t’s 1961 in downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Inside the disused Charlie Moo’s restaurant on 17 North Parade, an eight-by-ten foot space throngs with punters and musicians, here to buy records imported from America alongside the obscure new sounds beginning to emerge from the island.
This is Randy’s Record Mart. Sound clashers pluck turntable needles from the walls, American wholesalers stop by for patty and soup that bubbles on the stove, barefoot musicians head through to the studio upstairs. At the centre of it all a 4’11, 25-year-old woman of Chinese-Indian heritage conducts the chaos from her spot behind the counter. She is Patricia Chin — soon and forever more to be lovingly renamed Miss Pat — and this is her empire. She even made the soup.
Sixty years on, Miss Pat is the founder and head honcho at VP Records: the world’s most prolific distributor, shop and label for reggae and dancehall, with offices in New York, Kingston, London, Miami, Rio and Tokyo. In 2015 she became the first ever woman to win the American Association of Independent Music’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has helped launch and shape the careers of everyone from Lady Saw to Beenie Man, Bounty Killer to Sean Paul.