Sun | Feb 17, 2019

Jamaican all star for Grammy's Best Reggae Album

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Protoje in the studio with producer Winta James.
This cover image released by A&M/Interscope Records shows '44/876', a release by Sting and Shaggy.
Etana
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Year after year, it has been lamented that international acts dominate the Billboard Reggae Charts and the Grammy nominations.

However, this year's list of nominees for Best Reggae Album of the Year has completely changed that. Unlike last cycle, which saw only two Jamaicans vying for the award, this year's list is rooted in the land of wood and water. This year also features the first female reggae artiste nominated in the past 20 years in the form of the strong one - Etana.

 

Woman Time Now

 

The predominantly local nominees are: As The World Turns by Black Uhuru; Reggae Forever by Etana; Rebellion Rises by Ziggy Marley; A Matter of Time by Protoje; and 44/876 - the collaborative album by rock legend Sting and dancehall superstar Shaggy.

Etana was touring the west coast of the United States when she heard the news. The powerhouse said that she was proud to say that she had earned her first Grammy accolade on her own terms. Reggae Forever, was the singer's first independently produced submission to the Recording Academy. "I'm just grateful and excited and shocked. This is my first independent project - the first time I submitted through my company, Freemind Music," she told The Sunday Gleaner.

The My Man singer says she is immensely grateful to Gramps Morgan of the Grammy-winning Morgan Heritage. "He has been instrumental. I remember him saying, 'this is the one', and I would always just laugh. And he would says 'just watch me'."

According to Etana, Gramps would revisit recordings, requesting her to make slight changes. "He was coaching the album all the way through," she said.

The songstress intends to bring woman power to the red carpet next year when she attends the ceremony on February 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. She plans to call on her old friend Melissa Dunkley for her red-carpet look. "She usually makes my dresses. I figure this is the time for her to do me one! In any case, it's going to be a woman from Jamaica who makes that dress because we have style and flair. We have it all. My wish is that one day, women will be celebrated as much as the men - in music and reggae. I know the day is soon to come - it's probably already here," she said.

"I'm truly happy to see all the strong females coming in. It makes me feel warm inside. I've seen Lila Ike on one show. she was good, and I think Jah-9 has a very strong spirit and style. We all should be paying attention to her," she added.

 

A Matter of Time

 

Leader of the In. Digg. Nation Collective Protoje has been nominated for his fourth studio album. Though it wasn't something executive producer Winta James was looking for, he says that taking production seriously and doing the best you can, really does pay off. "I feel like Ancient Future ... that was a good album. But that just goes to show it's not what you think. Protoje, he deserves it. he has definitely put in the work to try to make impactful music. These are some of the moments ... . It's not the reason we do it, but it's nice to get the recognition. It definitely feels good."