Ethiopian American singer/songwriter Hewan was raised in the bay area of Northern California by immigrant parents. After graduating from San Jose State University, she was one of 10 candidates recruited into a specialized marketing program at Cisco Systems. She worked hard and saved for three years so she could pursue her music career in Los Angeles.
She recently released her debut album entitled, "When the Music Stops Playing"--an urban pop EP with an upbeat sound and positive message. She believes strongly in the power of self-confidence, and the transformative effect music.
After a private listening party at Universal Mastering Studios where she was compared to the likes of India Arie and Lauryn Hill, HEWAN officially released her debut record on 9/8 at The Hotel Cafe. The sold-out venue’s attendees included industry professionals and A&Rs executives.
Location : Los Angeles, CA courtesy of the Bay Area
Urban Steez: Tell everybody your name and what area you represent?
Hewan. I’m from Northern California. Specifically, the Bay Area #Yeeeeee
Urban Steez: Nice. Love the frohawk by the way. How long have you been doing music and what made you get into music?
Hewan: I started writing poetry in high school, which turned into full-out songwriting when I got a guitar in college. What inspired my creative journey was India Arie on 106&Park with her flower painted guitar. That’s “when I fell in love with hip hop”….I mean singing lol. She gave me the singer-songwriter bug.
Urban Steez: Lol I like how you threw in that “Brown Sugar (movie)” twist…. How would you describe your style and best attribute as an artist?
Hewan: Stylistically, I’d say I’m Alternative R&B/Urban pop. My best attribute as an artist is my songwriting. I make sure I write from a “real” place, so people can relate to what I am talking about. The best songs speak to you.” I think that's my best attribute as an artist - I create authentic music that people feel.
Urban Steez: Dope. So, tell us your greatest experience thus far as a music artist and why?
Hewan: Releasing my EP, “When the Music Stops Playing.” As to why, creating art and not being able to share it is like torture to me! The best feeling an artist gets comes from releasing new music. Songs are like my babies. I give them life, develop them, then put them out into the world. No one wants a 40 year old “baby” in the household! Come on! hahaha
Urban Steez: That’s a nice way to put it, “Songs are like your babies.” Good deal! What is the biggest challenge you face being an artist?
Hewan: Exposure. The online world is great for artists, because it provides anyone with a platform to reach out and directly touch fans. However, the downside is that EVERYONE and their cousin is making music and putting it online, which creates “noise.” The challenge is being heard despite the noise.
Urban Steez: Very true…That’s why websites like us must exist. Who would you like to collaborate with in the music industry and why?
Hewan: There are so many. I’d say Ryan Tedder (from One Republic). He is one of my favorite songwriters--sooo good! And of course India Arie. She is “IT” to me!
Urban Steez: Listening to your style, I can see the Ryan Tedder duo going down nicely… So how do you feel you rank against top music talents today?
Hewan: I can hold my own. I studied them!
Urban Steez: I can tell. What are you working on now, and when can fans expect to hear more from you?
Hewan: I am working on promoting my new EP, “When the Music Stops Playing.” Fans can expect to see more videos and singles dropped from the EP. I'll always be playing shows in the greater Los Angeles area, and very soon, ya'll can expect a tour! Also, when the time is right, I'll start the writing process for another project.
Urban Steez: Be sure to send all your material are way, we will gladly promote. Give readers one tip about pursuing their dreams?
Hewan: Only YOU can make your dreams a reality. Try to be as self-sufficient as possible. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in LA have to do with flakey people. What I learned is that no one will work for your success harder than you will. The more control you have over your career the better.
Urban Steez: Nice.What do you want to accomplish as an artist overall?
Hewan: I want to spread music with a meaning to the popular world.
Urban Steez: I definitely look forward to it, its something that today's generation is lacking musically in my opinion..But thats another story. If music never existed, what do you think you would be doing?
Hewan: Oh, man. I’d be working in a cubicle as a marketing analyst for a Tech company in the Silicon Valley. That was my day job before I moved to LA 3 years ago.
Urban Steez: Boring but not bad. Tell us your influences and inspirations?
Hewan: My musical influences come from artists like Indie Arie, Lauryn Hill, Regina Spektor. These are strong singer-songwriters. My inspiration comes from living. You can't be creative if you have nothing to talk about. I use to feel guilty when I did things that were unrelated to music (like going on vacation)! Then I realized something. Living and experiencing LIFE, is what gives me the inspiration to write. A melody is most powerful when paired with great lyric.
Urban Steez: Everyone you named is creatively dope. So what do you think of the “R&B Soul” music world right now?
Hewan: It's coming back.
Urban Steez: What quote do you feel best represents you?
Hewan: “Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!”
Urban Steez: Lol.. I can dig that! Who do you have playing in your sound system right now?
Hewan: A LOT of James Blake.
Urban Steez: So tell us something most people would not know about you?
Hewan: I’m afraid of the dark!
Urban Steez: REALLY!! Well let their be light… How can business heads and fans contact you in the future (myspace, email, number, etc.)?
My website hewanmusic.com
Urban Steez: Finally, Any shot outs?