This summer, starting in June, two of reggae’s modern women artists with Etana and Anuhea will come together for their Queens of the Islands tour. With a scene dominated by all male bands and artists, it’s refreshing to see Anuhea of Hawaii and Etana of Jamaica embark on a island influenced journey.
The Queens of the Islands tour will be on the west coast, with dates as of this writing, from June 3rd to Jun 14th hitting CA, NV, WA, OR and AZ. More dates are expected to be added between now and June. There aren’t many all female reggae tours happening within the scene and we hope this is one that gains momentum for a national tour. If you’re not familiar, lets get to know each artist.
Shauna McKenzie, aka Etana, dropped her fourth studio album, I Rise on Oct. 28th, 2014 which later hit No. 1 on the US Reggae Billboard charts. Etana was born in Jamaica and moved to South Florida in the early 90s. After college, she joined an all-female vocal group called Gift. She chose not to conform to the music industry’s skimpy standards and moved back home to Kingston, to focus on producing music based on her Rastafarian spirituality and love of Jamaica. Back home she performed background vocals for Richie Spice and Fifth Element and she wrote her first single “Wrong Address” while in studio with some of the band’s musicians. This single reached #1 on several Jamaican charts and was included in her first album The Strong One in 2008.
Rylee Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins, aka Anuhea, is a self-taught guitarist and song-writer born on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Anuhea blends Pop, Reggae and R&B with engaging conscious lyrics to create a style truly her own. Her debut album Anuhea released in April of 2009. It shot to #7 on the iTunes Pop Charts, #4 on R&B, and #3 on the World/Reggae Billboard Charts and multiple singles became commercial successes on Hawaii and AAA national radio. Anuhea began showcasing her talents while boarding at Hawaii’s famous Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu. She’s released 2 studio albums, 2 live albums and has worked with, contributing guest vocals for the likes of SOJA, J Boog, Tarrus Riley, The Green and more.
Anuhea just released her version of “Sweet Thing” by Chaka Kahn for her Kickstarter backers, backing a new and upcoming new album expected to drop sometime this year. She has another new (and unreleased) song titled “Walk On Water” and both songs are expected to be performed live on the upcoming tour with Etana.
With a title like Queens of the Islands to market a tour, one had to wonder if a collaboration between the two island-queens was imminent. When I reached out to Anuhea, her agent, Ira Sweetwine informed The Pier: “Both managers and the artists are beginning discussions now about recording a track together and then releasing prior to the tour and of course performing together on stage. We hope the artists will collaborate even more once the tour hits – Definitely expect surprises!”
Ira, who’s an agent for both artists and president for Sweetwine Entertainment Group, came up with the tour idea and name and is now booking the shows. Ira elaborated more on her idea: “It dawned on me that offering a tour driven by 2 very strong, positive and talented women, both originating from different islands, would be a cross-cultural show not to miss. Not to mention both artists are quite involved in their communities and beyond with their works supporting children, humanitarian causes and so forth. I personally support the empowerment of women in the arts, the positive message of each of these artists and am really happy to see this tour come together and hopefully inspire all people they touch. Instead of simply saying Anuhea & Etana, I decided to name the tour something catchy and to attract a wide variety of music fans, hence the name: ‘Queens Of The Islands Tour.'”
There you have it – Etana’s tour dates are listed below that include the June Queens of the Islands dates. Keep checking back as more dates will continue to be added.
Watch: Etana – “Reggae”
Watch: Anuhea – “Mr Mellow”