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Interview with Samuel Yirga

Question:Tell us about your home, where do you live (no stalkers allowed) and places you have lived. If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?

Samuel: "I was born in Addis Ababa at 6kilo area. I have lived my whole life there. I have traveled to many countries and people think that I lived outside Ethiopia for some time specially in the UK, London because I traveled more to UK. However, because I couldn't really leave my country and my dream to change the music industry made me stay here in Ethiopia. But nowadays this energy is going away so if I leave for another country, I might choose one that I know very well. So far I love New Zealand the most and would love to live there".


Question: Tell us the first piece of music which inspired you or you simply remember....and what do you most like about being a musician? Back to music and people if you could spend an hour with any artist (dead or alive) who would that be and what would you talk about?

Samuel: "Ye Harer Shererit' is the first song I simply remember because that's the first Ethiopian song I played on the piano. It's a very old folk song.
As for artists to hang out with It would be Herbie Hancock because lots of my interests in music resemble his. He loves experimenting on new sounds and music styles using cultural elements. He's not limited to one type of music but different styles. That's me in general. As a musician, I love to explore different things. So if I sat with him, the first thing I would talk to him would be about the piano. How he sees piano and what he feels about the instrument. Then we would discuss about culture and value. And his challenges as an experimental musician and his advice as an idol.


Question: What's your favorite venue/place to hang out and why?

Samuel: "I love coffee and cafes. So most of the places I love are cafes with good coffee. Mostly to Kaldis & Mamokacha and of Course Taitu hotel. As a country of coffee, we've got many good places for coffee. I'm not a club or bar person unless to watch a live band. The other important thing is that I don't want to be excluded from the society therefore I walk in different parts of Addis and sit in cafes not to be a stranger and not to feel strange. It's very difficult for someone to get established and be away from the real society. When you want to be in the crowd one day, you feel like you traveled to a place that you weren't supposed to be if you don't actually go to such places. Therefore, you should make it normal by going to such places. One way or fame can't delete that we're human".


Question: Who are you currently listening to and how did you find them. We are sure you were given some advice at a younger age so what would you say to anyone wanting to work in the music business?

Samuel: "Currently I'm listening to some artists like Incognito, Corinne Bailey Rae, Chick Corea, Irie Révoltés (Germany)
Music in general needs passion, courage, honesty and patience. The music industry as a business is very profitable at the same time very challenging. It also needs honesty to really be successful otherwise failure would be the result. In order to run business that's related to music, someone should also know some kind of music and the Value of Art. That is the professional way and I believe it makes the person very successful. In Art, you should also take a Risk. Risk in creating new sound, experimenting on different elements, to create unusual types of music will never make you wrong but unique. Therefore, you don't have to worry if you're wrong by creating a new thing. Other than creating new music, you should also create an identity for yourself otherwise your value in music won't be special.


Question: Anything you want to add or promote? What can we expect from you next?

Samuel: "My next projects are two music albums. First, a pop vocal album of mine. Playing piano is what my fans know but singing has been my passion too. I'm working on my singing and it's just for the local market especially for the younger generation. I believe there must be various types of music productions in Ethiopia other than traditional music and the usual pop music. This is to add more options and entertain the young but it might work for others too.
Secondly an album for the international Market which is a continuity of “Guzo”. It has very interesting elements and I believe it can be successful like my debut album “Guzo”.

Other than that, I would love to produce new, young and talented Ethiopians for local and international market. I see big potential but I know there's less opportunity here. However, I want the standard of the production for both the local and international market to be high. Therefore I don't know the challenge of recording here in Ethiopia. However, I'll try to do my best in solving the problem".



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