Melaku was born in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, to an Ethiopian father and Jewish-American mother. He started singing as soon as he could talk, and picked up the guitar at age 5. Early in life, he listened to classic Soul, Rock, Motown, and AM Gold records, and was highly influenced by artists like The Temptations, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, The Beach Boys, and America. At age 12, Melaku built his first home recording studio in his parent’s basement, and proceeded to record covers of these classic songs, playing all of the instruments himself. Throughout his middle school and high school years, he played in bands, starred in musicals, and wrote and recorded songs, eventually delving into genres like pop and r&b. In college at Columbia University, Melaku studied sociology and business management but was still drawn to music, and recorded over a hundred songs in his dorm rooms and practice rooms on campus. He used this library of material to land a management deal as a songwriter, and began collaborating with various producers, writers and artists. Inspired by new opportunities and seeing a way to get a foot in the door of the industry, he took the first semester of his senior year off to live and work in Los Angeles. That winter, on Dec. 21 2012, on a snowboard trip to Big Sky Montana, Melaku had a peak experience on a mountaintop, and from that point forward began a spiritual awakening that has continued to this day. After graduating college, Melaku continued to work as a songwriter, and had experiences like being selected for a writing camp for one of Randy Jackson’s artists. But before he gained real momentum, he was derailed by a health battle and dark night of the soul. Finally, at the end of his rope, he went to a neural retraining program and healed what was supposed to take years in a matter of days. This reaffirmed Melaku’s faith in the power of spirituality. It also gave him the opportunity to begin again, and pursue his lifelong dream of being a solo artist. He just released his debut album “Golden Age,” which is fully written, produced, and performed by himself. It is recorded at Mowbray Recording Studio, which Melaku co-founded this year, and released on his label, Angellion Records. The album takes the classic sounds that Melaku grew up with and updates them with modern pop songwriting and production. Each song on the album corresponds with a chakra, which are found in many mystical traditions. The album title refers not only to a forgotten era long ago, but a future era where balanced spirituality is integrated into our daily lives…a new Golden Age.
- The Deborah Hay Dance Company
- Morgan Graves