Entrepreneur Interview Music

A TRUE Musical Experience

BOOMscat On Red Couch

Last week, I attended the official release party for BOOMscat’s Album The West Wing Project Live Ep. It was held at Mad Momos Beer and Deck Restaurant on 14th street in Northwest DC. I came rushing in all late because I had just left a dinner on the other side of DC but ironically, I believe I came right on time. I told my girl, who tagged along, that the place was going to be packed and don’t bother wearing heels; from what I’ve heard BOOMscat knows how to get a full house. So, it was no surprise when we came in and it was exactly that, a full house. We circled around the bar area and luckily found two seats. While in the mist of settling down, the crowd was shouting “give us more, give us more.”

Asha Santee (BOOM) and Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat), the beautiful duo of BOOMscat, are naturals. While on stage, they carried a normal conversation as if this was not a live performance but rather a causal day at rehearsal. Their energy, passion, and emotion spilled over into the crowd. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Not only did they deliver a five-star music experience but they gave us a show to be remembered. BOOMscat interacted with the audience, urging everyone to get in on it by asking “should we do another” as if the crowd could ever say no. I watched the entire set in “aw.”

Once they were done I had to snap back to reality, because if I wanted to speak to them I would have to beat the other fans who had come early and gotten good seats and had strategically placed themselves right by BOOMscat’s equipment.

The official name of the group is The Peace & Body Roll Duo BOOMscat and as their bio, from their website, states “together, they create a sound that ignites vulnerability, elevation and self-reflection.” I snagged the two ladies separately and was able to get you readers a little more of an insight on BOOMscat.


[A] “Why music?”

[P] “Because it is the thing that comes so natural to me and because I know every morning I will wake up and be able to do this thing and love it and do it with my entire heart because it is in me…I was born with it.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[P] “Ledisis! I think her voice is amazing, she is technical goddess, and I want to interact with her on a vocalist level.”


[A] “Why music?”

[Asha] “Because music is necessary for life…I can’t live without music I wouldn’t be here.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[Asha] “Erykah Badu, not questions asked. Her style, her freedom, and her passion with music – just the way she arranges music, it touches my soul and that is how I want to touch other people with my music.”

These virtuosic women are humble and passionate beyond measure. I truly believe that the music they create has the power to evoke emotion that would other wise go untapped. Do yourself a favor and support this dynamic duo. Download their album here: and visit their respective sites below.  Oh and if you wanted to know my favorite song is: #7 Closure. Get HIP!

This article is just a sample of what is to come from SDBUP & BOOMscat – full interview coming soon. Stay Tuned!

Connect with BOOMscat


Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Entrepreneur Events Inspiration Interview

“Am I too African to be American, too American to be African?”

As a child, children would blatantly ask me “what are you?” As a teenager, my peers would joke and say you are my African queen or Nubian princess. As an adult, I find myself tangled up in conversations about whether I am truly African-American, Black enough to be Black, or if I am too American to be African. Growing up in a city where there was a population of 6 Africans, which was my entire family, I never took the time to discuss my identity with anyone but my father. Thankfully my parents were always there to reinforce my Ethiopian-American identity. Being in the DC metropolitan area now, a place full of culture, I now know every first & second generation immigrant experiences this at some point in their life and Nadia Sasso is attacking identity head on.

photo (7)Beautiful, outspoken, and goal-orientated are all words that come to mind when describing, my new friend, Nadia Marie Sasso. This past week, in the midst of a random snow storm, I was able to sit down with Nadia at one of my favorite spots, Bus Boy and Poets in Arlington. She is the daughter of Sierra Leonean immigrants, a Maryland native, and currently resides in Pennsylvania. Pursuing a master’s degree and completing her thesis at Le High University, Nadia is the definition of versatile. Not only she is student but she is a brand curator, social entrepreneur, and digital storyteller. During our meet-up we laughed, we joked, and bonded over the similarities of our experiences of growing up in America. But for Nadia the topic of identity is not just for laughs but rather for research. As mentioned before Nadia is taking identity development by the horns, in producing a documentary, alongside cinematographer Corey Packer , on the ever so popular question “Am I too African to be American, too American to be African?”

