Chyna Whyne finds roots in Jamaica
Over the last 30 years, singer Chyna Whyne has worked with rock legends such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Seal, and provided vocals for a countless number of pop classics, including Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.
Born and raised in London, England, Whyne moved to Jamaica in 2016, and is currently preparing to release a reggae album, Melanin, next month. Speaking to Rural Xpress recently, the multitalented singer and yoga teacher explained why she turned her back on the UK and relocated to the north coast to establish a healing centre.
"I moved to Jamaica a year ago to reconnect with my roots and be in an environment that suits me better. I love natural living and I'm a sun worshipper. I really like the culture, energy and frequency of Jamaica, so I split my time between my aunt's place in St Mary and my house in St Ann."
Whyne's fascination with the sun and its relationship with people of colour led her to uncover some little-known facts about a very special material. She explained: "Few black people understand or know anything about melanin because it's been hidden from us. If we really understood its importance and power, we wouldn't be as suppressed as we are.
"I do a lot of research and try to develop myself as much as I can, so when I found out about my own melanin I was surprised, because growing up and being dark-skinned, I had an identity crisis, like many black people in England. I wanted to be white and have long hair like the white girls. It's taken me years to wake up and remember myself, and knowing about melanin has helped me to do that.
"My album is called Melanin and I've written a track on there called Melanin, which tackles the skin-bleaching issue, but in a supportive way because I'm not here to dog anybody out. I used to want to bleach my skin, so I know the conditioning and mindset.
"I've managed to get past that now, so when I hear about skin bleaching and people who don't want to identify with their blackness, I get it because I was like that once. All I'm trying to do now is encourage people to open themselves up to something greater, because you may discover that skin bleaching is not really you at all and that you have an amazing power within you."
Whyne's healing centre is an extension of her quest for a healthy lifestyle and a place where she can share the knowledge she has acquired. "I set up the healing centre because as an artist, we have a very hectic and unusual lifestyle, flying through different time zones and not eating well. People think the music and fashion industries are very glamorous, but it's really hard work and a lot of people take a lot of drugs just to keep going.
"There are two ways you can do it: sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll; or you can try and pull up your natural energies and draw on spiritual aspects, and so I chose the latter. We heal with food and I'm a qualified yoga teacher, so the idea is to help people get back to their centre emotionally, physically and spirituality."
For more info about Whyne's healing centre and new album, call 283 3260 or visit www.chynawhyne.com.