More than just an artist. How could one truly describe Etana, Jamaican born reggae singer and songwriter, without mentioning the deep and heartfelt words depicted within her music, which she describes as “raw soul reggae”. Love, hurt, societal issues, you name it, there’s something everyone can relate to in her songs.
Etana broke into the music scene with her 2006 hit song ‘Wrong Address‘, which led to the start of a successful career locally and internationally. However, Etana was never one to be fazed by popularity, ’til this day she remains true to herself and what she believes in.
Etana has completed the production of her highly anticipated second album ‘Free Expressions‘, which will be available on February 8, 2011; with the new record you can be assured to get pulled in by Etana’s never-ending creative songwriting skills and passion filled singing. So be sure to purchase the album on the day of its arrival. Need I say more.
Watch the lovely music video for her song ‘Happy Heart‘ below, and definitely read the entire interview to find out more about ‘the Strong One‘:
EY: Tell us a little about Etana. What was life like growing up in Jamaica?
–Growing up in Jamaica was fun! We, my cousins and I didn’t realize that we were sleeping on one bed because we had to. We loved it actually and bed time duppy (ghost) stories were always the best. We used to go to the river (and I still can’t swim) catch shrimp, play gun war, and dolly house. Fun!
EY: How would you describe your kind of music?
-I call my music Reggae Soul. Very soulful, sometimes fused with other Genres giving a world music feel at times but all in all the roots is reggae. Raw Soul Reggae 🙂
–“Sex sells but I’d rather sell music.”
EY: Can you explain why you gave up being apart of a singing group on Universal Records?
-I gave up being part of the group because I wanted to be myself. Sex sells but I’d rather sell music.
EY: After leaving the group, you returned to Jamaica. Were you considering giving up on music altogether at that time in your life?
–I definitely gave up on music, my intentions were to open an internet cafe to benefit college students.
EY: What was it like singing backup for Richie Spice, and did that have an impact on your return to music as a solo artist?
–I met Richie Spice and the 5th Element family in the process of registering the cafe. He needed a back up singer for only one show. It worked out so well that one after the other a ticket was bought. I worked with Richie Spice for one year (2005). It was fun, educating and I was free to be myself, wearing what I want with my afro out. I really enjoyed being his background vocalist and that was all I wanted to do.
EY: How did you feel when you’re debut single “Wrong Address” took off the way it did, reaching number one on reggae charts and gaining internationally exposure?
–It wasn’t until late 2005, after being asked a dozen times by management at Fifth Element to Record a song, and eventually I did. What made me do it? My aunt called and told me she didn’t get a job because of her address. After being turned down by the interviewer, she asked the front desk clerk why she would be turned down after having all the qualifications and the clerk told her next time find an uptown (upper Kingston) address for your application or resume.
-“I was on every show across Jamaica, several pull ups, blank shots, etc.”
EY: Your lyrics are truly captivating or as they say very “conscious”. What inspires you to write in such a way?
-People, and everyday life inspires me to write the way I do. The innocent mind and faces of children.
When the song was first played by Ron Muchette on Irie FM, I listened and said to myself that it didn’t even fit in, I even chuckled. I was very surprised by peoples’ reaction to the song. In no time it became a hit, I was on every show across Jamaica several pull ups, blank shots, etc.
EY: Tell us about your experience performing overseas, and where would you say is your favorite place to perform (outside of Jamaica)?
–When I perform in some countries it’s just like performing in Jamaica. People singing hard, pull ups etc. I enjoy all my performances and sharing positive energy and vybe with my people all over the world.
-“When I’m on stage I escape into the music.”
EY: Where do you get all this energy or motivation to perform and put on such positive and feel good shows?
–Thank you. Well when I hit the stage I forget about everything and anything that was negative, even if I had a bad moment before walking on stage. When I’m on stage I escape into the music.
EY: The single “August Town” like most of your songs, depicts lyrics based on real-life situations. The song title is also the name of your community, does it tell the story of what is going on there?
–Things like that don’t happen daily in August Town. The song ‘August Town’ was one of the unfortunate incidents that happen now and then. The police claimed they were informed that men were down in the river with guns and instead of searching the river, they just opened fire on a party filled with almost a whole community of people. The song did shed some light on the situation but we continue to fight the never ending battle.
EY: You’re now on the verge of releasing a follow-up to your debut album “The Strong One”. What’s the concept behind the new album, and when will it be released?
–The new album is called ‘Free Expressions’. There is no real concept. It’s simply just like the title says, expressing myself freely. It’s still a fusion of genres and reggae but this time with a bit more reggae.
-“I want my fans to be able to share all the positive energy and strength in the music.”
EY: Your latest singles are amazing, loving the “Free” EP. Will any of these songs make it to the second album?
–Thank you very much. ‘Free’ is definitely on the album as well as the singles: ‘Heartbroken’, ‘Happy Heart’, ‘August Town’ and ‘Mocking Bird’. 🙂 , which will be released on February 8th, 2011.
EY: I learned that one of your desires is to develop a youth-driven foundation. Tell us more about that.
–My dream project is to have a foundation that helps young boys and girls who are unable to afford an education or formal training to become independent, educated, mentally, and spiritually strong adults.
EY: What do you want people to take from your music?
–My music is to uplift the spirit and educate the minds of the youths or people in general. I want my fans to be able to share all the positive energy and strength in the music.