Jah9 was born in Montego Bay in Saint James, Jamaica. Her father was a Baptist minister and her mother was a teacher and social worker. She spent much of her childhood in Falmouth, Trelawny. In 1991 the family moved to Kingston. After a period at the university she commenced realizing her musical passion. Her music is often described as "jazz on dub", because her singing voice is influenced by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, partly combined with the dancehall sound of Sizzla and the more potent dubrhythms similar to those of Augustus Pablo.