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Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter Wayna possesses a voice that is as sweet and pure as it is honest and passionate. This young talent’s love for music started as a child, when she starred in theater productions like “Annie,” and “Damn Yankees” and toured with a children’s musical review company. Wayna went on to hone her vocal talents as a young adult by absorbing the works of her favorite artists, including Minnie Riperton, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway. While in college, Wayna was crowned Miss Black Unity of the University of Maryland in 1995, earning a one year tuition scholarship and special honors for “Best Talent” and “Best Response to Question” at the 17th annual pageant. The following year, she founded a gospel quartet and performed with the group at the World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, where they placed as finalists in the Amateur Night competition. She traveled with the critically acclaimed University of Maryland Gospel Choir and regularly performed at churches and gospel showcases throughout the East coast. After earning a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and Speech Communication from the University of Maryland, Waynabegan her professional career as a Writer in the White House for the Clinton administration. But soon, the pull to realize her dream as a recording artist would prove too great. She left to concentrate on her music full-time. Since then, Wayna has collaborated with legendary studio icon/producer Bill Laswell, with critically and comercially hailed producer Eran Tabib, Jive Records producer, Veit Renn, and former Touch of Jazz standout, Kev Brown. She is a featured vocalist/co-writer on on the Sly and Robbie album, Version Born released by Palm Pictures and also featuring contributions from Killah Priest, Black Thought, and N’dea Davenport. She’s also served as a featured vocalist and writer on a number of independent projects for artists, including W. Ellington Felton, Kenn Starr, Kev Brown, Cy Young, and Tamara Wellons. Wayna received a Grammy nomination in the "Best Urban/Alternative Performance" Category in 2009, for her remake, "Lovin You" featuring Kokayi. "The Expats" is the third and latest LP from this innovative artist and represents a new and daring departure from her previous work. The project is named after its Toronto-based backing band and production team hailing from various parts of the world -- Ethiopia to Japan, Isreal to India, Germany to Jamaica. Drawing from diverse musical influences, Wayna and the Expats create a unique blend of African and Reggae-inspired soul, fused with classic and alternative rock -- Sade and the Police meets Lauryn Hill and Radiohead. This new sound, which Wayna calls “world soul” was the result of a creative journey, jamming, writing and recording with “the Expats” in Toronto over the past 2 years.
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