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Jimmy Cliff Connection

Jennifer Edwards was born in England but at age one her family took her on a move to Canada. Since her family worked in the tourist industry, she frequently visited Jamaica.

Jennifer Edwards Pic 2

“My family rents out condos and townhouses, all aimed at the tourist industry,” said Jennifer in her North Toronto residence. She used to sing in the church. “Actually, I can share a story with you,” continued Iniffa-Je’nnifer, as she is called. “I used to sing in the shower a lot. At age 12, one day my father approached me and said: ‘Meet me in the basement because I am going to set up a microphone up for you.” Edwards laughed at the recollection. “And through that, I recorded my first song.”

Jennifer Edwards Pic 1

“So it took a whole 12 years before someone stuck a mike unit before you?!” I asked with a shrug.

“No,” she cackled, “I used a comb and a brush before that.” Iniffa-Je’nnifer had three older brothers and she was the first of the three sisters. “My parents had six of us,” added the singer. Her three brothers were also into music. And Edwards made a practise of jamming with them.

“What did they play?” came another question.

Colin, her youngest brother was a drummer and went on to play for a band called House of David. “They are very well known in Toronto and travel across Canada.”  Colin has been in that band for 15 years and this music group is established and has a following too. At age 12, the future Iniffa-Je’nnifer sang in an Anglican Church called St. Johns which is at Dufferin and St. Clair. At age 16, she then went to the Royal Conservatory in Downtown Toronto, where she received classical, vocal training.  She sang in this church up until age 18 when she stopped going. “I just woke up one morning,” laughed Iniffa-Je’nnifer and I said to my mother: Mom, I don’t think I want to go church anymore!” At that time, her brothers were players in bands around the city.Her oldest brother excelled as a guitar player, loved jazz and blues, leading him to perform with a band called Crack of Dawn.

This same sibling now works full time at the CBC, where he repairs equipment. Another brother, Ronnie Edwards is a famous comedian. “So, Ronnie played the harmonica, Lucas played the guitar, and Colin was a drummer, and I sang,” recalled Iniffa-Je’nnifer.  At age 18, she found background work for a number of music bands. In Toronto, she worked with Jay Douglas, Liberty Silver, and Coconut Groove with Mr. Lazarus, who did percussion. “That’s just to name a few,” continued the singer. “I wanted to do a solo career.” Because of her background influences, she intended to keep her cultural sounds alive. At age 20, she decided to go to Jamaica and go live with her parents. “I then hit the hotel circuit, which included the Holiday Inn. But Brampton Hotel in Hanover was the nicest, she admitted.


“How long did you do that for?”

“I still do that for friends and family,” came an answer, “I enjoy doing background work.”

At age 25, Iniffa-Je’nnifer was in England when she first met Jimmy Cliff. At that time, she was promoting one of her singles which was a cover song called Do it For Love. This song was originated by Ben Meyer who is from Jamaica. She wanted this single to get good promotion because in Britain the market was big.  From age 25 to age 40, Iniffa-Je’nnifer was a long time background singer for Jimmy Cliff. “It’s a privilege to work with such an artist,” she added, “it brought my career to such heights worldwide.”

Paul Collins

Author of Mack Dunstan’s Inferno/ Mystery of Everyman’s Way
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