The Jamaica Observer – Standing Strong, Not Still

Standing Strong, Not Still | Claudja Barry

by Michael A Edwards, Entertainment Editor | The Jamaica Observer

Glamorous, multilingual and highly travelled Claudja Barry is the picture of grace and unhurried, gimmick-free success.

Sitting opposite this writer inside the lobby of the Knutsford Court, she looks every bit like someone who has sung in some of the world’s best venues – among them Studio 54, The Saint, (NYC), The Palace (Paris), Budokan Hall (where she won the Silver Prize at the Tokyo Music Festival), The Verona Arena (Italy).

Her performances and stage presence have made her not only a star in the pop and club music arenas but have also made her an accomplished actress in film and television as well as on stage.

Barry may be best known to Jamaicans of a certain age as a founding member of the Euro-pop group Boney M, Barry left the group after only a year to pursue a solos career, and in fact doesn’t wish to talk about that time in her life.

She’s far more anxious to talk about I Will Stand, her current single that’s fast on its way to becoming an international anthem.
“Its really a song telling young women to stand up, to recognise their self-worth and not have anyone else try to define them,” she explains. The song has heightened personal relevance for the singer as she prepares to send her daughter off to college, but had its genesis some three years prior, when Barry, who had been on a self-imposed hiatus, decided it might be time for her to get her musical legs going again.

The single is presently lodged at or near the top of a number of international dance charts (including #4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play), and already there are several remixes and versions making the rounds. A video is being planned and Barry is looking at 2007 for an album release. She is, in fact, a partner in the company, Donna Jean Records, that released the track.

But the real story is Claudja Barry herself, her amazing travels in the entertainment world, and her current perspective having learned through experience. Born in Jamaica, Barry left with her parents for Toronto Canada at age 7. In her teens, she headed south to New York City, to study acting with the famed Actors Studio of lee Strasberg. From there, she jumped to London, landing the lead role in the Royal Court Theatre production of AC/DC, which won the Evening Standard Critic’s award for Best Play.

She again hopped the pond, so to speak, this time landing in Germany, where she appeared in several musicals, including a musical adaptation of Othello (which in turn led to the Boney M call). Hollywood also called, and barry had roles in the features Rappin’ and Paper People.

Her solo musical career includes the disco classics Boogie Woogie Dancin’ Shoes, Dancin’ Fever and Down And Counting all of which were staples on Jamaican radio. She also found time to produce a gospel album, entitled Love Him Forever.

Though now based in New York, Barry has carved out a special place for the land of her birth. ‘ I intend to have a base in Jamaica,” she says. “I’m not saying I’ll be here all year round, but I definitely want to be established here.”

Having experienced the pleasures and challenges of life in Europe and North America, she is both philosophical and pragmatic. “The European way of life is closer to the ideal than the US or even Canada, but the thing is, there aren’t any major solo acts breaking out of Europe right now, like there were say five years ago. So even though the go-go life of America can be very difficult, that’s where the music is happening for the moment.”

Having been back to the island on several occasions, Barry is struck by need to create opportunities, particularly for the young, to realise their potential, but doesn’t wish to get on a soapbox. “There is an incredible amount of talent here,” she says. “I’d like to be able to do something to help them , especially our young women, empower themselves.”

With her career and family on the main burner, the social activism will have to wait a while. Through I Will Stand, Barry is trying to speak to one issue, as directly as possible, in the way she knows best. People are listening.

Press Release | DonnaJean Congratulates The Unstoppable Claudja Barry on the Success of “I Will Stand”

DonnaJean Congratulates the Unstoppable Claudja Barry On The Success of “I Will Stand”

July 28th, 2006

DECATUR, GA, JULY 28, 2006 – Claudja Barry’s single “I Will Stand,” has climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart. The success of the single continues to grow around the world, topping many international charts. Currently, Claudja is preparing to release her next single from her upcoming album

DonnaJean Records’ founder Jim Garrard says, “I am so impressed and proud of how Claudja Barry has not missed a beat in her latest success, her vocals and performances are better than ever and she continues to amaze me. All of us at DonnaJean cannot begin to express our appreciation for the support shown by her fans and the industry.”

Expectations and excitement are high in anticipation of her next single, due out in early September. “The reactions from her fans have been nothing but humbling.” Many of these sentiments are expressed on her Myspace website at and her official website at


With many years of musical experience in virtually every genre, DonnaJean Records treats its performing artists like partners. DonnaJean can produce and market into all listening areas, while still allowing our artists to achieve their own performance goals.

DonnaJean Records is constantly seeking new singers, songwriters and musicians looking for a home where they can be assured that their needs come first.