She traces her interest in this topic back to a panel discussion at Bucknell University, where she attended undergrad. The panel consisted of generational immigrants that openly discussed their experiences in the United States. Not only did this panel steer her in the right direction but it gave her insight on a topic that has not been translated into film just yet. Nadia has found a way for her passion to be her thesis project. Her film, which includes in-depth interviews with women from different African backgrounds, will be the first of its kind that can be appreciated by all: academia, cultural enthusiasts, and the general public.

The film will debut this spring and to find out more about her projects or this particular film please visit: Make sure you subscribe to #SDBUP to find out when screenings in the DC area will occur!



Connect with Nadia Marie

Twitter: @iamnadiamarie| IG:iamnadiamarie| Website:

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Art Entrepreneur Music New Thursday Tunes

All Hail Queen Kyi

Hustling mix-tapes, promoting live performances, and free styling at the drop of a dime; are all common characteristics I have seen in many people, over the years, who are trying to make it in the music industry.  So, I have been a little hesitant to interview musicians because like so many they come and go, they literally give up on their dream without a fight but when I saw Queen Kyi perform her heart out, at the Above the Runway Fashion Show, I was struck by her presence. She rapped like it was all she knew how to do, she rapped like her life depended on it, and she rapped like she already had the record label waiting after the performance.

I had the chance to finally catch up with her this week, thanks to a connection with #NightsofDC, and there is so much substance to this young woman, below is our complete interview.  Enjoy!

photo 3

Astu: “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! I am super excited to learn more about you, let’s start with a little information about yourself. “

Queen: “I am 24 years old and I’m from PG Country, Maryland. I have been rapping since I was 13 years old and I believe that this is my future – there is no other option.”

Astu: “You mentioned you started rapping at 13, why rap and did you consider yourself a rapper then as well?”

Queen: “I didn’t own up to the title of a rapper until I was 18 or 19, it took me a while haha. I love music in general, and I have my mom to thank for that. Rhyming has always been something I was able to do and of course it all began as poetry. ”

Astu:”So I listened to the mix-tape and the tracks are dope. Tell me where did the stories come from? Also what continues to push you to pursue this?

Queen: “A lot of the songs are from personal experiences.  But don’t get me wrong a couple of the tracks are not things I have gone through, they are just observations of things our generation goes through. I would have to say that after I got back from serving overseas in Iraq, which was a about a year ago, I knew making music was it for me. My outlook on life was forever changed and I was not going to waste my talent.”

Astu: “Tell me, do you get nervous when you perform? And of course I have to ask do you ever feel intimated being a woman in a heavily male dominated profession?”

Queen:”Haha it’s weird but I like being the only girl at competitions or performances. I go in; I dominate, and remain humble. When I am performing I don’t really think about anything in particular, I just feed of the crowds energy and it’s almost like I go into this alter ego and I’m just bossing.”

Astu:”The very last track ‘Check Her Out’ you mention Nipsey Hussle as your inspiration. Why him?”

Queen: “There are many people who inspire me but Nipsey’s work ethic is what I admire about him the most. He came from nothing and is really out here doing it for him-self. He strives for ownership and that is what I want – I do not want to just sign to any record label and not have my say in anything, I want to be able to control my business. He sold his CD for 100 dollars, mind you it came with a lot of extra items i.e CD, tickets, shirts, but his fans are loyal and people bought it. All in all, I can respect his business mindset.”

Queen Kyi was nothing short of amazing. She is humble, goal-orientated, and business savvy and she is here to stay. Download the mix-tape and her top three, cause I forced her to choose just three to recommend, are ‘Came Up, ‘Saks 5th’, and ‘Lover Friend’.

Check out her mix-tape and download it here:

Connect with Queen Kyi


Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up