Before music, he was into football; to the extent that many of the people around him believed he would become a professional player. Besides, he grew up as a sports fan and frequented basketball and swimming as well. In the artistic world, he took a one-year course in puppetry at a young age.
Greet Meron Estifanos, aka wed-zemach, one of Eritrea’s young aspiring artists. He had his breakthrough when he became a finalist at the Shingrwa Academy, an Eritrean TV show for voice talents. Following the years of his discovery, Meron has proved to be a diva in the making. His major record hits include ‘kemfqadki’ (his first official hit), ‘kelo giena’, ‘yhalfeley’do’, ‘ayzanen’ye’ … the list goes on. So far, Meron has been performing at big events, done various collaborations, covers, and not to forget his movie soundtracks.
A nice talk with him, here are the excerpts.
By Samuel Habtemichael @ Shabait
Can you please briefly tell us about your childhood and educational background?
First I would like to thank you. My name is Meron Estifanos, I was born in 1991. I attended my pre-school, elementary, junior, and High School in the port city of Massawa. Then I went to Sawa to complete my secondary education. After sitting for the matriculation exams, I joined the Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT) and did my first degree in Educational Administration. Parallel to my music, I also teach at Barka Secondary School and I am a member of the ‘Kewakbti Rim’ musical troupe.
Who was your biggest inspiration for music?
Of course, growing up in a family of musicians has its own impact. I believe the way I was nurtured has influenced me a lot in directing me towards music. I can recall now that my mother used to study and practice some musical instruments. But then again, being one of the renowned artists in the country, my father’s influence on me to become fond of music is indisputable. Indeed, I have learned a lot from him in every aspect of my living. Besides, my father is also the main inspiration for my reading habits. To your surprise, however, my biggest inspiration for music is Temesgen Gebreslasie (Taniqo).
When did you realize that music is what you wanted to do most?
I can reminisce now that my father was very hesitant, at first, of me getting involved in music activities. I remember, at one point in time, shortly after I joined music school to play the flute, he made me quit. He was so determined at guiding me to pursue my education successfully and helped me hold on to my academy seriously. I believe his persistence worked out well. Coming to the point, it must be around the year 2013; some of my friends would often take me to their music practice at EIT. I already had an insight into music, but I was not fully participating. I would occasionally suggest adjustments during their rehearsals. One thing led to another and luckily, inter-college competitions were on the way. I took the chance and with the help of my colleagues, we produced an audio entitled ‘Collegey’. After that, I started reading music books frequently, and then came Shingrwa.
How do you describe the experience of Shingrwa, biggest takeaways?
Honestly speaking, it wasn’t as easy as it seems. The fact that my father was there all the time as one of the judges in the academy made it a bit harder. This made it obvious that I had to make extra effort to prove myself. However, the overall experience was thrilling, and I really enjoyed every bit of it. The platform granted me great publicity; I would not have been here if it was not for Shingrwa. I personally got to meet great instructors and role models such as Barnabas Mebrahtu, Mohammed Salih, and many more. To wrap it up, I would say it was a leapfrogging event.
Public reaction to your works of music?
Oh! What can I say, Fantastic! I get different opinions and compliments every now and then, and by this, I would say is the way I gauge the publicity I have been honored with. It is an indication of how much music the general public admires and how much the fans are into music. So far, the public reactions are encouraging and will always play a leading role in helping me reach the summit of my artistic capacity.
Principles you follow in your music?
Personally, I have three major principles in my list of making music. First, I consider substance, which includes depth and content, as a vanguard for my work of music. The second is the crispness of my music; I try to employ every procedure to be artistically competitive and the third is trying to make my music in a way that can be enjoyed by all age groups. I do my level best to incorporate and reflect these three principles and more in the works I pick.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Musically speaking, I have a lot in my mind. Currently, I am working on singles, but of course, an album is inevitable and it’s on its way. Five years from now, I see myself doing much more. I am trying my best to progress every single day; hopefully, I intend to present my music on continental or international stages. Yes, help me, God! I have a list of points in my resolution and I believe I am working hard towards that end.
Major difficulties you encountered in your music career?
I strongly believe that in doing music, we should serve the needs of the public. In doing so, one must make good use of every bit of a second. Time is a major factor and fruitful music needs all of it. I have told you that I am also a teacher and sometimes things may seem inflexible and can hold you back, but I am managing it all together. I know there are many talented citizens out there in quest of better attention, platform, and a chance to seek and reach more. Certainly, hard work is important in any sphere and I believe the future holds a lot better for us all.
Any message you would like to give to young and aspiring talents?
The note that I would like to leave for young talents, especially those musically passionate, is that they should first and foremost stay academically well equipped, learn more, be patient and take as much time as they could to develop their skills, tune to more and variety of music, bear in mind music is not to be taken lightly, and last but not least they ought to alter their ambition into action.