Etana The Strong One

Etana The Strong One - Born Shauna McKenzie, and the only girl in a family of boys, Etana grew up in August Town. Her vocal talent was discovered when she was eight years old and was overheard singing along to a 1991 hit by the group Air Supply.

She migrated to the United States in 1992 and attended Broward Community College with the intention of becoming a registered nurse.

Etana The Strong One

Following her decision to prematurely exit college in 2000, Etana joined a female vocal group named Gift. At the time Universal Records was interested in their music so Etana reluctantly agreed to wear the skimpy outfits dictated by the music industry’s pervasive stereotyping of female artists; then one day, she could no longer conform.

Etana returned to her Kingston birthplace and focused on making music that reflected her embracement of Rastafari principles, which include a royal representation of women, adhering to a natural lifestyle, and an acknowledgment of the teachings of Marcus Garvey and Emperor Haile Selassie I. 

That opportunity arrived in 2005 when a friend brought her to Kingston's Fifth Element Records, who were then enjoying success with Richie Spice's single "Earth A Run Red" and his album Spice In Your Life. Etana successfully auditioned to become one of Spice's vocalists on his tour of Europe and North America.

”I really loved the energy of Richie and the band,” says Etana. Fatefully, Etana started to create a buzz as a background vocalist — so much so that 5th Element management encouraged Etana to make a solo record.

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