Zhayna runs away with first release - Backup finishing music degree; targeting solo success
For many in the entertainment industry, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been a global intermission, marked by the rise of virtual engagements. For up-and-coming singer and songwriter Zhayna, the lockdown of the industry has been a fruitful period, one she has taken as an opportunity to run full speed into her solo career.
The backup vocalist for Grammy Award-winning artiste Koffee released her first single and video, Runaway, last Friday. The haunting melody which opens with a poignant "I'm afraid to go outside" tackles a number of serious issues.
"The concept of Runaway emerged out of my own experience of being in quarantine and not being able to physically perform, and feel the passion of being on stage. I figured that many persons could relate to feeling like they want to run away from their current circumstances, so I decided to write about it," the 25-year-old said.
Runaway features a kaleidoscope of genres to get the listeners feeling a mixture of emotions. The song commences with the infectious beat of Nyabinghi drums which evolve into a subtle reggae vibe with snippets of rock and dub being infused towards the end. The multiplicity of genres is a product of the musical styling of Kerron 'Kalex' Alexander, Tara Johnson and Zhayna, who co-produced the song.
"With such a powerful, relatable topic, we knew we had to put visuals to the track. The imagery of being home alone with one's thoughts, of fighting causes such as Black Lives Matter globally, and even our own crime situation in Jamaica are very evident in the video," said Zhayna.
With little or no avenues to tour and perform on physical stages, Zhayna was the opening act for the Uppsala Reggae Jam Festival, which was streamed live from Jamaica to audiences across Europe in August.
"I know that this is a very difficult period for all of us in the creative industry globally, but I encourage up-and-coming artistes like myself to create opportunities within this crisis. After all, some of our favourite reggae songs were created out of harsh economic and volatile times, and I think Runaway may be one of those songs," she shared with a smile.
While she targets solo success, Zhayna hopes to finish her degree in jazz and popular music at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, while still making appearances with Koffee. Runaway is just the beginning.
Get to know Zhayna
1. What's the first thing you plan to do after the pandemic?
Take a trip to the river, my favourite place to be.
2. What is your most-used emoji?
3. What skill do you think everyone should have?
The ability to know when to make decisions based on love or logic.
4. What are you reading right now?
The Book of the Internet
5. If you had to play one album forever, which one would it be?
Daniel Caesar - Case Study 01
6. What is your favourite time of the day, and why?
Night-time because it's the time my brain calms down after all the hustle and bustle throughout the day and I get to relax and carefully reflect on all that has happened and what my next plan is.