Mekonnen Leake's funny interview with Josy part 2


Actor Mekonnen Leake's funny interview with Josy part 2. I most definitely do. It was my effort with Abel Mulugeta on the album “Tegerime” and then I got to work with Teddy Afro. That was a milestone moment for me. It is very hard to identify which song made me known to the public. I worked in many bands, however, my work with Michael Belayneh, and the song Tizita must have been the one that made me, humbly, a household name.


He was our sponsor since the inception of the band, in finance and practical advice. I don’t know how much he spent on us, but it is estimated to be in the millions. While he is not supporting us financially, our friendship has continued. Being an artist is hard. Ethiopia has yet to have a mechanism to pay its artists adequately. I don’t recall how much I earned when I started but it was nominal. 


Since I joined Jano, we have been earning a salary from a company named Trio Entertainment, which was owned by Ermias Amelga, Bill Laswell, and Addis Gessese. Right now, Jano is independent and has no affiliation with the company. We parted ways with Addis Gessesse, as we had many disagreements on directions and strategies. He was very busy and we had disagreements on many things. In addition, there were financial issues. The money was a lot but it is not a big issue compared with the other issues.


It was hard. Our culture has a certain misconception when it comes to musicians. Most see art not as a profession but as a luxury that is expensive to own and practice. But they understood I had a passion for it and they allowed me to pursue it fully. I left home when I turned 20 years old. I had a lot of pressure and it was hard to cope with family responsibilities. I was spending all my spare time in the studio. I somehow drifted away and became very dedicated to my work.

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