She has since landed a deal with VP Records and is now playing shows to support her debut release.
"I just never expected Jamaica to take to my music," Etana says. "In Jamaica, there were one or two females that weren't selling sex or showing their ass to get somewhere."
Etana's fully clothed and still beautiful.
Etana performs Sunday, May 25, as part of the Best of the Best concert at Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Gates open at 1 p.m.; $48-$100. Call 305-438-9488, or visit www.bestofthebestconcert.com.
Right now, she's the Jamaican equivalent of an India.Arie. Her lyrics are a refreshing push against the mainstream, and the musicianship behind them is strong and original enough that her songs can't be denied.
The song "Jah Chariot," which was worked and reworked by famed Jamaican band leader Dean Fraser, could be the best tune on the album. But there are several other cuts like "I Am Not Afraid" and "Warrior Love" that are conscious yet radio-friendly.
"Sometimes it's still surprising, and I can't believe that people gravitate to the music and accept the changes that I've made," she says. "It's overwhelming, but I appreciate all the love and support that people are showing me."