In Habesha (Ethiopian/Eritrean descent) culture, it is incredibly common for people to have, what is referred to as, a “house name”. A “house name” can be described as a made-up name for a family member that sticks to him/her as if it’s their first name. For some people, their actual name becomes so secondary that there may even be members of your own immediate family who can’t quite recall what your name actually is. Usually this “house name” is derived from a physical or character attribute possessed by a person at a young age. In my case, although most of my family and friends have always called me by my given name, Mélat, neither one of my grandmothers thought that was what I should be called.
My father’s mother would call me “Addis Alem.” She called me this from the moment I was born. I was the first grandchild born overseas, away from Ethiopia, so she aptly named me “New World.” From my birth, until the time she left this earth, to her, “Addis Alem" was my name; to be totally honest, she was never very good at pronouncing my actual name in the first place.
My mother’s mother called me “Mewded.” In the same way as my father’s mother, she called me this for as long as I could remember. It translates to “to love”, but more loosely means, “love." I was her very first grandchild and a special milestone in her life.
In the end, creating each album is a personal journey for me and MéVen was no different. I wanted to feel out every aspect of my life from top to bottom and put that in the album. "Negn" hit me like a ton of bricks, a sort of stream of consciousness, as I was freestyling lyrics in my mother-tongue of Amharic. The type of person I wanted to be was being told to me all along. Hidden in the names bestowed upon me by my grandmothers was a message that gives me the confidence to seek out and realize my path. I am here to lead others into a new world with love. I am here to be brave enough to step in front of my fears and introduce ideas that others may be too afraid to introduce. It's a work in progress but I finally understand the type of person I am meant to be and how I will make my mark upon this world. I am.