10 Questions With Amaarae, The Genre-Bending Artist On The Brink Of Superstardom
Upon first watching the music video for Amaarae’s “Leave Me Alone,” you’ll probably feel like you’ve dropped a tab of acid. In actual fact, a cartoonified Amaarae appears to be on a rather bad trip herself, as she falls into a neon-lit, dystopian universe. It’s a land where people’s faces melt into slime and lollypops come with teeth (creepy stuff, indeed). The only release from this nightmarish scenario is Amaaarae’s sweet vocals which coo over a hazy, tropical beat. The creation of this limitless universe with illustrator Gianluigi Carella – who has worked with Prada, Gucci and Fenty – was the songstress’ answer to charging forward on her journey to superstardom in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Growing up between Accra in Ghana, Atlanta, Georgia and New Jersey, Amaaarae has established a cross-cultural sound that dips into a melting pot of genres. This is a reflection of her own musical favourites growing up – fangirling over everyone from Marilyn Manson to Kelis. “I’ve lived in quite a few places but I always say this – Atlanta has my heart,” she says. “That’s where I really experienced truly unique music for the first time. I moved there right when southern rap was on the rise and gosh, what a time!”
Since releasing her debut EP, Passionfruit Summers, back in 2017, Amaarae has earned a pretty impressive list of industry fans thus far. Everyone from Burberry and Marni to Bella Hadid have all showed love for the rising star. She’s currently in the process of boxing off her next full-length project, due to come out later in the year. Until then, bask in Amaarae’s glory as we ask her 10-tastic questions:
1. If you could duet with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
“Alive: I would love to do a track with Gucci Mane, I love him so much or Marilyn Manson – that guy is incredible. Dead: I can see me and Billie Holiday killing it on a record!”
2. Where is your favourite place to perform live?
“In my shower haha! That’s when I’m most comfortable and free.”
3. If you had to describe your next project in three words, what would they be?
“CRAZY, SEXY, COOL.”
4. What has been your go-to look whilst making the project?
“I’ve grown out my hair so I love rocking the braids now and the mini twists. I’m feeling like the lady Lenny Kravitz these days.”
5. What’s one album which had the biggest impact on you growing up?
“It’s between D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Nelly’s Country Grammar. Two very different albums. But with Voodoo, man, that f**king funk, that soul, that off-kilter hip-hop that D’Angelo was able to channel. It can never be replicated. With Country Grammar, I just love how Nelly and his clique came in on some really country-fried shit – the grills, the big body Caddy’s and Chevys. The girls in the video doing the chicken head. Pure SOUTHERN OPULENCE.”
6. What’s the best thing about being in the music industry right now?
“I love the support I’m getting from my team. Shout out to Team Amaarae and our extended family at Platoon.”
7. What’s the worst?
“This corona messed up a lot of money moves I was about to make lol but inshallah we still striving.”
8. What’s been your go-to lockdown meal?
“Love me some Jollof rice and tuna salad.”
9. If you could only keep one item from your current wardrobe, which would it be?
“I have this incredible vintage coat that just spells ‘LUXURY’.”
10. If you could have any designer completely redesign your wardrobe, who would it be?
“Riccardo Tisci call me! Demna Gvasalia call me!”
“Leave Me Alone” is available on all major streaming platforms now.