With all the preparation and energy that goes into it, playing a single venue is challenging enough for musicians. Jedidiah Wondwossen, a hip-hop and rap performer better known by his stage name Jemberu Demeke, was aware of how challenging it was to organize live events but still made the unthinkable decision to play 10 different venues in one night.
“The idea came to us about a year ago, I believe, and at the time it was a very ambitious idea, and we jokingly passed it by thinking that doing 10 shows in one night would be really difficult,” Jemberu explained. “It took nearly a year to make that happen.”
Jemberu and his team collaborated with Arada Beer and selected 10 different locations to make the dream a reality.
“The entire point of these ten shows was to give people the experience of touring with us and being able to experience different vibes, crowds, and sounds,” he explained.
The types of people and energy vary depending on the location; there are club people and a calmer crowd that hangs out in lounges and bars. Jemberu intended to entertain these various crowds in a single night.
Arada, in collaboration with Jemberu’s record label, Meedo Records, decided to turn this experience into a documentary to preserve the night, with a camera crew set up to record the entire show from start to finish.
On this journey, the artist also prepared a tour bus for his devoted fans and followers.
“Through social media, we reached out to people who have been supporting me since the beginning, inviting them to come along and be a part of the experience,” he said.
Jemberu expressed concern that his fans would become tired as the night progressed. “But I saw that they were just as excited to be a part of this entire night.”
The artist, accompanied by his team and fans, moved from one venue to the next throughout the night.
The venues included calmer locations for his first five performances, which took place earlier in the evening, and as the night progressed, they went to clubs that hosted Addis’ late-nighters.
Jemberu believes that a more diverse song list would be beneficial on a night like this. “Because I only had one album, I had to remix and remake the majority of my music so that I could perform a variety of music. I was able to increase the number of songs from eleven to twenty-something.”
He says he wanted to demonstrate to the audience his character, energy, and versatility by performing in each of the venues. Jemberu, as the sole performer throughout the night, set out on the journey fearful that his energy would run out soon.
However, the response he received from his audience provided him with the energy he required to complete all ten shows.
“As I went from one venue to the next, I could feel myself tiring and losing energy, but as soon as I got on stage, the response I got from the crowd in each venue was able to revive my energy. It was a really amazing and out-of-this-world experience,” he said.
The artist believes it was the first time he had complete control of a show. “On my other shows, I usually operate on autopilot and do whatever feels right. On these shows, I was able to put many of my ideas into action, which gave me a sense of accomplishment.”
Despite the fact that the event was a success, Jemberu does not believe he would do something similar again.
“It might not have been as difficult for me because I only performed, but organizing and managing something like this is extremely difficult, so I don’t think I’ll do it again.”
The upcoming documentary, whose release date yet to be disclosed, will look at the night and his fans’ journey from one venue to the next, as well as the 10-different shows in one night experience.