Etana Connects Soul to Soul with Her Fans from Near and Far with Her Latest Album, “Reggae Forever”

This visit to New York was a special one for Etana, Shauna McKenzie Morris. She delivered a stellar performance at Music for Life on Saturday, May 5, 2018, giving fans a mini concert, which included a special tribute to Bob Marley and Richie Spice (Etana was a Background Singer for Spice, prior to her solo career). More After The Jump…

At 8P on Tuesday, Music Industry and Media Personalities headed over to E and C studios, for the “Reggae Forever” Album Launch presented by Spoon-fed Entertainment and Large Up Magazine. The ambiance of the venue was one to admire, with a front central stage and two tier lounge, live bar and red lighting. Deejay Gravy (Musician, Dee Jay and Publisher of Large Up Magazine) warmed up the crowd with reggae and dancehall from the 90’s to present.

However, the music was not loud or overbearing for conversations. There were conversations of Etana topping the Billboard Best Reggae Album Chart, as she was the first woman to achieve this in 17 years. Some people mentioning, she may be a Grammy hopeful for 2019. Others were pessimistic, stating that the last woman to be even nominated was Sister Carol  way back in 1996 for Lyrically Potent and to date there have been no female winners of a Grammy in the Best Reggae Album category . These conversations brought to realization, the difficult road for woman in music, particularly in the reggae genre. It also heightened the pertinence of  Etana’s latest body of work, topping the Billboard chart, for two consecutive weeks.

Why This Album Is Topping the Chart?

Etana made a bold move, especially as a female artist, when she left one of Reggae’s largest record labels, VP Records and decided to executively produce her fifth studio album, with her husband, Andre Morris. The album was then distributed by independent record label, Tad’s International Records. This allowed her to be “Free,” fan favorite on “Reggae Forever,” written with Songwriter, Jesse Adelman. Adelman wrote three songs in collaboration with Etana for this album, “Free,” “Soldier,” and “Fighting for Nothing.”

“I met Etana in 2011, I was in a band at the time and a new songwriter at VP. We worked on “I Rise,” so when she contacted me last spring about this new project, I flew out to Kingston within the next few days. Etana is in general, is a person that believes that every one is the same underneath, she has so much love for everyone. It was easy to come together and come up with melodies, core progressions because she is already so inspired. The song “Free” came about when she missed her flight to Kingston, and then came over on a roll over flight. She called me and said “Now I’m Free,” and that was the birth of that tune. “Fighting for Nothing” and “Soldier” are songs that reflect her view of what’s happening around her and that she is a soldier for love.” Jesse Adelman

Etana worked with young producers, such as Rymshot and  J-Vibe, as well as C. Danny Breakenridge, a veteran producer at Tad’s Records and sought Clive Hunt for advising when it came to this album ‘s reworking process. Stepping out on faith, working with new and established producers, helped her to remove all fears in her creative process and connect with fans in a conversational tone, with transparency.

Acoustic Performance 

Brian Greenspoon of Spoon Fed Entertainment excited the crowd, when he brought Etana to the stage. Etana was joined on stage by Guitarist, Almando “El Capo” Douglas. She gave an electrifying performance of “Free,” followed by “Fighting for Nothing” and “Soldier,” inviting Songwriter, Jesse Adelman to join her on stage, for the latter two songs.

Then she sang “6 Minutes and 21 seconds” and the crowded got a little rowdy, with lots of exotic whistles.

Her collaborations with other reggae artists, including“Spread Love’ with Tanya Stephens and “My Man” with Tarrus Riley were up next.

“A lot of Dee Jays don’t even want to say the title of this song, “My Man” but come to find out it was written by a Man. Tarrus Riley is so creative, “The Melody Man.”  Dee Jays if you are sure of yourself and sexuality, you can say the title.” “All of my loving is for you” and she sang the rest of the lyrics for “My Man.” 

All of my loving is for you

“Tanya Stephens really walked me through the lyrics of Spread Love. I look up to her so much.  It is a powerful message because that is what we all need to do, spread love and lift one another up!” Etana then moved the crowd with her beautiful vocals and empowering lyrics.

It is a powerful message because that is what we all need to do, spread love and lift one another up!

Etana sing the songs from her Billboard Number 1,  “Reggae Forever” album with heart and soul

After singing the aforementioned tunes, Etana delivered an unexpected yet poignant speech:

“I just want to say something. You know when I was starting out people told me if I am going to sing Reggae, then I would have to wear my hair in locs. I would also have to make it “Pop” as a woman with big jewelry and short skirts. But I was always of the mindset that you have to be around me to feel me and get to know me and when you do, none of that matters or will matter. I’m following my heart, if my heart says, its ok. When I sit in the stillness of silence, I can see what I need to see. You don’t have to look like a celebrity. I just need to connect, heart to heart. Every poor man look pon me and you know what, they accept me for who I am and I accept them too. We are one, no one is better than anyone else. We are together in this life journey. Thank you for accepting me just as I am. I appreciate you all here, I appreciate those who are listening, talking, buying and supporting my music. I put my soul into this project and I hope you can feel me.” –Etana

I’m following my heart, if my heart says, its ok. When I sit in the stillness of silence, I can see what I need to see. 

Honorable Mentions who supported Etana’s big night, included: Courtney Jr. Panton and Tahir Panton of New Kingston Band, Mortei Korley – Singer and Creative Director, Large Up, Singer-Keishera James, Singer- Keisha Martin, Model Kesha Blackwood, Sharon Gordon- Radio Host, Journalist for the Jamaica Gleaner, Co-Founder of Coalition to Perserve Reggae and Patricia Meschino- renowned Journalist from Billboard Magazine.

 Tahir Panton and Courtney Panton of New Kingston Band

Etana ended her epic acoustic performance by singing fan favorites including smash hit “I Am Not Afraid’ and ended her live acoustic performance with “I Rise.” The latter, the title track, for the same named album, which topped the Billboard Charts in 2014.

Reggae Forever on Apple Music

 

Photographs by Roland Hyde

Written By: Angel Love @LoveDeepAngel

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