In early 2018, we had an interview with Amaarae, and we forgot to record… but it still makes for a great story.
Raw, creative and fluid: A lover of everything sensual, the mind of a free spirit, and the wisdom of an old soul trapped in a new world order of electronic music and vibrations, Amaarae is a beautiful mind. I was left in a trace picking out daisies in the garden of a world she had managed to paint for me during our two hour conversation. Still doesn’t explain why I forgot to hit record at the start of the interview. Let’s hope my co-anchor “Quacy” was taking notes and not texting during our thrilling session.
For any preconceived notions about Amaarae, forget what you know ( “ctrl+alt+del” ), because the Atlanta Georgia trap-lover, Ghanaian rapper-singer, beat maker like Kanye and soul singer like Sade, will shock you each time you think you’ve figured her out.
“I thrive for perfection so much I will ruin a good thing”, this was her response when I asked her what goes into her creative process? In the calmness of spirits, her legs crossed on the lawn chair, she began to explain herself.
“I make everything myself; from the beat, to writing my own content and choosing the people who will work on my songs. I will go here to work with the best drummer, and there to work with the best voice coach and come back here to write my music. Just like an orchestra, I compile all these great works to form the perfect symphony. With that being said, sometimes I can’t help that little voice within me which wants me to do better. I strive for perfection so much I will ruin a good thing.”
“It’s the gift and the curse”, she continues, “It’s like you are wired to make everything around you perfect even the little things around me. I’m extremely clean and I cannot work or go through my creative process if I don’t feel like I have at least a little control over my immediate environment. Sometimes I almost feel sorry for the people I work with, we will build and destroy till they get it right.”
At this point, I was thinking to myself: ‘she’s either crazy or a genius… but then again, which genius isn’t crazy’ I concluded.
Amaarae’s latest project Passionfruit Summers was recorded between separate time periods in her life. Initially, it was recorded as an outlet to deal with her ended relationship. But the EP was mastered, edited and mixed with the joyful bliss she found in her new relationship. Talk about the perfect eye in the storm.
And it sounds so good, like you were having sex on a flaming bed surrounded by a pool of sharks. It is as sensual, as it is deep like a feather to your ear with the whispering sounds of the goddess Aphrodite.
Be it the alternating colors of her hair or drawing her inspiration from men’s fashion it’s clear that Amaarae matches her style to her personal vendetta.
“I do things ultimately because I want to, not because I’m told to and this translates from music to my style,” said the musician, “The color of my hair is a lot of things; it could be my mood or a simple fact that I’m bored with that particular look.”
Amaarae’s fashion sense is also drawn from her inspiration from men’s clothing.
Why? I probed, already intrigued by whatever answer she would give.
“Because I like my style to be a fusion of both men’s and women’s fashion,” she answered, “I may pick a piece from a men’s catalogue and another from a women’s magazine and marry the two to create Amaarae’s unique style.”
With her crazy hair, sensual lyrics and distinct styles, I wondered what her family’s reaction to her decision to do musician had been.
“In the beginning, they were like what is this girl talking about? But I did it anyways. Now I can’t believe that my grandmother knows the words to some of the lyrics to my songs and actually comes to my concerts and sings along.” She says.
“Funny thing is that my mother told me she used to want to be a singer, but never had the chance to because of the negative social connotations that surround women who were in the entertainment business at the time. My grandmother told me once: ‘Ama where do you think your get you style from? I too use to color my hair back in the day!;”
In the deepest of breath with an undertone of confidence in her voice she said, “It’s like I’m living the lives of these powerful women who always wish they could do this, but never did. It’s as if I’m a living representation of the dreams of these women who literally birthed me into existence.”
Amaarae is in an element of her own.
Simply put; “she sips hail under the tree which holds up the sky”. Anything which does not agree with her soul will get cut.
Her hair was once long, it didn’t match her current element so you guess what: “it got cut”. She hated her rap voice, so she switched for a soulful sound. In her words “I sing now like I were making rap. There are so many hidden meanings and double entendres to the songs I make now. If I were to really break down my latest project Passion fruit summer, you would be amazed.”
To me, it sounded crooked for her to think she didn’t like her rap voice. To her, it was pretty straight, she made the transition without thinking twice.
For all those like myself who were fans of her rap music back in the day when she used to be in the group Crooked Straight, a close attention to her current body of work will feel as thought you were being told a story with music in the most colored soulful rap you’ve ever heard. She never lost her rap style, she just evolved her music.
“Top 5, Top 5, Top 5, Top 5”- (Reference Drake). Here is her top 5 rappers and vocalist and my personal reactions.
What would you say are your top 5, favorite rappers?
Missy Eliot (I get that)
Foxy Brown (I really get that)
T.I (T.I???), Yeah T.I until paper trail. (Interesting)
Jay z (it’s your boy H.O.V)
Young Thug. (You’ve got some explaining to do missy)
& your top 5 singers?
Billie Holiday (oh, that jazz)
Sade (smooth operator)
Lead singer of “protishead” (I have to Google that)
Anthony kiedis (and that too)
My final vocalist, will be hmmmm, between
Antony Bennet (Oh boy another Anthony)
And Antonio Carlos Jobim (??? Must be that Casanova music)
As our thrilling conversation drew closer to its end I just had to know one more thing.
“What will you say will be the moment Amaarae has made it?”
She rolled the answer off her tongue with so much ease, as if it were a question she had been waiting her entire life to be asked. In the shortest of breath she said it all in one sentence; “The moment I make it is when I can score the sound track to an animation, which my children will be present to watch.”
With that came the close to our thrilling conversation with one of Ghana’s future Grammy winners Amaarae.
“I can’t wait to hear the music she makes in the future.” murmured Quacy my counterpart as we drove back home. We feel empty during the drive, as though our mind had been engaged and all of a sudden lost connection.
Although satisfied, it felt as though something was missing. And then realization hit harder than Kendrick’s verse on Control; I didn’t hit record during the entire interview.