Wayna is an Ethiopian-born, GRAMMY-nominated singer, former White House writer, and actress, who celebrates the cultural influences of her background through her performances on screen and on stage. She is a 2X All Africa Music Awards Nominee, an elected National Trustee of the GRAMMYs, and the co-creator of the GRAMMY Award for Best Song for Social Change.
Wayna has performed around the world at renowned venues including the White House, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Essence Fest, the Apollo Theatre, and the Marriott and Sheraton in Ethiopia. In addition to her solo career, she joined music icon Stevie Wonder as a vocalist on the Songs in the Key of Life Tour and in other performances internationally. Wayna has also shared the stage with Dave Chapelle, Common, the Legendary Roots, Janelle Monae, Chuck Brown, India.Arie, Jazmine Sullivan, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Raheem DeVaughn, and Eric Roberson to name a few. Her music has been featured in publications such as USA Today, Billboard, BBC News, the UK Daily Mail, Essence Magazine, Complex, the Baltimore Sun, the Toronto Star, and the Washington Post.
As an actor, Wayna starred opposite Ethan Herisse (When They See Us) in Peacock’s The Other Side, a fictional short film set in Ethiopia that follows the lives of two orphan brothers. She also co-starred in 2022’s Here, a short film for which she also wrote and recorded the title track, “I Won’t Answer f. Dre King.” In 2023, Wayna released her latest music video for, “I Won’t Answer” – a classic blues and jazz-inspired track that tells a powerful story about a student who stands up to cultural bias during roll call. The single follows Wayna’s three critically acclaimed solo albums, Moments of Clarity, Higher Ground, and The Expats. She received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her remake of “Lovin’ You (Music) f. Kokayi” on Higher Ground.