It has been said that Grammy-nominated, Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter, Wayna possesses a voice as pure as it is passionate. Stevie Wonder says “she’s incredible.” Essence Magazine says “Wayna is one to watch,” and Billboard Magazine calls her “a standout on the indie front.” With two Billboard chart-topping singles from her sophomore LP, Higher Ground, and a coveted Grammy nomination in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance Category for her remake, “Lovin You (Music)” featuring Kokayi, Wayna’s star is on the rise.
“The Expats” is the third and latest LP from this innovative artist, and the Washington Post calls it “brilliant.” The project — distributed by Yebo Music and mixed by multi-Grammy award-winning engineer Russ Elevado — is named after its Toronto-based backing band and production team, which hails from various parts of the world. Drawing from diverse musical and cultural influences, Wayna and the Expats create a unique blend of African and Reggae-inspired R&B, fused with classic and alternative rock — Sade and the Police meets Lauryn Hill and Radiohead.
Having shared a stage with luminaries like Common, the Roots, Chuck Brown, and Frankie Beverly and Maze, Wayna is a magnetic live performer who actively engages her listener. In 2014, audiences in venues across the US — from the Lincoln Center to the Kennedy Center, from Essence Fest to the Howard Theatre, from the Blue Note to the Apollo — were taken by Wayna’s energetic and passionate live show. “I want my music to express how I and every one of us are unique and to celebrate those differences unapologetically, ” she says. “I hope when people hear it or experience it live, they feel more free and empowered to be themselves. That’s the goal.”