|Etana brings Pure Blessings|
|Written by Philip Wrenn|
|Friday, 10 July 2009 13:32|
Some voices are so distinctive they simply rise above the rest. Reggae singer, Etanas’ vocals stand out in the song Blessings, which also features reggae rapper Albrosie. Blessings is featured on Etanas’ Debut Album ‘The Strong One’ (2008) which also boasts a simply stunning cover.
Etana is a 23-year-old Kingston native who made a quick exit from the U.S. after realising that to make it in the pop world she would have to dress and behave in a manner that she found immodest and inappropriate.
"The Strong One", her debut album, is an instantly impressive collection of songs, combining modern smooth production values, with pensive lyrics, dance-floor friendly anthems, and stirringly beautiful vocals.
Etana, having left the U.S. returned to her hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, and adopted Rastafarianism while devoting her newly found sense of purpose to a solo career.
This album is the result, and the sophisticated yet sensually pleasing tone of the music and lyrics is startling.
Her obvious talents have attracted heavyweight names, with Sly Dunbar, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn, and Dalton Browne, all adding their modern-roots musical skills to the record.
The sound is well polished, as is the singing and songwriting.
Having been listening to the album all day, the highlight would have to be " I Am Not Afraid" and the soulful "Roots".
Her wide vocal range, thoughtful lyrics, and interesting persona mark Etana as an important talent.
She believes music can incite a revolutionary mindset, and can be a champion for oppressed and marginalised peoples.
She likens her talents to a vocation – I did not choose music, it chose me and for a real serious reason.
Her talent has not gone unnoticed among her countrymen, and has been recognised by Jamaica's music industry: Etana won the Best Female Vocalist honours at Jamaica’s Excellence in Music and Entertainment (EME) Awards, the IRIE FM Radio Awards, the inaugural Reggae Academy Awards and the International Reggae and World Music Awards held at the Apollo Theatre in New York.
– When I look at how women are being represented in Jamaican music and how little girls are thinking that is the way it is supposed to be, she says, – I want to be a positive influence and change some of the things they are taught. I take my music seriously and I expect anyone around me to take it as seriously as I do.
A musical wunderkind from a young age, all sixteen tracks on the album are written by Etana (real name Shauna McKenzie).
– Music is supposed to be free like colours in a garden, that is what makes it beautiful so however it comes to me on my guitar, in the morning, or in the evening, that is how I am going to put it out.