Former music manager, Linda Smith Isaacs, in whose house the veteran singer Gregory Isaacs spent his last days while battling cancer, has died.
She passed away on June 21 at the age of 75. She suffered from emphysema and had breathing problems for a period of time before her death.
She is survived by three children, Anthony, Jason and Marie.
“She was a vibrant, powerful personality. She was one of a kind, a real character and she always had a ‘Plan’, she always had ideas,” her son, Anthony told DancehallMag.
Linda Isaacs was the last manager and agent of Gregory Isaacs before his death in 2010. She was well-known as the conceptualizer and promoter of the popular annual show, ‘John Holt in Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra’. Later, a John Holt live album was taken from these shows released in 2001. She dabbled in music production as well; as she was the executive producer of Gregory’s album, Brand New Me.
Linda Smith Isaacs grew up in Birmingham and was always proud of her roots. She married a Jamaican, Ken Jack, who grew up in Denham Town and was close to music figures like Ken Boothe and Strangejah Cole. She visited Jamaica quite often and was fond of the island’s culture and music.
She boasted an extensive record collection and also dabbled in music production.
“She has several unreleased records of Gregory Isaacs and other pop artistes in the UK, which have not been made available to the public yet,” Tony Owens, co-founder of Musical Youth in Birmingham and a close personal friend of Linda, said.
Linda is perhaps best known for the special relationship she shared with international reggae star Gregory Isaacs, labelled “the most exquisite vocalist in reggae” by the New York Times. Following the passing of the singer in October 2010, rumours surfaced surrounding the Night Nurse hit-maker’s relationship with his Linda, his UK manager at the time. In the UK media, she was often referred to as Isaacs’ wife.
Several people criticized Linda after Isaacs’ death after she said that the “proud” the star, who was dubbed ‘The Cool Ruler,’ had chosen to spend his final days with her at their home in the UK, as opposed to his birthplace, Jamaica.
A special blue plaque marking the Cool Ruler’s life was unveiled at Linda’s home in Weald Lane, Harrow Weald in 2016.
Linda, in interviews, often said that she and Isaacs were very much in love, even though their “union wasn’t recognised by law.”
“Gregory and myself were together for a few years, but we were not legally married. Last April, he wanted me to change my name by deed poll to Isaacs, so I did. And yes, he said I was his wife and I said he was my husband. If we did wrong, then let the Almighty judge us,” she was quoted as saying at the time.
Gregory Isaacs was legally married to June Isaacs at the time of his death.
Journalist Mandingo called Linda Smith Isaacs a “hardworking, independent and self-employed woman” and a real force of nature.
“She didn’t put up with any foolishness from friend, husband or stranger. She was a powerful woman, a mother many people on several continents. She layed a major role with the Roots Festival in Gambia, and she built a school in Gambia.. She was a great philanthropist who loved people,” he said.