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The Strong One

Etana

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Album Review

Etana's embrace of roots reggae came in the wake of her abrupt departure from a U.S.-based female vocal group in which she was expected to dress and act in ways that she found inappropriate and immodest. Returning to her home outside of Kingston, Jamaica, she adopted Rastafarianism and eventually immersed herself in a solo career. Her debut album is an impressive set of modern roots compositions that nicely balances smooth production, danceable beats, conscious lyrics, and startlingly beautiful singing. She has very quickly attracted top-notch help: the backing musicians on The Strong One include Sly Dunbar, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn, and Dalton Browne, among other A-list session men, and if the sound is occasionally just a little bit on the slick side, there's no denying the quality of both her singing and songwriting. Highlights include the sharply arranged and soca-flavored "Wasting My Time" (on which she makes a fine singjay turn), the gorgeous "Roots" (on which she shows off a surprisingly wide vocal range), and the unabashedly romantic "Closer" (on which she demonstrates that her focus isn't entirely otherworldly). An impressive debut from a major talent.

Biography

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

While Etana's vintage style of socially conscious reggae seems like a reaction to all the sex and violence in dancehall reggae, her journey back to roots music began as a reaction to the hedonistic side of R&B. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Etana — a Swahili name for "the strong one" —was still known as Shauna McKenzie and living in Florida when she left the nursing program she was attending at college to join the R&B group Gift. Signed to a major label, the band was shooting its...
Full bio
The Strong One, Etana
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  • 10,99 €
  • Genres: Reggae, Music
  • Released: 30 March 2009

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