man seated in front of keyboard and computer screen and music speakers

Nhatty Man was a recipient in the first round of the Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative.

Tell us about you and your creative work.

I am an Ethiopian singer and producer based in Melbourne. My music is a mix of Ethiopian roots, reggae and Afrobeat. I self-produced my last album, Man Vol. 2, and released it in December 2017. It was a huge success in Ethiopia and around the worldwide diaspora and has allowed me to spend the last few years touring regularly to Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and throughout the USA.

How has coronavirus impacted on your life and work?

I was set to spend 2020 touring to the United States and Africa. I had a huge homecoming show planned in Ethiopia and I was so excited to go back to perform for my people and see my family after 7 years separated from them. It has been very tough knowing it will be some time until I am able to do this. My main income is international touring, so I am having to reassess how to now support myself and my family through my music.

How are you coping or responding at this time?

I am trying to finish my next album by the end of the year so that I have content to upload online and monetize. I have been fortunate to receive YouTube monetization from some of my music videos, which has allowed some income to flow in. I understand that in lieu of live performance, monetizing our online content will be important for artists. This has given me some inspiration to get busy writing my album, however, I do find that my worry for the world, for Ethiopia, my family and my people does make it hard to write music.

Do you envisage new creative sector opportunities emerging from this crisis?

Since the digitalisation of music, artists have become reliant on live performance as their primary income stream. As we are seeing, this lack of diversity in income generation makes us incredibly vulnerable to global shocks like COVID-19. I think that we must reclaim the digital space, to make it a place where we can make money. Ticketed and well produced live streams are an example of a model that could develop and continue post COVID.

How has your recent Sustaining Creative Workers grant supported your practice?

The grant has taken some pressure off the lack of income coming in. It has allowed me some peace of mind to begin writing and recording my next album. I feel very fortunate to have received this support and thank Creative Victoria greatly.

In three words, offer your fellow creatives some encouragement or advice.

This will pass

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