Chelina - Singer and Song Writer | Interview with Loline Mag
When asked to describe herself in three words she chose the words ambitious, sensitive, and observant.
Growing up with two parents who moved around a lot, Chelina was inspired by her parents who loved art. Her mother, who loved music, studied theatre and her dad was a writer. For high school, she went to Menilik then moved to Adigrat where her father had worked, and finished her studies there in Saint Lucy. She grew up listening to artists like Nina Simone, Janice Joplin, and Amy Winehouse. She listened to jazz, 70s rock, indie rock, reggae, and a little bit of everything. Music was always inside her but taking it full time was not her original plan. She planned to study law which she went to school for but her mother encouraged her to perform more often. She started performing when she was 19. Her mother got her to join the Express band and she started performing during summers but as time went by, she was encouraged to do music full time. So she went to Yared music school, which didn’t have an established class in the major she wanted to take, so she transferred to Seminary music school and graduated as a guitar major.
Her career took off as performed at more places and sang more genres but the hardest part about the music was the industry’s expectations to fit artists like her into a box. She was expected to dress a certain way, act a certain way, carry herself a certain way; the expectation for women to be “sexy” or “attractive” and even the type of music they wanted her to put out. All of these went against what she believed was music to her. She said music is a source of entertainment sure, but to her, it was more than that. It was a philosophy, it was her means of freedom and through time she reduced the type of music she wanted to play and the places she wanted to perform and started playing music that is comfortable to her. When she wanted to release the album it was hard for her to find sponsors because they were scared of sponsoring a new sound and also pressured her to put in politically strategic songs, so she decided to put it out on her own. Contrary to their predicament, the album was a big success.
When asked to describe herself in three words she chose the words ambitious, sensitive, and observant. She said whenever she talks or meets new people, she tries to pick up on their energy. That helps her understand them beyond what they are saying and navigate through their intentions.
When asked where she wanted to take her music, she mentioned she believed that God has a purpose for her voice and that she wants to align herself to His intentions and use her voice as an instrument for his purpose. Her spiritual journey is a big part of who she is and so the most important thing in her life is God. She mentioned that she spent a good portion of her life trying to find answers through different religions and reading several books and finally stumbled upon the bible through which she found her truth.
To all the people that want to follow in her footsteps she advised to first check if music is your hobby or something you are passionate about and are called for; to be honest with yourself and make sure you’re not doing it for anyone’s sake. And second, stop comparing yourself to other people.
You can be inspired by someone but you should not compare yourself to them. Be yourself and focus on yourself.
The modern jazz sensation mentioned that she has a few surprises up her sleeves for new projects but she is currently taking time to focus on the new content she wants to come up with.