All I knew about Ethiopia was from a few records that I like, as well as what I read about the famine. But you get there and it's another world. It's filled with art and music and poetry and intellectuals and writers - all kinds of people.
I grew up with all these old jazz guys in the '70s in L.A., and they grew up idolizing Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Lester Young - all of these incredible musicians.
When I was growing up, in L.A., I went to these schools, Fairfax High School, Bancroft Junior High School, and they had great music departments. I always played in the orchestra, the jazz band, the marching band.
I went to school and studied music for a year at USC, which unlocked a bunch of doors for me in terms of my relationship to music.