For more information, contact DonnaJean records at or

Claudja Barry Enters Billboard Charts with ‘I Will Stand’

Decatur, GA (DonnaJean Records) – The new club anthem “I Will Stand” by Claudja Barry entered the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart today. The chart will appear in the May 20th printing of Billboard Magazine. “The club and radio success of Claudja’s latest single (I Will Stand) has been nothing short of our expectations, which has validated our vision. I am thrilled with how her existing fan base and all of her new fans have embraced this record,” says DonnaJean founder Jim Garrard. Expectations for the continued growth of “I Will Stand” are very high.Both terrestrial and satellite radio stations continue to expand rotations of “I Will Stand” in their weekly playlists. Tune in to stations like Sirius TheBeat 36 and New Orleans’ WDVW.
With a joint venture between DonnaJean Records and DMX Music, the hit single will begin broadcasting in June in retail stores including Abercrombie & Fitch.

Claudja Barry is a multi-million record selling recording artist with a well-established following, and with the new record, a newly discovered and quickly growing fan base.
• Claudja Barry’s new single “I Will Stand” is now airing on radio and satellite stations world-wide.
• The single is now in its second pressing as sales continue to be strong in anticipation of the new album, due out later this year.

About DonnaJean Records
With many years of musical experience in virtually every genre, DonnaJean Records treats its performing artists like partners. DonnaJean can produce and market into all listening areas, while still allowing our artists to achieve their own performance goals.

DonnaJean Records is constantly seeking new singers, songwriters and musicians looking for a home where they can be assured that their needs come first.
For more information, contact DonnaJean records at or


Review of “I Will Stand” by Jimi Bruce for

Claudja – I Will Stand

From Jimi Bruce

Guide Rating – rating


A legendary original who never sits for long

I was thrilled to hear a name I hadn’t heard in along time announced on the air and should have known she wasn’t going the way many of the “disco era” have – silently into the so-called “mature” disco night. “Yes!” I thought to myself, there IS hope for those of us thought of as left behind by disco haters!” Claudja Barry will always be remembered by me personally. I know what the day looked like (sunny), what positivity I was doing (warming and winding down from a Saturday workout), and the excitement I felt when I heard him announce and play the new song, “I Will Stand” [Donnajean Records]. Suddenly my good times and the ole (school) days flooded back to mind – a needed vacation from the stresses of today. Now if you don’t know who she is, then pull up your chair to your gel screen, my reader, and let me drop some science on you about her as I know it and as she told it to me recently.

Claudja Barry became a star, slightly under the radar before every female singer who made the scene wanted to be tapped, dubbed, smoothed, rubbed, or pronounced a “diva”; as if entitled just because they have a record out in the market.

A classically-trained vocalist, who has traveled the world, Claudja is longevity personified, and has taken care of herself and preserved her “instrument,” as she calls her voice. “I was one of the persons who took my job very seriously, and I still do. I think if you love what you’re doing, which I do, it takes a while to find the right project to come back with (it’s almost like six different tunes on this),so I’m happy I took care of myself.”I adore track three, the Sugardip radio edit by Ean Sugarman, which most resembles her signature sound through the years. “It’s also very sort of two-thousand and six” she reminds, “an updated version of the ‘Sweet Dynamite sound.” This is the version I recommend, radio stations. In da club, DJs will have fun with remixed versions on track two from Gadbois, number four from the original songwriters, and track six, an expansion of my favorite Sugardip on the disc.Even Claudja’s hair is the same on the CD cover of “I Will Stand” as it is on the album jacket of 1978’s “Sweet Dynamite,” style and all, which is a really good thing that surprised her when I pointed it out during our talk. “That IS a good thing” she said “It sort of ties-in to her new beginning but almost from the same!”
Her first major label success was on the mostly Latin-based and now almost-forgotten Salsoul Records & Tapes (back when cassette tapes were new), and I just assumed that she was singing with the big Salsoul Orchestra led by Vince Montana. But no, she says “All of my early things were done in Europe and Salsoul picked-up the product and put it out in the states/that’s how it worked…” Well we just learned something together, my reader, and yes I know I’m kind of slow sometimes – duh… “Sweet Dynamite” was the blast album that they put out, and the title track, complete with a Tom Moulton mix, a staple back then, got her started and was played to big hit status by New York City’s trendsetting Program Director Frankie Crocker and WBLS-FM, and that hit-laden album spread through the clubs across the land. “I must tell you something, when I think about the body of work that I’ve done, when you think about ‘Love for the Sake of Love’ and Jermaine Monteil who redid it [sampled]; “Down and Counting was such a great tune, “Tripping on the Moon,” one of my absolute favorites; you just think that it’s hard to sort of top those I absolutely love! But “I Will Stand” is so different from any of those things, [and] so 2006.

