Haleluya TekleTsadik: I can say that Nativity Girls School was the foundation for my music career. Learning in an all-girls school has given me the confidence to go on stage and perform. We grew up supporting each other with a strong sisterhood that could not have been found anywhere else. We are still in each other's lives.


Michael Jackson was the first performer I saw on TV when I was seven years old. His stage freedom made me want to become a musician. I used to hum the soundtrack for his music 'Thriller' without studying the lyrics in my early years. Aster Aweke and Asnakech Worku are my idols. The admiration I have for Asnakech started off because my great-grandmother used to listen to her songs. Over the years, I grew to love everything about her. The fact that she was a self-taught Kirar player with a lyrical ability, her raspy voice and the authentic way she led her life inspire me. She was truly an artist.


My first solo album Tewedaj was made straight from my heart. It was where I found myself as an artist, playing songs that I was comfortable with. I did the melody for all the tracks and participated in some of the lyrics. I released it through my own YouTube channel which had 500 subscribers. Despite the limited reach, I did that to create a brand on my own platform as a solo artist. The feedback was honestly over my expectations. My channel has now reached more than 17,000 subscribers and even more views.


It is hard to pinpoint a specific age group that enjoys my music. I meet fans that are in the lower age group and sometimes people tell me their parents enjoy listening to my music. I love that it is not restricted; it tells me that I am doing something right.


Whether I am at home with my husband, family or out on a tour, I am the kind of person who wakes up early in the morning for holidays, put on a Habesha dress and cheers everyone up for the festivity.


Most people presume to think that I come from the Somali Regional State because I speak the language. I was born and raised in Addis Abeba around the Bole Michael area where the Somali culture was prominent. I never got the chance to visit, although I want to. But I feel like the culture and lifestyle are imprinted in me because I spent most of my childhood with people from the area, speaking the language and listening to their songs. I have even performed one song on the stage.


I love watching movies when I am at home. Thriller movies give me chills and I am here for it. But I also enjoy watching sitcoms; Friends is my favourite, I know most of the dialogue.


I am not a fashion trend follower but a particular style that makes me comfortable. I love rock boots. I believe it looks good on me and also gives me freedom on stage. There is no particular brand I am drawn to, although I prefer Coco Chanel and Lancome when it comes to perfume.


I have the vision to make a mark in Ethiopian music collaborating with different genres from all over the world. However, I want to enjoy the journey. I would say my career goal is to enjoy the journey to the destination.


Haleluya: It is all about music for me. I get lost in the moment and try to feed off the energy, especially on the stage. That is when I could be my authentic self and get to share what I love with the rest of the world. I will say that a group setting provides support, in picking up the pace when someone is behind and covering each other's mistakes. But going solo made me become independent.


We have planned to do shows and concerts this year. The recent one will be a gathering at the renovated Vardas club for consecutive Fridays following the holiday. I have also closed the deal to perform in Canada in the coming August.


I try to live by the rule "you won't always be motivated so you must learn to be disciplined". I am content as long as I live life to the fullest.


I honestly do not know myself without music. It is my love and my passion. But it takes practice and rehearsal to pursue it as a career. There are a lot of challenges along the way but I had to learn to let go in order to move forward. It is something that I use to express myself.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 15,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1198]

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