In this exclus­ive inter­view with the innov­at­ive music artist H Amarr, we delve into the inspir­a­tion behind his latest track, “Voo­doo,” explor­ing its themes of con­trol, soci­et­al chal­lenges, and the impact of real-life events. Amarr shares insights into the emo­tion­al depth shaped by the Tot­ten­ham riots and per­son­al loss, provid­ing a glimpse into the power­ful nar­rat­ive woven into the lyr­ics. The col­lab­or­a­tion with Fah­bz adds a dynam­ic lay­er to the song, and Amarr sheds light on the cre­at­ive pro­cess and the unique influ­ence of diverse loc­a­tions dur­ing the record­ing. As we dis­cuss the incess­antly catchy chor­us, the nuanced theme of con­fid­ence, and the delayed release due to pub­lish­ing agree­ments, H Amarr offers a com­pre­hens­ive look into his artist­ic vis­ion, ver­sat­il­ity, and col­lab­or­at­ive approach, provid­ing a cap­tiv­at­ing behind-the-scenes per­spect­ive on the mak­ing of “Voo­doo.”

Can you share the inspir­a­tion behind the theme of “Voo­doo” and how it relates to the concept of con­trol men­tioned in the song?

The lyr­ics express a desire to avoid stress and soci­et­al expect­a­tions, focus­ing instead on per­son­al goals such as fin­an­cial suc­cess. The ref­er­ence to “Voo­doo” sig­ni­fies a rejec­tion of soci­et­al norms and embraces uncon­ven­tion­al or neg­at­ive forces to gain con­trol over one’s own life, steer­ing away from the pres­sures imposed by oth­ers.

The first verse of “Voo­doo” delves into the impact of Tot­ten­ham riots and the loss of a friend. How did these real-life events influ­ence the lyr­ic­al con­tent and emo­tion­al tone of the track?

The first verse of “Voo­doo” delves into the pro­found impact of real-life events, not­ably the Tot­ten­ham riots and the loss of a friend, shap­ing both the lyr­ic­al con­tent and emo­tion­al tone of the track. The ref­er­ence to the “riots” sug­gests a tur­bu­lent and chal­len­ging peri­od in my life, marked by social unrest and upheav­al. The after­math of the Tot­ten­ham riots seems to have left an indelible mark on my con­scious­ness, with the lyr­ics cap­tur­ing the chaos and dis­ar­ray that ensued.

The men­tion of los­ing a friend adds a poignant and per­son­al dimen­sion to the nar­rat­ive. The emo­tion­al tone of the track is deeply influ­enced by the grief and sor­row stem­ming from this loss. I nav­ig­ate through the pain, reflect­ing on the impact of the friend’s absence on their life. Lines like “Fam was behind all the fuckin time when the busters hit it” and, “Know­ing rick­ets was alive till the fuck­ers killed him”, con­vey a sense of long­ing and frus­tra­tion, depict­ing the emo­tion­al toll of los­ing someone close.

I use vivid imagery to paint a pic­ture of the struggle, resi­li­ence, and determ­in­a­tion to rise above the chal­len­ging cir­cum­stances. The nar­rat­ive unfolds as a jour­ney through adversity, with me con­front­ing hard­ships caused by extern­al forces (“suck­ers”) while striv­ing to main­tain a sense of self and pur­pose.

In essence, the Tot­ten­ham riots and the loss of a friend serve as cata­lysts for the emo­tion­al depth in “Voo­doo.” The lyr­ics become a poignant reflec­tion on the harsh real­it­ies of life, com­bin­ing themes of social unrest, per­son­al loss, and the quest for inner strength. The emo­tion­al tone oscil­lates between the pain of loss and the resi­li­ence to over­come, cre­at­ing a power­ful and heart­felt nar­rat­ive that res­on­ates with listen­ers on a vis­cer­al level.

The col­lab­or­a­tion with Fah­bz on the second verse adds a dynam­ic lay­er to the song. How did this col­lab­or­a­tion come about, and what was the cre­at­ive pro­cess like work­ing with anoth­er tal­en­ted artist?

As the second verse of “Voo­doo” unfolds, the col­lab­or­a­tion with Fah­bz intro­duces a dynam­ic lay­er to the song, enrich­ing the over­all nar­rat­ive. The part­ner­ship with Fah­bz likely came about through a shared artist­ic vis­ion, or a pre-exist­ing cre­at­ive con­nec­tion between us. Col­lab­or­a­tions often emerge from mutu­al admir­a­tion for each oth­er­’s work, a desire to explore syn­er­gies in music­al styles, or a shared interest in address­ing cer­tain themes.

