When I first was going to "Reggae Nite" (Downtown Top Rankin') I kept earing about this resident DJ called Queen Majesty. Growing up going to reggae parties, was very rare to see female selectors, so I was very excited to know who she was..and finally one day she came in and did an amazing roots session - every record she was playing was a killer. When I finally took some courage and approached her to DJ at one of my fairs, she turned out to be the sweetest person, and I then discovered the amazing hot sauce she produced..
Hi Erica, how are you?
Hi Lele! I'm well, thank you.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Buffalo, NY but I've lived in Brooklyn for about half my life.
When did you get into reggae?
When I was a teenager I heard Rocksteady and Ska and fell in love. I started collecting Jamaican music then and my collection grew chronologically, pretty much.
Did you go to Jamaica often? What's your favorite spot there?
I have been there a few times. One of the best times I had there was hanging out at Freedom Sounds Studio in Kingston with the late, great Bertram Brown. I got to meet a bunch of artists and eat, talk music and watch kung fu movies with them.
Name your 3 favorite reggae love songs.
Only three? Here they are...
Everyone in the scene seems to love you, how hard was it to get respect as a female selector?
Aw, that's nice of you to say. One of the regulars at The Delancey, Belafonte, has told me that I bring a "love energy" to the party. I like that, I hope I do. I've been selecting for almost fifteen years now, but sure, in the beginning it's hard to get respect not just because you are female (though you have more to prove for some reason) but because you are just beginning to learn everything. They say respect goes both ways so if you respect the music and the crowd, you will earn respect over time.
When did you start producing that amazing spicy sauce?
I've been making hot sauce for over ten years, many different kinds, and I started selling it about two years ago. I really like using fresh and organic ingredients.
Where do you prepare it and how did you get the recipe?
I make everything by hand in a commercial kitchen in Red Hook, Brooklyn with an assistant. The recipes are mine, based on ingredients and foods that I love. I had to adjust them a bit to have them up to code for bottling but I have been honing the two I am selling now for a few years.
What's your favorite jamaican restaurant in NYC?
I guess The Islands because it's good and when I go there it's usually after a nice day to myself at The Brooklyn Museum.
More mixes! Hot sauce and music...