Jamaica | Mar 10, 2023

5 things to know about Etana the ‘Strong One’

Mikala Johnson

Mikala Johnson / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There is no denying that Jamaican songstress Etana has cemented her place in the reggae industry since her breakout hit, Wrong Address, back in 2008.

Etana was born Shauna McKenzie in Kingston, in 1984. She grew up in the eastern St Andrew community of August Town as the only girl among a mostly male family.

Her voice and talents as a singer were recognised at a tender age and she enjoyed singing while growing up.

In 1992, Etana and her family moved to Florida in the United States. During this time her love for music grew even fonder.

Since returning home in 2005 and entering the music industry, Etana has maintained a level of musical excellence that has allowed her to remain as one of the top female reggae artistes in the industry.

Etana’s debut album, The Strong One, was released in 2008 and contains three hit singles, including the popular Wrong Address. The album, which received international acclaim, introduced Etana to the world.

In 2018, Etana secured a place in the musical history books when she became the first female artiste to be nominated in the ‘Best Reggae Album’ category in over 20 years.

With countless hits to her name, the two-time Grammy-nominated reggae artiste continues to please fans with her vocals.

Here are five things you might not have known about the ‘Strong One’.

She’s not afraid

Etana dropped out of college to pursuit her dreams of becoming a musician. In 2000, while pursuing a Nursing Degree at the Broward Community College in Florida, the artiste decided to drop out of school to focus on music.

The big buss?

After quitting college, Etana auditioned and landed a slot in the girl group, GIFT, which was a brainchild of Universal Records.  As fate had it, she did not enjoy dressing in provocative attire to fit the direction of the all-female group.

As a result of this, after putting in a little time, Etana walked away from music completely and returned to Jamaica with the intention to open a cafe.

Etana the backup singer

Before her solo debut, Etana took on many gigs, one of which was singing as a backup artiste. The songstress traveled the world working as a backup singer for reggae artiste Richie Spice for a little over a year.

She had doubts

The entertainer is known as a singer/songwriter who has produced positive and relatable music over the years. However, there was a one point in her career where she was scared to write songs, not that she didn’t have the skills, but because she feared the reactions it would receive.

Nature lover

Etana has said time and again that she has a deep love for nature. The hills, mountains, valley and the water are some of the things she enjoys. It should therefore come as no surprise that her favourite place to unwind is at home in the hills or by the river.


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