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Merlin Zapravo & His View About the United States’ Evolving Music Industry




The singers that top the charts today and produce hit tracks wouldn’t have received the same response if they were to make their debut in the industry today. Just like everything else around the world, even the music industry is under a revolution. Not only because of the changing demographics but also because of ‘too much happening’ in the industry.”  Thoughts of Merlin Zapravo when he was asked about the situation of the United States’ music industry.

Merlin Zapravo, an emerging music artist, is a man who has faced innumerable challenges and failures to reach where he stands today. His album, “Certified Baller,” released in 2019, which caught the attention of music enthusiasts from all around the world. His track, “Green Day,” showed the world that Merlin Zapravo had what it takes to excel in the music industry.

After talking to him, it was clear that Merlin would not have faced the same struggles if he had launched a decade earlier. He believes that most of the artists that the audience is so in love with, might not have made it to this point if they had launched their careers today.

Many people have asked me if my Spanish-Haitian nationality was a reason for my struggles, but my answer has always been no. Music is one of those industries that does not differentiate between people based on their color, culture, religion, caste, or nationality. Music brings people together. However, what makes it difficult for true talent to emerge is because of the market saturation.

Merlin Zarpavo’s birth name is Hans Ashté Tondereau, and he was born in Valencia, Spain, on May 25, 1980. He found his passion for music when he was 16 years old. He met Jean Louis Phenol, owner of the Raspo Boyz, through his neighbor. It was when he first realized that music was something he wanted to do in life. He developed his skills while spending time with Jean and then joined “FLEX” in 2001. It was a trio, and it released the first track with Hans in 2002. The song was “Tet Anba,” which was a meringue, which the Haitians call Kanaval. Another song was released “Prechi-Precha,” featuring Hans, and soon after this, FLEX disbanded.

“After the FLEX disbanded, I decided to work on my solo career. I began working on my songwriting skills as I wanted to come as a strong solo artist.”

In 2006, “Johanne,” the first single by Hans, was released under the stage name, “Ashte.” When he was asked as to why he chose Ashte as his professional name, he replied, “I was born to a Cuban-Haitian mother and my Cuban grandfather, who everyone called Axion, named me Ashte. This is the name of the most famous fictional wizards of all time. My mother gave birth to me when she was just a teenager and had to struggle a lot. This is why my grandfather named me Ashte, and I thought it would serve as a great stage name.

After his first song was released, Ashte was signed by Green Ocean Media, Jean Wesley Emannuel’s record label. “I was introduced to Jean Wesley Emannuel, through my friend Michael who was a filmmaker. He helped me get one of the biggest opportunities in my life. I was asked to move to the United States to establish my career.

He worked with Green Ocean Media and released his album, “Apres la Pluie.” In 2012. Unfortunately, his album could not impress the world, and his opportunity turned into a nightmare. He recalls his experience saying, “I was hopeful and sure that this was an opportunity for me, this was the time for my success, but I did not bring the factor of saturation in my consideration, …, it was a major setback in my life, but I could not give up, not just yet!”

He agrees that his things did not go well because the industry was too saturated. He was confident about his craft, and he was not ready to give up. This is how he described his life after the release of his album, “When I could not figure things out, I decided to settle in Manhattan and began offering dancing lessons. During this time, I also worked as a fitness trainer, appeared as a guest teacher for dance studios.

He visited several fitness facilities, including Haiti, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Cuba, and New York City. Ashte also appeared multiple tryouts, but nothing seemed to work. He states, “I barely made a good living in New York City; sometimes, I could not even pay for food. But I invested in myself and acquired fitness certifications.

However, this was the end of his suffering, as in 2019, he transformed from “Ashte,” to “Merlin Zapravo,” giving the world some amazing tracks that redefined Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop/Rap, Reggae Dancehall genres. After his successful album, “Certified Baller,” he released some impressive hits, including “Homie King,” “Hello Mama,” “Believe in Me,” and “Nashville Butterfly.” Moreover, he was signed by “Left Right Music Group.”

“I believe that things would have been different for me, and my struggles would have been less if I had stepped into the market a little earlier. But I grateful for all my struggles and failure as they have made me the Merlin Zapravo the world has come to know.”

The 41-year-old singer and songwriter, dancer, actor, and producer, is a notable entity in the world of music. Not only because of silvery lyrics and captivating vibe but due to the struggles and challenges, he fought to turn his dream into reality! 

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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“The Firing Squad”: I Cried Buckets of Tears




Sitting in the dimly lit theater, I had no idea what to expect as the opening credits of “The Firing Squad” began to roll. Little did I know that I was about to embark on an emotional journey that would leave me reaching for tissues and struggling to catch my breath.

The film follows the true story of three Christians facing execution by firing squad in a third world country. Directed by Timothy A. Chey, it features a stellar cast including James Barrington, Kevin Sorbo, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Each actor brings their character to life with such authenticity and depth that it’s impossible not to be fully immersed in their struggles and triumphs.

As the plot unfolded, I found myself drawn into a world of despair and desperation, but also one of unwavering faith and hope. The characters’ journey from darkness to light, from despair to redemption, resonated with me on a deeply personal level. I couldn’t help but be moved by their courage and resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity.

But it was the performances that truly stole the show. James Barrington’s portrayal of the protagonist’s internal turmoil was nothing short of mesmerizing, while Kevin Sorbo and Cuba Gooding Jr. delivered powerhouse performances that left me in awe.

And then there was the message of the film—that no matter how bleak the circumstances may seem, there is always hope. That even in our darkest moments, faith has the power to transform lives and bring about redemption. It was a message that hit me like a ton of bricks, leaving me with tears streaming down my face and a renewed sense of purpose.

As the credits rolled and the lights came up, I found myself struggling to put into words the impact that “The Firing Squad” had on me. All I could manage was, “I cried buckets of tears.” And I wasn’t alone. As I looked around the theater, I saw others wiping their eyes and exchanging emotional glances.

In the end, “The Firing Squad” wasn’t just a movie—it was an experience. An experience that left me feeling inspired, uplifted, and profoundly grateful for the power of cinema to touch the soul. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

The movie is set to premiere in the theatres worldwide on August 2, 2024. And this is definitely a must watch movie, reminding people of the strength of faith.

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