For the last six years Etana has been steadily rising as a strong frontline female reggae act. Her first two CD’s on VP records were called Strong One and Free Expression. Both of these albums were full of good successful songs. Her next album Better Tomorrow is mixed and mastered and slated for release late February 2013. This CD features thirteen songs and a bonus track. The first single to be released from this album is called Reggae. This song was released in August, 2012 and has been getting good airplay. The next song slated for release is the title track, Better Tomorrow. There is great anticipation for the release of Etana’s new album.
Etana is the strong female sensation that has been dominating the airwaves and stage shows in Jamaica and worldwide for the last seven years. Etana is young bright and popular, with a powerful voice and good songs. Since her beginning as a solo artist Etana has been winning many music awards. In 2010 she won every single female artist award in Jamaica - best singer of the year, best album of the year, etc. Six awards. She won awards for the Best Female Vocalist and Best Album at the 2010 International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) held in New York. Etana released videos for the songs Blessings, which features Italian-born Rastafarian reggae crooner, Alborosie, and Caltariba System, both from her debut VP Records album, The Strong One. Fresh and gifted, this spirited and soulful singer/ songwriter is now loved and accepted by the people of the world.
Etana has done two US tours with Kings Music International, first co-billing with the Abyssinians in 2009 on a tour that featured her on The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Reggae On The River and the Vancouver Island Musicfest. February 2009, Etana performed on the Ragga Muffins Festival at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach California and she was brought back to the festival again in 2011. People were excited and enthusiastic to see her. She was one of the stronger artists on the festival. In May 2011 she co-billed a very popular Western US tour with Gyptian. Last summer Etana toured Europe June through August where she played the Rototom festival, the Kimsey Festival, The Jamaica 50th Anniversary Festival in London and the Uprising Festival in Slovakia, amongst others. In August 2012 she played the Kenya Festival of Music in Nairobi and this January she is slated to play the Rebel Satute in Jamaica.
Etana has a weekly talk show in Jamaica called Against All Odds that airs every Sunday on CVM TV in Jamaica. This show addresses people who have gone through great trials and adversity such as poverty and sexual abuse and have gone on to be successful.
Think of Etana as reggae's Jill Scott. She's a Jamaican soul singer with a voice that's rich, robust and saturated in the right kind of buoyancy, sage but never preachy. Etana's sophomore album Free Expressions, serves up more positive messages than a self-help book, but thanks to crisp reggae production and that undeniably stunning voice, its tunes are never cloying. Case in point: People Talk, a catchy anthem about keeping your head up high in the face of gossipers and backbiters. "Never let them take away your livity / Live your life and be free," Etana croons. "I and I will survive." The song is a perfect mélange of classic and contemporary. A roots-reggae bassline, accented by well-placed horns, has an old-school feel, but Etana's vocals seamlessly blend Jamaican Patois, R&B-style English and soul-sounding intonation. The result is a rarity: music that sermonizes, yet still sweetly serenades.
A pivotal break came for Etana's singing career when after an initial audition with Fifth Element Records, the recording and management company behind Richie Spice and Chuck Fender, Etana was asked to tour with Richie Spice as a background vocalist. Touring Europe and North America with Spice helped work her in, giving her experience. Then, after being loved and appreciated on the road with Richie Spice, Etana’s debut single from the recording studio, Wrong Address, was released in 2006. This song quickly caught interest in the reggae world. The song struck a resounding chord with reggae listeners, and still receives heavy radio rotation to this day. Fifth Element Records, behind the hit single Wrong Address, continued to help Etana produce a string of hit singles that rode hard and strong on the charts. From this strong foundation Etana has continued to rise. Etana is now a household name all over the world.
It’s been five years since Jamaica’s reggae princess hit the music scene, and the genre has never looked back. Now, with two albums under her belt, Etana is a household name worldwide, with a voice and message that soothes and entertains.
Since Etana’s breakout hit Roots, the songbird has found herself as a staple on reggae charts across the globe. Following up with Wrong Address, the Strong One began to build a catalogue of conscious music… and a massive fan base. Increasingly, her music connected with people through relatable messages of love, fighting injustice and prejudice, having pride and more.
“Overall, my music has to uplift. It can’t just be that I go in a studio and string words together. My music must have a message, it must have a purpose. It has to make people feel good and want to really listen to what I’m saying,” says Etana – who was born Shauna McKenzie.
In 2008 Etana released her debut album, The Strong One. It was a hit. The wildly successful debut album, recorded and released on the VP Records label, silenced critics who claimed Etana was a one-hit wonder. In fact, so popular and successful was The Strong One, that every one of the tracks on the album was released as a single – and also charted. The Strong Onefeatured songs such as Warrior Love, Jah Chariot, Don’t Forget, I Am Not Afraid, Blessing, More & More, Caltariba Systemas well as her first two hits Roots and Wrong Address. More than that, Etana had spread her wings and was filling clubs and stadiums in the Caribbean, North America and Europe – and it was a humbling experience.
“Travelling to another country to perform is perhaps one of the most exciting things for me. Especially if it is a country where English isn’t the first language. Being in Portugal or Spain, for example and hearing a crowd of 100,000 people sing every one of your songs word for word is just exhilarating”.
While touring, Etana also picked up a new hobby – collecting award trophies. Since her birth in the music world, she has copped one prestigious musical honour after another. Ranging from Best New Artiste, Female Vocalist of the Year and Reggae Singer of the Year to Most Admired Female Artiste, Cultural Artiste of the Year and several Album of Year trophies, Etana has a sizeable list of accolades behind her name.
Etana began to tease fans with what was to come on her next CD when she released Free, Happy Heart and August Town. Almost immediately, critics clamoured and fans anxiously awaited the release of her sophomore attempt at a full-length album. She continued to record, and in 2011 released Free Expressions. With this, Etana pulled off what many artistes are unable to – a successful second album. Free Expressionsis lining up to be as successful as its predecessor with several of its featured tracks being released as singles.
“This time around, I got really involved in the making of the album. For The Strong One there were a team of writers but it’s pretty much all me and my pen in the majority of the songs on Free Expressions. That was an experience I enjoyed, and I am definitely more into writing these days,” the now married artiste says. Crowds around the world seem to enjoy Etana’s increased input in this album, evidenced by her performing consistently on the biggest reggae festivals and shows around the world. In fact, Etana made her debut in South America in 2011.
“I’ve been blessed with this talent, and I don’t plan on slowing down for now,” she smiles. Etana has one more album to put out for VP Records, and she promises that she’ll try and make it her best work yet.