photo credit: tallawahmagazine.com
This songbird was born in August Town, Kingston in Jamaica on May 22, 1983. She migrated in 1992 to attend the Broward Community College in the United States to pursue a profession in nursing. She however dropped out of college in 2000 and joined the ‘Gift’, a female vocal group. Being scouted by Universal Records, the group was signed having them conform to the stereotype dress of the members of the group.
Etana rebelled against the conformity of wearing revealing clothes to promote the group’s image, and thus the launch of her solo career was formed. Returning to Kingston, her style encompassed her Rastafarian root reflections primarily and her influences derived from Sizzla, Air Supply and Bob Marley among others.
Etana auditioned to be one of the background vocalists for Richie Spice, of Fifth Element Records, on his tour of Europe and North America in 2005. She was then granted the opportunity to weigh her prospects in a music career. Her first single, entitled ‘Wrong Address’ was a unique fusion of roots reggae and soulful influences encouraged by her aunt’s experience. The single topped the Caribbean, United States and England radio station charts for weeks. On her travel to Ghana, where she performed was the premise of her single entitled ‘Roots’. It was so well received that she was nominated for ‘Best Reggae’ in 2008 at the MOBO Awards. She launched her first album-The Strong One– in 2008.
Her launch of her third album in 2013, ‘Better Tomorrow’, is a reflection of her road to maturity in song-writing, her lyrics exuding her life changing experiences, and her evolved vocals. She recorded an album which speaks to her morals and values; revealing her most- thought provoking material to date. She performed at the annual Jazz and Blues Festival held in Trelawny, Jamaica in January. She gave a stunning performance alongside John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Romain Virgo, Dionne Warwick and Michael Bolton. In February she performed at the Raggamuffin Festival in New Zealand which featured artistes Rebelution, Gappy Ranks and Lauryn Hill. (photo credit: golocaljamaica.com)
Her songs speak to issues and blessings encountered by the Caribbean people, such as motherhood, love and empowerment, which is seen on her track ‘Till You Get Old’ and ‘Queen’. Also, her lyrics counter hopelessness, violence against children and poverty giving listeners a sense of hope for tomorrow.
Etana owns a clothing line and is married to Andre Morris, residing in Florida with two children. Her music is an expression of her spirit. Her lyrics and vocals are powerfully articulated in her reggae/soul melodies add richness to her message. Etana’s intro ‘Spoken Soul’ to the ‘Better Tomorrow’ album says she is “moving ahead from struggles of yesterday on a musical journey that uplifts the mind, body and the raw soul” and her life is an inspiration for generations.
(photo credit: urbanboss.wordpress.com)
by: Alexandra Daley