Meklit Hadero, known simply as "Meklit", is a singer and songwriter based in San Francisco, California. She is known for her soulful performing style, and for combining jazz, folk, and East African influences in her music. Born in Ethiopia, she was raised in the U.S. and attended college at Yale, where she studied political science.
Shortly after graduation, Meklit moved to San Francisco and became immersed in the city's thriving arts scene. "[Meklit] is an artistic giant in the early stages," wrote a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle after witnessing an early performance in the city's Mission District. "She sings of fragility, hope and self-empowerment, and exudes all three. What's irresistible, above all, is her cradling, sensuous, gentle sound. She is stunning."
Named a TED Global Fellow in 2009, Meklit has served as an artist-in-residence at New York University, the De Young Museum, and the Red Poppy Art House. Currently a fellow of the Wildflowers Institute, Meklit has also completed musical commissions for the San Francisco Foundation and for theatrical productions staged by Brava! For Women in the Arts. She is the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, a group of Ethiopian artists in diaspora devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaborations with both traditional and contemporary artists there. As a Senior TED Fellow since 2011, she co-founded the Nile Project with Egyptian ethno-musicologist Mina Girgis and has since participated in 2 artist residencies (Aswan, 2013 and Uganda in 2014) uniting musicians from 11 countries all along the Nile Basin .
She continues to tour North America, and looks forward to her European release and touring in fall 2014 .
Two songs by Meklit Hadero were chosen by writer/director Tamar Halpern for her film Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life - “You and the Rain” and “Walk Up”.
Meklit has released five records to date. The first was a self-produced and released eight-song EP entitled Eight Songs (2008). The second, her first full-length LP, On a Day Like This..." released to wide critical acclaim in 2010 , was recorded at San Francisco's Closer Studios and produced by Eric Moffat and Unsound Recording. Hailed by Filter magazine for "[combining] New York jazz with West Coast folk and African flourishes, all bound together by Hadero's beguiling voice.". It won Meklit feature stories by NPR, PBS, and National Geographic. The San Francisco Chronicle called her " an artistic giant in the making " . She then ventured into a creative collaboration called CopperWire , along with two hip emcees also from the Ethiopian diaspora , Gabriel Teodros and Burntface . Together they created the first hip hop space opera , "Earthbound" which hit #5 in CMJ's hiphop charts . A complete change came with the 2012 release of her extraordinary harmonic duets with Oakland blues and soul crooner Quinn DeVeaux, simply titled Meklit & Quinn. The duo covered terrain as diverse as Arcade Fire (their version of "Tunnels" left many speechless with its simple beauty), Lou Reed, Neil Young and Stevie Wonder.
Now she makes yet another quantum leap, in her latest solo album "We Are Alive (Six Degrees Records) . Produced by sonic genius Eli Crews (best known for his work with tUnE-yArDs) , her inimitable composition talents and unique voice take infinite and inventive flight , from her jazz-standard sounding "A-Train" to the fiery build of "Waiting for Earthquakes" , weaving through a dark and tantalizing version of The Police classic "Bring On the Night" via her funky take on an Ethiopian tune, "Kemekem " (which she subtitles " I Like Your Afro!"), winding up with the grande finale, the declaration "We Are Alive". USA Today says, " Meklit delivers a sound all her own...(We Are Alive)gets even better with every listen ",
The San Francisco Bay Guardian (cover photo: http://www.sfbg.com/2014/03/18/rise-meklit-hadero) writes: "what sucks you in, what keeps your eyes and ears locked on Meklit, what makes an unselfconscious "Damn!" start to grow at the back of your mouth is her voice: lilting, sensuous, capable of the leap from staccato jazz-cat to honeyed songbird, she conveys both fragility and great strength in a single line."
And the Village Voice comments : "She's a blithe-voiced daughter of Joni who considers music a path to higher ground, with rest stops for the likes of Talking Heads and Lou Reed."We Are Alive (March 18, 2014, Six Degrees Records)
Meklit & Quinn - with Quinn DeVeaux (2012, Porto Franco Records)
Earthbound - with hip hop trio CopperWire (2012, Porto Franco Records)
On a Day Like This... (2010, Porto Franco Records)
Eight Songs - EP (2008, self-released)