Sean Paul, Sasha show love for a classic

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer writer

The Jamaica Observer‘s Entertainment Desk continues its month-long feature titled ‘Cover Me Good’. It will look at songs covered by Jamaican artistes which became hits.

I ‘m Still in Love With You , a remake of Alton Ellis’s 1967 hit song, returned to the charts in 2002 thanks to a collaboration between Sean Paul and singer Sasha.

According to Sasha, the collaboration was the brainchild of Sean Paul’s then artists and repertoire (A&R) representative at VP Records, Murray Elias, and herself.

“Murray had this great idea to put us together. We were working on my album and Sean’s album was almost completed,” she recalled.

Produced by Steely and Clevie, I’m Still in Love With You was among 14 tracks featured on the production duo’s Old to The New: A Steely And Clevie Tribute to Joe Gibbs Classics.

It paired veteran acts singing their hits with current artistes.

Among the other tracks were My Woman by Barrington Levy and Ce’Cile, Two Sevens Clash by Culture and Anthony B, Love You Like That (Someone Loves You Honey) by JC Lodge and Junior Kelly, and Identity by The Mighty Diamonds and Luciano.

“I was studying to become a dental technician in New York and I flew into Jamaica on the Friday to record the song at Studio 2000. The Sunday I flew back to New York because I had to be in class on the Monday,” Sasha recalled.

“It was a good vibe in the studio working on the song. Sean had recorded his part previously so he wasn’t with us in the studio. Everybody knows Steely, he is the nicest producer to work with. He draws the best out of you. Only hits come out of his studio,” she added.

Sasha added that she always admired the original which was cut at Studio One.

“I was definitely a fan of his [Alton Ellis]. I loved the song long before we did the remake,” she said.

I’m Still in Love With You was previously recorded by Alton’s sister, Hortense Ellis, as well as Marcia Aitken. But it was the version by Sean Paul and Sasha that scaled international charts.

“I was surprised when the song took off. Murray was the one who had the greatest faith in that song. At the time, some people thought that a reggae, one-drop, lovers rock song wouldn’t have done well. But hats off to Murray, he is a visionary,” Sasha shared.

Released in 2003, the Sean Paul/Sasha cover of I’m Still in Love with You exploded worldwide. It charted at number six in the United Kingdom (it has been certified silver there for sales of more than 200,000), number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 13 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. The song also hit the top 10 in Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Ireland, and Finland.

“The success of the song gave me a lot of attention around the world. It gave me recognition on an international level and it also created a lot of revenues for me. It kept me busy performing,” said Sasha, who is now a Christian.

Alton Ellis died in October 2008, while Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson died in September 2009.

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