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Tell me about your new album.
I wanted this album to have a new approach; I wanted each individual track to stand on its own. Sometimes when you listen to a CD not all the songs on the album will impress you. It’s rare that someone likes every song on an album but I feel differently about this work. I feel like every song on my album can stand on its own and is special. The style of each song is different and the feedback I’ve gotten shows me that the album has attracted a diverse audience. Some feel that performing songs with different styles on each album s daring but that is how I choose to express myself.
What about the lyrics and the musical composition?
There are 13 tracks and out of that I did the musical composition for 12 songs. I only worked on the melody. Even though I don’t write the lyrics I try to choose the ones which go best with the melody.
You said you don’t write your own lyrics, but do the lyrics you work with express your own opinion?
They do express my emotion, the messages all my songs convey is on what I agree and approve of. As much as I can, I want to put out songs that convey a positive message. Most of the songs are about love. To be able to love and to be loved is a really good thing.
Why did you focus on love?
I follow my heart. On my previous album I focused on issues other than love but issues that I wanted to talk about, and now I just felt like singing about love. I’m sure there are still a lot of issues, be they social issues or what not, and I’m sure I will bring them up on my next work. Right now I just didn’t find the right melody for them so they will have to wait. That’s why I focused on love, I want to promote love. I feel that really good love songs are diapering, and I want to contribute to revive that.
You talk a lot about love. What about your personal love life?
Now I’m married and it is going really good. I have the person I love.
So do you follow the same rules of love you talk about in your songs in your personal life?
I can’t really follow all that I sing about, there is such a thing as acting. But when a certain emotion or feeling is written down, it feels good to sing about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am personally experiencing the feelings that I sing about. However, when it comes to composing the music, I go with my feelings and emotions. I don’t think much about how much it will sell after the album has been released, which might not be a good business decision. I want my songs to be sweet and refined and to be still heard in the years to come. There are some songs that came out like 20 years ago but I still like listening to them, especially songs from the 50’sand 60’s. But there are some songs that people listen to for a certain amount of time and then they just throw them out. That’s what I work hard on, for my songs not to be like that, I want them to be timeless. I think I have accomplished that with my last album that came out about seven years ago, and I am sure this one will also be the same.
Some might say that artists describe and express themselves through their art, is there anything about you that you have not yet expressed through your music?
It’s hard to express every little thing about yourself through music; to begin with, what you express through your music might be something you happen to feel at that particular moment. When I want to promote my thoughts I will also have to think about other people’s feelings also, I need to be able to accommodate everybody’s feelings, I don’t just want to say whatever I feel.
Performing artists usually have two personas, one comes out when they are away from the art, alone or with their families the other comes out when they are working creating or performing on stage. Do you have different personas?
I do but I don’t think the two are that different from each other. When you are on stage you will change a little because you will be interacting with people and entertain them. But when you are sitting down alone, it’s different. As a whole though I think we artists are sensitive, we are close to all kinds of emotions. For example this season is my favorite season, during this time I would like to just go out of town and appreciate nature, I would just look at the sky and appreciate it and you might look at the sky and not think of anything, it’s just a regular sky with clouds for you. But to go back to your question the person I am on stage and the person I am at home are different. But in general, I am a calm person.
Which Ethiopian musicians inspire you?
I like older songs from the 50’s, like songs by Teshome Meiteiku, Seyfu Yohannes, and Almayehu Eshete, and all those from what is considered the golden years of Ethiopian music impress me a lot. I hope to be part of that iconic legacy one day.
Which Ethiopian musicians would you want to work with? Who do you want to collaborate?
I would love to work with Mohamed Ahmed or Aster Aweke and when it comes to composers I would love to collaborate wtih Abegazu Shiota and Elias Melka. In the future if it is possible that might happen.
When you work on your music how do you go about it? Do you first look at the lyrics and then write music for it or do you write the music first and try to find a lyrics for it? What comes first?
There is no formula to that, the governing body is feeling, sometimes the lyrics inspires the melody. For example there is a song titled “Sewodeshi”, the words are written by Gebrekirstos Desta. When I read it inspired me so I came up with the music composition. So in that case the lyrics came first and then the music. But when you look at the song entitled “Temechi Endehon” the music composition came first and then the lyrics, then we combined them together.
If you were asked to describe this album using just two words, what would you say?
I guess I would say very good.
Some say that you don’t interact much with other musicians, be it personally or through work. What do you say to that?
I have been asked this question before and I think they misunderstood what I said so I want to clarify. It’s true that I might not meet up with other artists because of work but we do all meet up through social events and there is also an association for artists and I’m very active in there. I am part of the management team. But everybody has their own peer groups as do I. I usually work during the day time and I just stay home during the evenings, but I do like meeting up with other artists, we meet during different occasions be it for happy one or a sad one. I also had many artists attending my wedding, and it was wonderful.
What’s next for you? What can we expect? Is there a concert coming up?
During the first week of November we are planning to have a CD release party but we have not decided on the venue and around a month later I hope to have a concert.
When can we expect new songs from you?
This one took me seven years but after this, God willing, I will complete a new work within another year and a half. I’m also hoping to release singles before that.
How much did Adika pay you for your album?
I don’t want to disclose the amount but I will say that I am very satisfied with what they offered me and I accepted.