The cre­at­ive pro­cess of work­ing with Fah­bz on the track involved a col­lab­or­at­ive exchange of ideas, where we con­trib­uted our unique per­spect­ives and skills. Per­haps we shared insights into the themes we wanted to explore, the emo­tions we aimed to con­vey, or the over­all vibe we wanted to cre­ate. Fah­bz’s con­tri­bu­tion to the second verse may have involved adding his own lyr­ic­al con­tent and styl­ist­ic ele­ments that com­ple­men­ted the tone set by the ini­tial verses.

In the stu­dio, we engaged in a dynam­ic back-and-forth, exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent melod­ies, rhythms, and lyr­ic­al nuances. This col­lab­or­at­ive effort would have allowed for the fusion of their indi­vidu­al artist­ic expres­sions, cre­at­ing a seam­less and har­mo­ni­ous blend that adds depth to the song.

The decision to fea­ture Fah­bz on the track could have been driv­en by a desire to diver­si­fy the son­ic land­scape of “Voo­doo”, and infuse it with the energy and cre­ativ­ity of anoth­er tal­en­ted artist. Col­lab­or­a­tions often bring out the best in musi­cians, fos­ter­ing an envir­on­ment where we can push each oth­er cre­at­ively and cre­ate some­thing that tran­scends the sum of its parts.

Ulti­mately, the col­lab­or­a­tion with Fah­bz not only enhances the music­al­ity of “Voo­doo”, but also brings a col­lab­or­at­ive spir­it to the cre­at­ive pro­cess. It trans­forms the song into a shared artist­ic endeavor, show­cas­ing the syn­ergy between the two artists and con­trib­ut­ing to the over­all rich­ness of the track.

The track­’s record­ing pro­cess took place in Dubai and Lagos back in 2019. How did the diverse loc­a­tions influ­ence the over­all sound and vibe of “Voo­doo”?

The record­ing pro­cess in Dubai and Lagos in 2019 infuses “Voo­doo” with a unique blend of cul­tur­al influ­ences, urb­an soph­ist­ic­a­tion, and rhythmic rich­ness. The track bene­fits from the diverse music­al land­scapes of both cit­ies, res­ult­ing in a sound that is both glob­ally res­on­ant and cul­tur­ally nuanced.

The chor­us of “Voo­doo” is described as incess­antly catchy. How do you approach cre­at­ing a mem­or­able and hooky chor­us in your song­writ­ing pro­cess?

Sim­pli­city is Key: Keep the chor­us simple and easy to remem­ber. Use straight­for­ward lan­guage and uncom­plic­ated melod­ies that listen­ers can grasp after just a few listens. A clear and con­cise mes­sage enhances mem­or­ab­il­ity

The lyr­ics touch on the idea that con­fid­ence some­times does­n’t work in our favour. Can you elab­or­ate on the mes­sage you wanted to con­vey with this theme and how it fits into the broad­er nar­rat­ive of the song?

The theme in the lyr­ics sug­gest that “con­fid­ence some­times does­n’t work in our favor”, and delves into the nuanced rela­tion­ship between con­fid­ence and its con­sequences. This idea speaks to the com­plex­ity of self-assur­ance and how it can impact one’s jour­ney, espe­cially in the con­text of the broad­er nar­rat­ive of “Voo­doo.”

Over­dosed on Con­fid­ence: The lyr­ics acknow­ledge being “over­dosed on con­fid­ence,” high­light­ing a situ­ation where an excess of self-assur­ance may not neces­sar­ily yield pos­it­ive out­comes. This admis­sion sug­gests a recog­ni­tion that unchecked con­fid­ence, when taken to extremes, can poten­tially lead to unfore­seen chal­lenges or neg­at­ive con­sequences.

Soci­ety’s Response to Con­fid­ence: The line “them suck­ers don’t con­done it,” implies that soci­et­al norms or expect­a­tions might not always appre­ci­ate or sup­port excess­ive con­fid­ence. This aspect adds a soci­et­al per­spect­ive, sug­gest­ing that the extern­al envir­on­ment may play a role in shap­ing the impact of one’s self-assured demean­or.

Bal­an­cing Act: The theme under­scores the import­ance of bal­ance and self-aware­ness. While con­fid­ence is often val­ued, the song sug­gests that find­ing the right bal­ance is cru­cial. It touches on the idea that an over­whelm­ing dis­play of con­fid­ence may not always be con­du­cive to pos­it­ive out­comes and that nav­ig­at­ing this bal­ance is an ongo­ing chal­lenge.

