by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Pat Chin, co-founder of Randy’s Records and VP Records, says it’s essential she tells her story as a reggae pioneer to young Jamaicans, as many have little knowledge of music history.
Chin is here to promote his book, Miss Pat: My journey in reggae musicreleased in the United States in March 2021. She made radio and television interviewsand signatures at a number of locations, including the University of the West Indies and the Alpha Institute.
At each stop, Chin recalls how she and her husband Vincent opened a small retail record store in 1958 that grew into VP Records, the world’s largest reggae distributor.
“I hope Jamaicans really want to hear my story because I’ve been here 64 years making reggae music. Some of the younger generation don’t know what a jukebox is and don’t know what kind of struggle we had to go through to get reggae on the radio,” she said.
At UWI, ‘My Reggae Music Journey’ was officially launched by Professor Donna Hope. Chin also donated funds to help two students (Teain Henry and Ashane Robertson) get scholarships to Alpha Institute, formerly Alpha Boys School.
She donated copies of his book at the Jamaica Library Service and the National Library of Jamaica.
While Vincent and Pat Chin got into music in 1958, it wasn’t until four years later that they opened Randy’s Record Mart in downtown Kingston. Jamaica had just gained independence from Britain.
“There was a lot of rejoicing and excitement in the streets. It was a productive time…everyone was happy and people were putting on good Jamaican music,” she said.
The Chins’ story is captured in their 209-page book which details the transformation of Jamaican popular music from a small hustler to a multi-million dollar industry.
While they had success with Randy’s, the husband and wife team soared with VP Records which they opened in 1979 shortly after moving their family to Queens, New York. The label has become a hub for the biggest names in dancehall and traditional reggae bands like Beres Hammondthe company’s flagship artist.
Vincent passed away in 2003, but Pat helped run the business with his sons Chris and Randy, and daughter Angela.