Her expressive journey started with writing poetry in high school. Since then she has sharpened her writing skills under some of L.A.’s top songwriters.
Rocking her blonde fro-hawk and a black, white and pink t-shirt of her latest EP, singer Hewan and her street team walked up and down Crenshaw Boulevard Oct. 18, during the 9th annual Taste of Soul promoting her music. This was the perfect opportunity for the young performer to draw attention to her music and her efforts truly worked.
Based in L.A., the Ethiopian-American singer is working to bring authenticity to the music scene. The singer-songwriter released her soulful EP, “When the Music Stops Playing,” in early September and has steadily kept the buzz going. This was her first official indie project. Most would say her music is a mix of Alternative R&B music and a bit of Pop, but she isn’t hung up on musical labels. “My music is telling a story of things I’ve been through. I want the people who listen to my music to say ‘I can totally relate.’ The biggest goal is to build my following. I’ve been in LA for three years doing this thing and I just want to continue to build my following,” she said. Hewan was born and raised in Fremont, California, to first generation Ethiopian-Americans, who moved to the U.S. for college and soon made it their permanent residence. She accredits her rich cultural background as the major foundation to who she is now.
“Growing up in a very Ethiopian household, the motivation to achieve academically was really big. My parents really wanted us to know that education was the top priority,” she said. The mindset of education being first really stuck with Hewan. She graduated Cum Laude from San Jose State University with a degree in Business Marketing. Although, she was academically sound and had a great job, she knew her passion was in music.
“A lot of times people tend to watch life happen. They sit in the bleachers and watch the game [life] afraid to fail. They critique and judge others who are in the game that are losing. That’s why my song ‘In the Bleachers’ is basically telling people to get out of the bleachers and go try out life. You never know what the outcome of your life will be unless you try,” she said. She knows that from her own life experiences. Hewan initially worked in the marketing department at Cisco Systems before she finally made the decision to pursue music full time. Friends and family members didn’t know how serious her passion was until she quit her job and made a plan to move.
“Before I made the decision to come to L.A,. I was the one sitting in the bleachers. I was neglecting music because of my job. It was nice to have a good job that paid well, but my heart didn’t belong in it. I knew within a few months that I was going to leave my job,” she said.
She eventually relocated from the Bay Area to Burbank where she went to The Songwriting School of Los Angeles to focus her attention on writing music. She soon learned that catchy melodies and relatable song lyrics stuck to listeners and inspired others to listen to the storyline in her songs. “I’ve been writing since high school. Music evokes emotion and that’s what I aim to do. The things that I sing and write about apply to all of our lives and I want to be that motivation to challenge people,” she said.
Listening to her EP, “When the Music Stops Playing,” each song touches subjects that most people go through. In my experience, it is hard not to relate to the album’s title song. We all have expectations and dreams for our lives and the song caters exactly to those missed moments we all expect for different moments of our lives. “People don’t realize that we all are going through the same things. That is why I put my truth into my songs. I’ve failed before, but I’ve also succeeded and my music tells that story,” Hewan explained. Hewan was recently a finalist at the LAMN Jam Music Contest presented by NARIP on October 1st. Judges included music moguls from RBC Records, Strange Music and Electronic Arts. She has also had performances at Hollywood’s 9 on Vine and The Hotel Café. She is currently in the works of finalizing a high school tour called, “Get Out the Bleachers,” which was modeled after a song on her EP. She hopes the school tour empowers students to make great decisions while they’re young.
“One of my biggest goals is to help people realize their worth and I hope that my music helps kids know that they are far greater than what society says they are,” said Hewan. Her EP “When the Music Stops Playing,” is available on iTunes and Amazon. Visit her website at www.Hewanmusic.com