"Action was supposed to be a demo for Nadine Sutherland," the female singer confessed recently during rehearsal for her upcoming performance at Blue & Bougie on July 15 at the Tennis Club of Hastings in New York.

"When Dave Kelly first released the song in Jamaica for the ethnic market, it was Nadine Sutherland featuring Terror Fabulous. Terror got signed to Elektra before me because the labels were signing the deejays. By the time we did the video, when it was done, it was just Terror Fabulous' name that was placed on the video. When I got signed to Elektra, they started putting on the video 'Terror Fabulous featuring Nadine Sutherland'. That's the story of Action," she stated.

Twenty-five years later, the song is still popular, enjoying regular rotation on urban stations in the US, Canada, England, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean.

The former teen star came to prominence in 1979 when she won Jamaica's popular Tastee Talent Contest. She went from being reggae's 'teen queen' to garnering international acclaim as the co-lead on Action and Anything For You. Last year, she was appointed director of performing arts at Challenge Charter Schools Organization in New York. Earlier this week, she performed Action at a staff talent show at her school.

"I could not believe it. Those kids know Action. I am still in a shock how it has lived throughout the years and the response you get from it, not only from Jamaican people, but people of all races, all age groups. That song is solid in the American culture. It is when I came here I understood the enormity of the song," said Sutherland, who has had other dancehall hits, like Babyface and Dickie Dickie with Buju Banton.

Blue & Bougie executive Jerry McDonald, who was a youngster when Action was first released, said it is a favourite of his.

"I love the song. The lyrics are timely, and the melody makes you want to get on the dance floor and move your feet. Seeing her perform at rehearsal with former Sagittarius bass player Derrick Barnett has given me a new level of respect for her talent," he said.

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