Tashina McKenzie's middle name is probably determination. The Libra, petite 19-year old singing beauty is determined to "take our Reggae music and mix it up with a little singjay and a little dj and a little hip hop flavour and come up with something really good, a new flavour that shows how diverse our music can be."

Tashina, whose favourite singers include Whitney Houston, Mariah Carrey and Toni Braxton, Diana King, Lady Saw, Tami Chynn and Alaine is a graduate of St. Andrew Technical High School and also you might say of the Digicel Rising Stars competition. In 2007 she made it into the list of top 10 finalists in this popular entertainment show, no mean feat in this country of singing superstars and wannabees. Tashina's long-held fantasy of becoming a singing star nearly came crashing down with her bruised ego after being eliminated from the top 10 of the Rising Stars contest but she held on till the bitter end putting on a winning performance at the final concert that attracted the attention of one of the most respected music producers of the business, Mikey Bennett.

It has been a long and rocky journey for this young girl from the inner city who loved singing so much that she just sang when she was tired, sang when she was happy, and sang when she was sad. After attending the Drews Ave Primary School Tashina got admission to the prestigious Wolmer's Girls School but fell in with bad company and was transferred to Merl Grove where she didn't last long either. After a few months out of school she joined St. Andrew Tech where she became a prefect, president of the Environmental club, leader of the school choir, and generally reformed herself so that her mother who had never lost faith in her could feel vindicated and be proud. "Besides, I have a social responsibility to be an example the younger generation, especially those growing up in inner-city communities. I want to inspire people through music just as I was inspired."

Today, Tashina has written and sung several songs that are getting airplay. The first song she authored was called 'Scared and Terrified' - " It's about growing up and living in the inner city and the things that you have to go through, the violence that is prevalent there and how it affects residents. In the song I related a personal experience that happened to my brother who died as a result of that." Her second song was called "It's Never Too Late" and is about not giving up on yourself no matter where you are from and the obstacles you face. "Concerned Citizens" is a new single by Tashina done in combination with Queen Ifrica and produced by Mikey Bennett at Grafton Studio. Tashina is now taking voice lessons and learning to play the piano which she loves. With her mindset and determination it won't be long before she conquers the world with her lyrics. "I want to take Jamaican music to where it should be nationally and internationally. I want to play my parting getting it to that level. I know I can do it. I know that with my unique sound and my passion for music, I can do it. I have to, it's not a choice."

Photo & text courtesy of AXE-S Media.

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