JerkFest is held at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, celebrating jerk cuisine, West Indian culture and music. An amazing lineup of performers is expected this year and one reggae artist cannot wait to get on stage.
Shauna McKenzie, known onstage as Etana, will be performing for the third time in Canada and is excited to share her music with Torontonians again.
In the early years of her career, Etana had joined a female vocal group which led her to sign with Universal Records. After a while, the pressure of conforming to the usual stereotypes of female musicians was just too much. She decided to venture out on her own. The leap led to her fully embracing a natural lifestyle.
“Being natural means that you are able to let your hair down, not have to have a weave or extensions your whole life. I am not saying that we can’t or shouldn’t be able to pretty up and do all the things we like to do as women but having to live in it just to be accepted, that’s kind of hard and a lot of us feel the need or pressure to do so on a daily basis,” Etana expressed.
Over the last few years the natural movement has empowered women around the world via social media. Since Etana decided to go natural, she finds it inspiring that other women are doing the very same.
“Based on all the rules in life and the views/beliefs that people have, It’s amazing for women to catch on to the natural movement. When women start embracing their natural selves, it is truly amazing because they are able to find growth within self-appreciation and self-love. That to me, is a huge deal,” said Etana.
The natural movement also inspired Etana to write her new single ‘The Way I Are’.
“A lot of people expect me to dress up the same way, look the same way, even when I’m just going to the store. When I’m home and I’m not on stage, I’m just me, without the makeup, without all the extra stuff—I’m dressed down with flip flops and a t-shirt. I think a lot of women feel the pressure to look their best all the time and The Way I Are is sending the message that we should be loved just the way we are,” Etana said.
Over the last eight years of Etana’s music career, she has had three changes in management due to searching for a relationship built on wholehearted trust. Currently her husband, Andre Morris, is her manager and she says it has been the most enjoyable experience for the both of them. As of right now, Etana is writing new singles and is focused on preparing for her upcoming tour before she settles down in September to write her next album.
“I am sure my fans are wondering what else I am going to come up with because my music is not the same or not what they would usually expect. I have evolved lyrically, I think I have gotten better, deeper, stronger based on experience. Vocally I believe I have grown because I am a lot less shy and I no longer worry about what other people think or what they believe I should sing about. I feel confident to be myself, much more now than I was ever able to be before. And I am excited for what’s to come,” Etana said.