Etana - The new sound of the roots reggae genre


By: Kemesha Bolton

etana_edit.jpgDown to earth, spirited and real are just some of the words that can be used to describe Etana. Introduced to music as a child by her late aunt, Etana would be called up to sing with her at every family wedding and or funeral. After growing older she developed a love for music and auditioned for an all girls rock group in America where she lived at the time. She was chosen and the dream seemed to be on its way to fulfillment.

The group met and Etana was told she had to braid or perm her hair; adamant that she would not perm, she agreed to the braiding. This was not the end as she was also asked to make her skirts shorter and blouses tighter. For her dreams, she complied, but the straw that broke the camel's back came in the form of an inappropriate move by a cameraman during a video shoot in which Etana was clad in pink Victoria Secret Lingerie.

Although she initially agreed to wear the costume, the cameraman's actions forced Etana to ask herself, "Is this what I really want," and the answer was, "No." So she left the group. And as for the present state of her locks, she was very open with YardFlex explaining that she was persuaded by her management to get it done professionally but by the next day pulled it out, "I love myself and I want to feel comfortable and it is my decision to let it grow naturally," she stated.

After leaving the American group Etana decided to start a business in Jamaica with a friend, but by the time she got to Jamaica the friend had other plans for her and with his connections he got an audition with Fifth Element Records and the rest is history.

Etana started out at Fifth Element doing back up for Richie Spice, but her extra-ordinary talent was roaring to be unleashed. This finally came in the latter part 2005 when she released her first single "Wrong Address" that received daily rotation on radio and television stations. Etana says it is one of her favorite songs from her repertoire. The song propelled her career and other singles like: "Money," "Roots" and "Warrior Love" came next. She is currently signed to VP Records and in five years hopes to have at least two albums out, with the tours that go along with it. Etana also has her sights on developing her own clothing line. She is aware that all this will take "A whole heap of hard work."

She has grown tremendously over the past 3 years and is considered to be one of the new sounds in the roots reggae genre. Humbled by this, Etana encourages new and upcoming artistes - especially females when she says, "It's not going to be easy, but eventually it pays off, you will need self confidence, perseverance and strength." She also urges newcomers in reggae, to love who they are, being careful not to belittle themselves or their souls, because they owe nobody anything and most importantly she says they should keep themselves together. Etana feels blessed and privileged and is thankful for the positive response from people all over the world.

Having performed in Africa, Europe and North America, Etana said she believes that reggae music is like food to the people and she deems herself very privileged to be a part of such a legacy.

Etana -the strong one is destined for greatness and her melodious voice keeps us tuned in to her always.