Friday, September 18, 2009

Etana spreads her wings

The year 2008 was the 'Year of Etana' as the reggae songstress made her mark with a string of hit songs and, not surprisingly, scooped up more than an armful of awards at various reggae awards shows inside and outside of Jamaica.

With smash singles like Wrong Address, Roots, Warrior Love and a critically acclaimed 13-track CDThe Strong One, the singer has unflinchingly flexed her musical muscles, increasing her appeal with every note she belted out.

Fast track to 2009 and Etana has built on that solid foundation. "Whereas last year I did a lot of local shows and a few Caribbean gigs, this year I have spread my wings, and it has really been just wonderful. I have visited places I have only dreamt of," she confessed.

She told Splash that she had an eye-opening experience when she accompanied reggae greats The Abyssinians on a North American tour during June and July.

"For me it was mainly promotional, so I wasn't expecting that level of familiarity with my songs. But the fans really surprised me," she said, sounding pleased.

Her journeys have taken her to the mountains of Montana and the hills of Utah and into Sierra Nevada. And in between she zipped off to Holland for a performance, after which she caught up back with her touring party. She says that while all the shows were special, for her the most memorable would perhaps be the concert in Vancouver Island.

The fact that there was one black man in the crowd of approximately 8,000 was special, but for Etana, 'the moment' was when she started to sing and the crowd just began screaming frantically.

"I was shocked, perplexed, happy and filled with goose bumps all at the same time," she recalled. "At one point I had to turn around and look to see if some celebrity had walked up on stage behind me and the crowd was reacting to that person," she confessed, convulsed with laughter.

But such is the power of her music, the message of which hasn't changed with her much-publicised Christian baptism.

"My music hasn't changed and it is also a personal statement," she said calmly. "I sing about themes to do with life and what affects us as women, as people. Too many persons have confusing notions of religion and what should and shouldn't be. But, at the end of the day, there is just one God and there will only be one God. When it comes to religion, we really don't need any China Wall," Etana declared.

Possessing a tranquil spirit and a ready laugh, Etana, nonetheless demands to be taken seriously, especially in this male-dominated reggae music business where females have, in the past, been viewed as little more than chattels.

"As a singer, I can't confine myself to knowing about the stage and production side of the business only. This year, I have learnt so much about the business side of the business. and it has all been firsthand experience," she explained.

Now working on a second album, the singer has released new singles, Free, produced by Kemar 'Flava' McGregor for his No Doubt label, and Happy Hearts on Free Mind Music. The music videos for both singles are also in the making.

Source: The Jamaica Observer

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