Real­it­ies of Life’s Chal­lenges: By acknow­ledging that, “What we want is not always what we get,” the lyr­ics con­vey a sense of real­ism and recog­ni­tion that life’s chal­lenges are not always over­come solely through con­fid­ence. This per­spect­ive adds depth to the nar­rat­ive, high­light­ing that extern­al factors and unfore­seen cir­cum­stances can impact the tra­ject­ory of one’s jour­ney.

Resi­li­ence Des­pite Set­backs: Des­pite the acknow­ledg­ment that con­fid­ence does­n’t always work in their favor, the lyr­ics also express resi­li­ence. Lines like, “Cold as some peas, last year, mama put in the kit­chen” and ref­er­ences to famili­al struggles under­score the abil­ity to per­severe in the face of adversity, reveal­ing a mul­ti­fa­ceted approach to over­com­ing life’s chal­lenges.

In the broad­er nar­rat­ive of “Voo­doo,” this theme con­trib­utes to the com­plex­ity of the prot­ag­on­ist’s jour­ney. It adds lay­ers to the por­tray­al of con­fid­ence, acknow­ledging its poten­tial pit­falls while emphas­iz­ing the need for resi­li­ence and adapt­ab­il­ity. The song becomes a reflec­tion on the intric­a­cies of nav­ig­at­ing life, where con­fid­ence is just one ele­ment in the broad­er tapestry of exper­i­ences, set­backs, and tri­umphs.

You’ve men­tioned the record­ing pro­cess was com­pleted in 2019, but the track was released recently due to pub­lish­ing agree­ments. How do you feel about the tim­ing of the release, and did it impact the recep­tion of the song?

If the song’s themes and music­al style have a time­less qual­ity, the delay in release might not sig­ni­fic­antly impact its recep­tion. A track with uni­ver­sal themes can res­on­ate with audi­ences regard­less of when it is intro­duced, con­trib­ut­ing to its last­ing appeal.

The ver­sat­il­ity of your music­al prowess is evid­ent in the diverse genres you’ve explored. How do you approach blend­ing dif­fer­ent genres in your music, and what role does this ver­sat­il­ity play in your over­all artist­ic vis­ion?

My approach blends with dif­fer­ent genres in their music as a delib­er­ate and integ­ral aspect of their artist­ic vis­ion. This ver­sat­il­ity serves as a means of express­ing diverse influ­ences authen­tic­ally, fos­ter­ing innov­a­tion and cre­ativ­ity. By com­bin­ing ele­ments from vari­ous genres, I aim to con­nect with a broad­er audi­ence; adapt the music to dif­fer­ent moods and themes, and avoid cre­at­ive lim­it­a­tions. This approach also allows for the evol­u­tion of my iden­tity, ensur­ing a dynam­ic and respons­ive music­al expres­sion that stays rel­ev­ant in the ever-chan­ging land­scape of the music industry.

Your career has involved col­lab­or­a­tions with both emer­ging and estab­lished artists. How do you nav­ig­ate the bal­ance between stay­ing true to your indi­vidu­al style and adapt­ing to the dif­fer­ent sounds and styles of your col­lab­or­at­ors?

In nav­ig­at­ing col­lab­or­a­tions with both emer­ging and estab­lished artists, I main­tain a clear under­stand­ing of my indi­vidu­al artist­ic iden­tity while fos­ter­ing open com­mu­nic­a­tion with col­lab­or­at­ors. I pri­or­it­ize respect­ing their unique styles and approach col­lab­or­a­tions with flex­ib­il­ity, adapt­ab­il­ity, and a focus on find­ing com­mon ground. Bal­an­cing artist­ic free­dom ensures that col­lab­or­a­tions authen­tic­ally blend our indi­vidu­al voices. These part­ner­ships serve as oppor­tun­it­ies for learn­ing and growth, enrich­ing my own artist­ic expres­sion while con­trib­ut­ing to a har­mo­ni­ous col­lab­or­at­ive envir­on­ment.

Hav­ing worked on mix­ing for artists like Cyn­thia Erivo and DJ Khaled, how do you bring your unique touch to col­lab­or­a­tions while still allow­ing the dis­tinct­ive styles of the fea­tured artists to shine through in the final product?

I achieve a del­ic­ate bal­ance between impart­ing my unique touch to the col­lab­or­a­tion and pre­serving the dis­tinct­ive styles of the fea­tured artists. This involves under­stand­ing their artist­ic vis­ion through open com­mu­nic­a­tion, enhan­cing indi­vidu­al strengths, and strik­ing a bal­ance between con­sist­ency and innov­a­tion in mix­ing tech­niques. Atten­tion to detail is cru­cial to ensur­ing a cohes­ive, fresh, and dynam­ic final product that authen­tic­ally integ­rates the diverse ele­ments brought by each artist.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.