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Artist Profile

Herman Mehari

Generative Performing Fellow (2014)

Composer, Music, Performance
Statement of Work

My generative work is based on music composition and trumpet performance. I look beyond genre during the writing process, because of my belief that doing so allows me to draw upon all of my influences as well as to open up the potential to reach a wider audience aesthetically. Although the work may be presented using certain labels, my intent is for it to be far-reaching and to push the audience towards looking beyond labels. This idea is not new in the art world, but it is central to my outlook on music and informs my writing intentionally and subliminally.

I am as much influenced by a variety of genres as I am by my experiences with people. Being in tune with the relationships I have with people in my life has allowed me to draw upon ideas that I feel can make my music more relatable. Themes and inspirations for my songs have included ideas such as collective experiences, friendship, abandonment, spirituality, and love. In addition, my compositions are always written with specific musicians in mind for performance. This creates a mutualistic relationship in which the pieces are being realized exactly how I hear them, and the performers are playing to the strengths of their own voice.

But the real generativity of my work lies in my hope for what will happen once it’s played. I work hard on my music because I believe that really good music can reach people where they are and move them. Too many people — especially those my age and younger ¬ just assume that music will always be around. In one sense, they’re right: bad music, indifferently made, is pumped into almost every situation we’re in, from shopping to standing in an elevator. The best music is live, and reminds audiences we’re all alive, and that music is there to help us remember that.

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