Hewan is Bringing Back Soul on Latest EP
It’s no secret that in today’s contemporary pop music, quality songwriting is increasingly becoming a scarcity. For musician Hewan, songwriting is the driving force behind her ethos as an artist. Habesha LA sits down with the captivating young star on the rise in Los Angeles, where she candidly reveals her journey as a singer/songwriter.
Originally from Fremont, California Hewan grew up in a traditional Ethiopian household. She and her twin sister Hiwat were brought up to put academics first by their accountant mother and engineer father. Thus, music did not play a big part in Hewan’s childhood. It was a particular episode of BET’s 106&Park featuring India.Arie that would shift Hewan’s perspective on her future.
“I told myself, I want to be just like her when I grow up. Her single “Video” really epitomizes everything that I felt at the time.” Hewan began entering poetry contests in high school and began realizing her writing ability and would sing along with other students during lunch time freestyle sessions.
However, it wasn’t until Hewan graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelors in Marketing that she knew she wanted to pursue songwriting full time. Hewan left the Bay Area to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams full time. Hewan enrolled in the Songwriting School of Los Angeles, which helped her hone her craft as a writer, as well as connect her with her future management team. “The songs that I write sound like Hewan songs. I studied the Top 40 to think ok, what are they doing? What makes a catchy song? I learned some of those things but I knew that when I write I would still have a very distinct style. It’s rhythmic, melodic.”
Hewan says that her last few years as an independent artist have been challenging to say the least. “I’ve been here for three years. For the first two years, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off, just running around and trying to find my place. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is don’t take it personally. People didn’t always follow through with their promises. It’s important to not take that personally because all relationships have to be mutually beneficial.”
Hewan’s latest EP “When the Music Stops Playing” released on September 8th is a personal reflection on the singer’s experience over the last few years. “I initially didn’t think these five songs would be on the EP, and when I did decide to have them on there , I rewrote them. Anything good morphs over time.”
Hewan says that while the songs represent a theme of angst and frustration, there is a positive message in all of them. “A big part of my music is purpose. For me, I want people to feel something and learn through my music. My lyrics are real, it’s things that people all go through. I want meaningful music that’s contemporary and catchy. “
While she never sought the spotlight, Hewan found a love for live performance and developed her skills through rigorous rehearsals over the last couple of years. “Because I lived music and did it so much, it became me. When I did the corporate thing, that wasn’t me. The best feeling in life is getting on a stage and killing it, and when you see the smile on people’s faces, clapping to the rhythm of your songs and singing your lyrics, it makes it all worth it.” Hewan’s next performance will be at the LAMN Jam Music Contest on October 1st at 8 pm, where you can catch her competing to win $50,000 in prizes.
When asked where Hewan would like to see herself in five years, she says the sky’s the limit. “I would love to be an international act. Where I could go overseas and they love it [my music]. A lot of times for artists it’s harder to break here.” Platforms like SoundCloud and Twitter are evidence of the thousands of young artists all trying to make it, but Hewan gives us advice on how to stand out.
“The first step is make good music. Second, go to every live show that’s relevant to your genre. Third, join professional organizations like the NARIP for networking. You never know who you’re going to meet and then people will start recognizing your face. Another piece of advice: stand out. Differentiate yourself, that’s the key to marketing. Visually find a way to be memorable. Do you but find a way to stand out. “
There’s no doubt that Hewan has found that perfect balance of a contemporary distinct sound and relatable lyrics in her music. Her EP “When the Music Stops Playing” is available now for purchase on iTunes. Find out more at www.hewanmusic.com..