How Musician Etana is Surviving the Quarantine | BHL’s Quarantine Conversations

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Episode Description:

Singer, songwriter, and humanitarian Etana is a powerhouse vocalist and Grammy Award, nominee. More than a decade after her debut as a reggae artist, she is now a recognized and respected entertainer in her native Jamaica and becoming more famous worldwide. Born Shauna McKenzie, the young talent migrated to the United States for the opportunity and briefly pursued a pop music career before rediscovering her roots as an adult and adopting the moniker Etana, “The Strong One” in Swahili. The return home spurred the evolution of her sound and is evident in her body of work expressed as the fusion of folk, soul, jazz, and reggae. Etana taps into the likes of Marcia Griffiths, Etta James, and Miriam Makeba for harnessing a deeply emotional sound and she is the modern embodiment of their influence. In 2008 Etana debuted the album The Strong One featuring various musicians and producers. The project reached the #12 spot on the Reggae Billboard chart, and consecutively released singles released by VP Records helped to introduce the spirited singer to the world. Lyrical hits “Warrior Love” and “I Am Not Afraid” made a lasting impression, as did “Free” and “Happy Heart” from the second album Free Expressions, notably a repeat Reggae Billboard chart climber. Not to be outdone, she released her fourth album I Rise to much acclaim, nabbing the #1 spot on the iconic chart, marking the first female artist out of Jamaica to earn such a designation seventeen years. Fast forward to 2018, Etana was nominated for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Reggae Forever in the Best Reggae Album category. The project was co-produced by Etana and the distinction by The Recording Academy marked the first time in over twenty years that a woman was designated that bracket. In 2019 she released the eight-track EP Dimensions, her latest full-length album Gemini is scheduled for a Summer 2020 debut, with multiple singles dropping leading up to the main event.

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