What do you get when you pair a classic rhythm sample with one of reggae’s smoothest vocalists? Want U 4Ever, a love story packaged by Pam Hall’s velvety vocals, all nestled on the groovy reggae drum beat of Dennis Brown’s 1977 hit Here I Come.
Though released in late July, the story of Want U 4Ever traces back to several years ago and almost didn’t actualize.
“I was doing session work on several songs for a riddim, (and) the producer asked me to do a song as well,” Hall told DancehallMag. “The hook of the song came to me and then I turned it over to Errol Wilson, my manager, co-producer and the one I like to call the senior member of our songwriting team. We went back and forth a little until we were both satisfied.”
But the final recording of the song was never released. Hall said years passed before she revisited it with Wilson.
“We decided it was too beautiful to be discarded and so we produced it ourselves,” she said. “I linked Sly (Dunbar) who had done the original drums for the Here I Come rhythm. Computer Paul did the bass and some lovely additional keyboards to what I’d done with some awesome effects. I did a few touches to the bass and we were on the way.”
She voiced the track in 2012 and did harmonies with her son, but it took three more years until the track was mixed with added vocals from her daughter/singer Tafina. But Wilson wasn’t pleased.
“Once again it was put on the back burner,” Hall recalled. “As time went on Willo (Wilson) would get quite fed up with me. ‘Wen we goin’ put out di song?’, he would say. And even when we finally decided, there were more hitches.”
The song’s mixing was redone and things seemed progressive until her mother became ill and eventually passed on in January. Hall said she mustered the energy to complete the project in July, and now, the rest is officially history.
“It’s a great addition to our catalog,” she said. “We just want to take it as far as we can. I’m very pleased with the response so far.”
Among the songs they have co-written are What You Gon’ Do (2019), Lonely Days (1997), Just Dance, and Magic (1993).
Embracing the positives
Hall has her own testimonies of surviving the blows of 2020. She said coping with her mother’s passing has been a “real challenge, but one that I have embraced with loads of positives.”
As for the indefinite disruption of the music industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes opportunities lie even in the midst of adversity.
“We are all much stronger than we think. It takes challenges to push us into our reserves.”
Between her quarantine days occupied with planting and writing songs, she is also prioritising self-care and completing several projects.
“I give thanks to the Almighty for good health and one of my priorities is to maintain and improve it wherever possible,” she said. “I’m trying to catch up on projects and tasks… Errol and I are always writing and we will continue to do that… We are also working on co-producing a single with a new artiste. There are also other Pam Hall songs to complete… and there will be an album in 2021.”
She added, “Of course I have to continue working on my music admin. And there is my ‘independent daughter’ who does everything possible not to accept much help from us, but we are always a whisper away.”