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 By Richard Johnson—-

 Recording artist and entrepreneur Etana models one of her own designs.

SHE burst onto the music scene in 2007. Her biting lyrics, endearing vocals and pleasing personality have made Etana a household name in Jamaica.

Tracks such as Wrong Address, Warrior Love, Jah Blessings, Roots, Don’t Forget and I Am Not Afraid made her 2008 debut album The Strong One a must-have. It’s been eight years and the artiste born Shauna McKenzie continues to make music, but along the way the entrepreneurial fire has raged inside her, creating another income stream.

“Etana is a brand… it’s not just the music, it’s everything that comes with the artist. Merchandising is a key part of being an artist, it keeps your fan base connected to you… it’s as though they have a piece of you,” she told Splash.

To this end, for the past three years, Etana has pushed T-Shirts under the Raw Soul label as well as a line of skirts and hand-made soaps. “The T-shirts came naturally.

The fans would buy a CD and a T-Shirt so I wanted something that was comfortable, well cut with a great fit for both men and women. The skirts came later as I kept getting the questions: ‘Where you buy this skirt? Who made it? How can I get this fabric’? So I decided to go into it,” she said.

Her commercial leap is not without conscience. Etana is very hands-on with regard to her skirts; she works on the design, sources fabric and ensures quality control, but she leaves the construction of the garments to capable hands.

“There are many young girls who after leaving high school are unemployed, without certification or anything, but are able to sew really well.



So these young girls make the skirts… it’s a form of women supporting other women,” she explained. She says her skirts cater to all.

“I love skirts that are long and flowing with lots of movement and these are readily available. But I recognise that there are persons who want something that is more fitted, tight or flirty and my line includes those too,” said Etana.

As an artist on the go, she was constantly searching for skin-care products that would keep her healthy and glowing during weeks of touring.

This led her to another area of merchandise — A line of soaps which are made of hemp, aloe, sorrel and moringa. The products are sold at her shows but her primary point of sale is on-line. The on-line store is currently being revamped, but should be back in mid-May to showcase the summer 2015 collection.


Musically, Etana is still riding the wave of her fourth studio album I Rise which was released in November last year. It topped the Billboard Reggae Album chart. “I am really pleased with what this album has been going. I worked with producer Clive Hunt and that was indeed special as he loves the music, and I have grown lyrically, vocally and spiritually and that is reflected in the album.”

She is currently preparing for a tour of the United States which runs from May 15 to June 20 with 30 stops. There is a short break before she heads across the Atlantic for 15 gigs in the United Kingdom and Europe from July 25 to August 31.

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