Would you please introduce yourself to current and new fans both domestic and abroad?
My name is Aster Fekre and I’m an (R&B) artist from the Netherlands. I released my first single on september 1st 2014 which was called ‘What you gonna say’. In april 2015 I released my second official single ‘Lipstick's Gone’ and I will be releasing my debut EP this summer.
Your music features both singing and rapping. How would you define yourself as an artist? Or do you elude standard definitions entirely?
How people usually describe my sound is R&B. Though the music I make and have released now is indeed towards the R&B/Hiphop sound I rather not put myself in boxes. What I make and inspires me now, can change with time as well as my sound and the music I make.
Your first ever single, “What You Gonna Say,” has been on the airwaves for awhile. What was the initial seed of inspiration for this track? And how has your musical sensibility evolved since the release of this single, if at all?
I made that song with Earl Fernald. We were in the studio and he played the track and I immediately fell in love with the beat. We both wanted to create a song that focuses on self empowerment. It was my first single and the message behind it is not to care too much about what everybody thinks of you or says about you and to go for your own goals and dreams and that was exactly what I was doing at that time (and still am). So it’s a song for everybody.
“Lipstick’s Gone,” features a feminine perspective with a hard-edged attitude. Could you elaborate on how your perspective for this song developed? I enjoy this track’s merging of catchy pop sensibilities with hard-nosed bitchiness.
It’s definitely a feminine song and it talks about the different sides of a woman that’s confident and empowers herself. Joveek Murphy wrote the song and it has that raw edge to it so I really had to get my fierce on with that song, but I loved recording it and I absolutely love performing it because it has so much attitude.
Tell me about your collaborations with Joveek Murphy and Earl Fernald. They certainly have a substantial voice in the creation of the music, and I’m interested in finding out about how you three all work together.
I met Earl Fernald about 2,5 years ago. We went into the studio and made a track together and it just worked out amazing so after that we decided to make more tracks and that eventually resulted into the EP that is coming this Summer. During that time Earl decided to start his own Indie Label where the EP will be released from. Along the way Joveek Murphy also joined the company. So they now own the Label (named T.O.L. stands for Thinkin' out Loud) and I’m the first artist that is signed to it.
Your music videos list your collaborators, and the same names (Daniel Scotch, Joveek Murphy & Earl Fernald (as T.O.L.), Shizen Wong Lun Hing, and others) appear again and again. Tell me about how you’ve grown with these collaborators and what makes that artistic magic happen!
That’s definitely because of the passion and talent all these people have. Everybody that I work with are as motivated and determined as I am about this project (EP). They are the team that I’ve been working with for the past year and made this all, from the music to the video’s, possible. I think it’s very important to have people and a team around you who are as passionate about the thing you’re working on as you are and I’m very grateful to have that.
Tell me about your ideal creative space and how you inhabit it when creating music.
For me it’s all about working with the right people and having that connection with each other. If you are on the same page and really understand what you’re trying to create or say then the music just happens and it can become magical. Also I need to be in a space where I’m 100% comfortable but that really depends on the people I share the space with.
Many artists have a psychic division between “the artist” and “the person.” Is there such a psychic divide in your case?
Of course there’s a difference between me ‘the person’ and me ‘the artist’. I’m a very down to earth and a bit of a quiet girl. I also used to be very shy, but when I’m on stage I cannot be quiet..haha. When I’m on stage I definitely change in the way I act and present myself. I cannot really explain how that happens but when I see the crowd and the music comes on I get a lot of energy from that and I feel like there are no boundaries. It’s a real free space to be in. I just love it. But before I’m always very nervous, I think that will never go away haha! So there is a difference between the artist and the person but not in a way that it are two completely different people. I like to stay close to who I am. I think that only then people can relate to you and connect to what you’re doing.
What’s next for Aster Fekre?
Right now we’re focusing on the EP that will come out this summer. The Ep will also be named T.O.L., just as the label and more singles off of the EP will drop very soon. I can’t give you the exact dates but I will definitely keep ya’ll posted and I’m very excited!
Aster Fekre on Twitter: https://twitter.com/asterfekre
Aster Fekre on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/aster-fekre
Ariana Grande – 34+35 (Remix) feat. Doja Cat & Megan Thee Stallion
Ariana Grande, Megan Thee Stallion, and Doja Cat have teamed up for a new remix of Grande’s Positions track 34+35.
Why Did Michaela Coel Walk Away From a $1 Million Dollar Deal with Netflix?
Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.
Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. So, naturally, Coel’s history with the streaming platform made it the premier destination for her new project. After a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, however, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series.
According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.
I May Destry You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.
The series is now streaming on HBO.
Ava DuVernay and Whoopi Goldberg Elected to The Academy’s Board of Governors
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just elected members to its 2020-2021 Board of Governors. Among the six newly elected governors are director Ava DuVernay. EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg has been re-elected for a second three-year term.
For those not familiar with the work of the Board of Governors, here is a breakdown of how it works and what it does.
Per Oscars official website, The Board of Governors directs the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health and assures the fulfillment of its mission.
Governors attend 6-8 board meetings annually (in person or by video). Each Governor also serves on one board oversight committee and their branch’s executive committee, and they are expected to represent their branch at numerous Academy events through the year.
The Academy has a total of 18 branches, including the actors branch and directors branch, where Goldberg and DuVernay will serve. Each branch is represented by three governors who are elected for three-year terms.
Since the #OscarSoWhite campaign in 2015, the Academy has been making efforts to increase diversity across the board. After the most recent election, out of 54 governors, the number of female Academy governors increased from 25 to 26, and people of color increased from 11 to 12.
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