Wayna: Growing & Inspiring

Monday, 13 January 2014 17:58 Written by  Iya Bakare

How do artists stay motivated and where do they dig to find their inspiration? They face the pressures to stay at the pinnacle of their careers and to surpass each accomplishment with another one or two. R&B singer Wayna is no exception to the rule as she worked on her most recent project, The Expats, after coming off of a Grammy nomination.

“I suffered from writer’s block and wasn’t inspired, but I wanted to do something unique and had to ask ‘Who am I as an artist? What is the story I want to tell?’” the songwriter said.

Born in Ethiopia, the artist moved to the United States when she was three years old. Growing up with a traditional Ethiopian mother in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C., Wayna drew from her roots as one of her sources of inspiration for her latest work. A trip to Toronto where she jammed and wrote for several months spawned a new creative process for her. With the assistance of an engineer to mix her raw product, the formula created a work that was ready to share.

“I stretched myself to be better and to be different,” Wayna admits.

Different was one word you could use to describe her song, “Yo Yo”. Inspired by how the late Fela Kuti layered sound and his use of counter rhythms and melodies, the singer described her song as “Fela meets Radiohead”. She also cited Minnie Riperton, Donnie Hathaway and Stevie Wonder as a few of the list of other artists who influenced her.

Wayna says her music career didn’t launch immediately and it took some time before she pursued it. She traveled the traditional path of earning a degree and worked in politics. Strong women like her mother and aunt provided strong examples for Wayna to follow.

“It took a minute and it was a leap of faith that I had to take because I had to do what was in my heart,” she comments. “I knew it [music] wasn’t a guarantee and I didn’t want to disappoint my faith. My family rallied around me and some of my friends were inspired to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. I realized what I’m afraid of isn’t real most of the time.”

Wayna acknowledges her most recent work forced her to grow as a producer, writer and as an artist.

“It chiseled out more of what I could be and of my potential,” she adds. “I enjoyed the process of getting better. I wanted to dig deep in this project because I felt compelled to be awesome for me and for my daughter in order to be more authentic. If it’s not real and substantive, I don’t have time for it. It allows me to trim the fat out of my life.”


For more information on Wayna’s music, visit her website at www.wayna.net.

Follow her on Twitter at @waynamusic.


Photo Credit: Siddiqui

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com