It’s a tune that is going to say something; not just happy happy, trippy trippy, it’s a song that is making a statement that is valid for young people today” she said. The DJ in me has a respectful love/hate thing with artists who evolve with the times – DJs always want it to be party time and don’t want to grow-up. Yet I love the reinventing of oneself, and Claudja sings and speaks to that end magnificently. “It can be party time, but the feeling today you [still] have to be so focused/you have to realize how privileged we are in this country” she reminds. In a short talk, we rapped about many things.On “Down and Counting” (1986), She comments “It was a number one Dance record, unfortunately I got caught right in the middle of when Sony was coming to buy CBS [parent of the Epic label she was on] and everything was in an uproar, so Down and Counting got counted and…” or discounted slightly more than had there been label stability back then.When I asked her what her most favorite song is that she doesn’t mind performing ad nauseam, she replied “Work Me Over,” because of the range vocally, and because it’s a really happy song; it’s kind of sexy, as well as ‘Boogie Woogie Dancin’ Shoes’.”

I always have to ask those I review if they can relate an amusing anecdote about the production or a performance during their career. Claudja replied, “I did an amazing performance at the Tokyo Music festival in 1980, I was on the bill with the Commodores, The Stylistics, Dionne Warwick, and all kinds of wonderful artists. It was the first time I ever went out to sing with a live band, and by that I mean a seventy-piece orchestra on a stage like Carnegie Hall or Radio City. Of course, I’m thinking like ‘who am I? If I can just get out and through it I’ll be happy’; and I came away with three prizes, best composed song and best costume. I came away with the silver prize and Dionne Warwick got the first prize, so I was thinking, that is not too bad, I just was not expecting it.” Okay, but how about amusing Claudja? “I [invite] people to get on stage sometimes and dare them to ‘take it off,’ and when they actually take [their clothes] off, I have to stop them before it gets too embarrassing for them…” She eggs them on until the last piece is almost gone when she has to pull them back from the brink indeed – especially when the videotape is rolling.
She took me aboard the time machine when recounting her most memorable gig at the late ’70s New York City haunt The Saint. It was a New Year’s Eve party back in the days with Cerrone, and “Trippin’ On The Moon” was her hot hit at that point. This evokes serious scandalous reminiscence for my puppy years in radio.“‘I Will Stand’ is for anybody who really has strong beliefs and realized that nobody’s gonna do it for them and they’ve got to do it for themselves; and when you come upon situations where you feel powerless, you dig your heels in and say, no – I will stand because I am. It’s not just a woman’s song, it’s for anybody who is today feeling that they need to be strong and have power.” There I was thinking this was another Gaynor-type survivor song – not! The message is be who you are and stand-up for yourself by cultivating your own identity: “I’m ready to move forward/because I deserve nothing less/here I stand my own wo-man, don’t need your hand to be who I am…”
This record speaks to individuality in spirit and deed by way of cultivating one’s own identity and I always second those emotions! Written by her longtime friends Tony Moran and Warren Rigg, along with the two imaginative remixers, Claudja feels fortunate and proud to have released “this piece of product (which she has had for several years), and we’re all hoping the resonance from the public will be positive” she says.
Well, judging from comments I have read online, the buzz already is for this Montego Bay-born by way of Toronto and Hackensack songstress. She is even contemplating collaborating with Jamaican music producer Fata in the near future on a project that will revisit one of her signature hits.Our talk was part badinage, part philosophical, and all the way informative. For those who desire more, I recommend, her full-service site. She is “looking forward to the next set of excitements that are going to come to me” and is planning to do a tour. As comebacks go, this one is right on point.

I know that this will not be Ms. Barry’s last “stand”, so five stars is the rating upon which my spinning wheel lands.

About.Com – Dance Music & Electronica | Claudja Barry “I Will Stand” reviewed by Jimi Bruce

Press Release | DonnaJean Records Releases New Claudja Barry Single

DECATUR, GA, APRIL 5, 2006: DonnaJean Records is proud to announce the release of the new single, “I Will Stand,” from international recording artist Claudja Barry. “I Will Stand” is destined to climb the charts as her newest anthem. Claudja, a multi-million record selling recording artist has returned with this amazing new song, already touching the hearts of her fans, new and old.
Claudja took a brief respite from her entertainment career focusing this time on her daughter and family. In 2004, ready to begin performing again, Claudja contacted long time friend – producer/casting director, Jim Garrard who founded the film and television production company DonnaJean Entertainment. Subsequently, Claudja Barry joined DonnaJean Entertainment as an owner and partner, and together they formed DonnaJean Records to release her new album with Claudja in the driver’s seat.

~ MORE ~


• Claudja Barry’s new single “I Will Stand” is now airing on radio and satellite stations nationwide, as well as Europe.
• Initial sales of the single are strong in anticipation of the album, due out later this year.
WITH MANY YEARS OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCE in virtually every genre, DonnaJean Records treats its performing artists like partners. DonnaJean can produce and market into all listening areas, while still allowing our artists to achieve their own performance goals.
DonnaJean Records is constantly seeking new singers, songwriters and musicians looking for a home where they can be assured that their needs come first.
For more information, contact DonnaJean records at or

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