Tag Archives: Musician

I Admire: Empress Etana

Etana Richest Girl (Official Music video)There are many female artists I look up to in the industry. But if I have to choose one, it would easily be Etana.


Etana means The Strong One in Kiswahili and this is no doubt one strong inspirational woman. And I don’t use that word lightly. She was born Shauna McKenzie and she’s from August Town, Jamaica. She grew up in Florida and wanted to become a nurse, but she instead joined a female vocal group called Gift, signed to Universal, which she was part of for a few years.


But she didn’t like what the industry had presented to her and decided that if these were the terms of being a musician, she’d rather do something else. So she moved to Jamaica to start an internet café.


But as she was in the establishing phase of that business, she got word that the legendary Richie Spice was having auditions for new backup singers. She went along and not surprisingly, she got picked to back up for him on his Europe and North America tour.


While working with Richie Spice, she decided that she again wanted to do music, but on her own terms. Today she has released numerous singles and 4 fantastic albums. The strong one, Free Expressions, Better tomorrow and I Rise.


Why I find Etana so inspiring is not just because of her beautiful voice that never fails to move me. Her story is in a few ways similar to mine. At least in the fact that she wanted to give up music altogether and concentrate on something different. But she somehow got back into it. It goes to show that if you are created for the purpose of doing music, you will end up doing music, no matter what. Just look at Tina Turner who got big in her 60s.


But a more important reason why I love Etana so much is because her songs always speak to me on some level. And she is very diverse in her lyrics. She talks about everything from being unfaithful as a woman, to poverty, spirituality, injustice, Being a black woman, everyday life and true love. She has inspired me so much and will no doubt continue to do so.


It was hard to choose which of her many brilliant songs to share with you. But I chose richest girl from her 2014 album I Rise because the lyrics is a good reminder of what’s precious in life. You’ll know what I mean. Just sit back and listen.

Age has got nothing to do With it

Does age really matter?
When I was 18, I had it all planned. I was going to start recording music, become a great singer, achieve global fame and become an icon for all young women around the world. Whilst doing all that, I was going to get my degree. A bA and a master. I was then going to get married and have my first baby after graduating and all this before I was 25. Oh and somewhere in all of this, I was going to get my first novel published and it was going to become a NY Times best seller.
I don’t know about you, but just writing that list, I felt my blood pressure skyrocket and my breath come out in gasps. LOL

Needless to say, I am not where I wanted myself to be at 18. But I’m not disappointed. In fact I’m quite ok with it.

On bad days it’s hard not to send envious thoughts to successful business women who have their successful businesses and their own families before they’re 30. Or to people who achieve global recognition in their teens or early 20s for a great album, book or other good deed.

But on good days and that’s most days for me, I am grateful things didn’t turn out like 18-years-old me would have wanted them too.

First of all, I didn’t know Afrobeat at 18. I supposed back then I wanted to do pop music, whatever that meant. I wanted to be like avril Lavigne or Rihanna. But does the world need a copy of those?

As for my novel, I couldn’t have written one that young. I tried, but it wasn’t the right time for me to do it. You need to be in a certain state of mind to manage to undertake such a big project. Sure, I had a lot of stories bubbling in my head and I tried to put them down on paper, but I didn’t have the patience, and more importantly, the right story in my head to keep me glued to my writing.

As for being globally famous at a really young age, it may not be a bad thing, but you only need to go to social media to see what kind of pressure teen music stars are under. I also know that am in a better position to take criticism now than when I was younger. Then, I would have cried if someone said they didn’t like address I war in a video. Now, I’m happy because nobody at least has yet questioned my vocal abilities.

I wish things had happened for me earlier. But having gone through two cycles of terminally ill parents, I had to put my life on hold for five years. Not that I never had fun, but I could not really do what I wanted and feel relaxed about it, because at any time I could be called to a death bed.

But now I am free. I didn’t get my first hit until I was in my late 20s, but I am doing the genre of music I really like and I’m not a copy of anybody else in the industry. My voice and confidence is also mature so I can handle bad or unconstructive criticism much better as well as the good and constructive one.

I have not yet published my first novel, but I have improved and upgraded the story line of the mid-summer serial I published on this blog and I’m soon ready to give it to an agent. And now that I have managed to sit down and write a full length novel, I have more stories itching to come out.

I will soon have a family. No, I’m not pregnant yet, or have a wedding ring on my finger, but it will come soon. I just know it.And I have started my own business. I even have two degrees. So even though I didn’t do things how Linn 18 wanted, I’ve still done them and I’m in the process of completing the rest.

It shouldn’t matter how old you are when you complete your goals as long as you fulfill what you want for yourself. And just because you start young, doesn’t mean you’ll be more successful than if you achieve it when you’re older. Things just happen differently for all of us and for different reasons.

So, if you’re 63 and dream of becoming a body builder, or 80 and want to learn Russian, it’s not too late. It only is too late if you say so.