Jay Douglas

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Marcia Griffiths and Jay Douglas performing at the Canadian National Exhibition bandshell, August 23, 2017.
Jay Douglas
Occupation musician

Jay Douglas is a Toronto, Ontario based Canadian-Jamaican musician.[1][2] He was born in Jamaica, and first performed in Montego Bay, and is now a senior respected member of the Toronto Music Scene.[3][4]

Douglas spent his childhood in Montego Bay, Jamaica, moving to Toronto, Ontario to join his mother in 1963 when he was a teenager.[1][5] According to a 2012 profile in Now magazine Douglas first Canadian performances were at Toronto's Central Tech High School, when he was a student there.

His first professional group was The Cougars, a funk band.[1]

Since then Douglas has performed steadily at clubs and festivals all over Ontario.[1][5] He has performed at Toronto's prestigious Massey Hall, Roy Thompson Hall, and the Glenn Gould Studio. In 2012 his album Lovers' Paradise was one of that year's five nominees for best reggae album.[6]

Now magazine described Douglas as a "treasure trove of Toronto-Jamaican musical history".[1]

In 2012 Seattle based Light in the attic produced a retrospective on the arrival of Reggae to North America that relied heavily of Douglas's performances, knowledge, and contacts.[5] Matt Sullivan, a producer with Light in the attic, called Douglas “one of the finest soul-reggae singers in North America”. Errol Nazareth, writing in the Toronto Sun called it ironic that it required producers from Seattle to fully recognize the significance of Douglas's musical contributions.

On September 19, 2015, Douglas debuted a song entitled Reggae Lane at a concert to celebrate the completion of a 110 square metre mural celebrating the history of reggae at the recently renamed Reggae Lane.[2][7]

Douglas was shortlisted for the 2020 Juno Awards, for Reggae Recording of the Year, for "Jah Children".[8][9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Anupa Mistry. Jay Douglas: Singer is a treasure trove of Toronto-Jamaican musical history, Now magazine, 2012-05-17. Retrieved on 2016-03-10. “Since then, Douglas has recorded and performed abroad, though his heart beats fastest for the 416. He was a key collaborator on influential 2006 compilation Jamaica To Toronto, featuring reggae, funk and soul tunes recorded here in the 60s and 70s by Jamaican immigrants.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Amy Grief. Reggae Lane mural unveiled in Toronto, Blog TO, 2015-09-21. Retrieved on 2016-03-10. “To celebrate the new initiative, numerous reggae musicians, including Jay Douglas, performed. Accordingly, Douglas played an original song called Reggae Lane.”
  3. Jay Douglas And The All Stars, Toronto Jazz Festival. Retrieved on 2017-01-12. “Jay was proclaimed winner of NOW Magazine’s Toronto's "Best R&B Act" (2006), and The Annual Toronto Reggae Award’s “Male Reggae Vocalist of the Year 2007.” He has now been nominated for a Juno Award for Best Reggae Recording Artist of 2012. As well, in March 2012, The Toronto Harry Jerome Awards granted him the male Entertainer of the Year Award.”
  4. Lisa McDonald. Exclusive Interview: Jay Douglas celebrates 40 years, Live Music Head, May 2011. Retrieved on 2017-01-12.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Errol Nazareth. Jay Douglas: It's about time, Toronto Sun, 2012-05-17. Retrieved on 2016-03-10. “Douglas, who came here from Jamaica in 1963, played with The Cougars, a crew who mixed ska, rocksteady, soul and R&B — a sound was ahead of its time and that literally opened doors for them.”
  6. 2012 Juno Award nominees, CBC News, 2012-02-07. Retrieved on 2016-03-10. “Reggae recording: Seeds of Love & Life ft. Luciano, Dubmatix; Bleaching Shop, Exco Levi; Lover's Paradise, Jay Douglas; Woman, Steele; Rescue Me, Tanya Mullings.”
  7. Reggae Lane (mp3). SoundCloud. Retrieved on 2016-03-10.
  8. Lenny Stoute. BTW Leahy, Black Puma, Good Lovelies, Jay Douglas, Kaia Kater, Tush, Ripped, Salvation Army Band, Recollectiv, Unison Holiday Schmoozefest, Joanne Powell, Cashbox Canada, 2019-11-29. Retrieved on 2020-01-28. “Old school reggae doesn’t get any better than JUNO nominated and award-winning reggae and music master Jay Douglas. JD drops “Jah Children” — available now from Slammin Media and worldwide by Believe Distribution.”
  9. 'I'm just a messenger for peace and love': Toronto reggae legend Jay Douglas reflects on his life and career, CBC News, 2020-01-15. Retrieved on 2020-01-28. “Without Jay Douglas, Canadian music wouldn't be the same. The Toronto reggae legend's part in supporting the Jamaica To Toronto compilation — documenting the great soul, funk and reggae music recorded in this city between 1967 and 1974 — led to a rediscovery of Canadian reggae.”