"Honey is for the ladies that have that Je Ne Sais Quoi"
Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter Amaal has returned with a hypnotic, new song and visual for “Honey,” the first single off her highly-anticipated sophomore EP Milly, set to release this fall. The Dan LeMoyne-directed video captures Amaal’s transcendent alter ego Milly, an unapologetic version of herself that embraces intimacy and female autonomy without fear of shame or judgement. She physically and figuratively awakens with slow, jolted movements, shedding old inhibitions and welcoming a sense of sexual liberation considered explicitly taboo in her conservative Muslim community.Amaal’s music transcends language and religion and culture, tapping into the kind fundamental humanity and search for self that binds us all. She writes with a vivid sensuality, reveling in the power of both physical and emotional touch, and her performances are visceral to match, delivered with a mesmerizing intimacy that hints at everything from FKA twigs and Kelela to SZA and Jhené Aiko. More than anything, her songs are quietly revelatory works of self-actualization, bold, intoxicating declarations of female empowerment that, by their very existence, stand as radical acts of feminine liberation.
The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced to flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative structures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. We sat down with Amaal to find our a bit more about her musical journey and the reason behind her latest saucy new single 'Honey'.
NEO: How long have you been making music for?
AMAAL: I started singing in High school, I was always the girl free styling with her friends. It actually started of as poetry then I started to sing what I was writing.
NEO: How has your musical journey been as a Somali-Canadian singer?
AMAAL: There was a Singer/Rapper at time who was from the same background as me and two other singers so singing was not the most common career choice and it was very scary. There was criticism because what I am doing is see as taboo, the backlash was not only online but from certain family members too. It was defiantly a lot of added pressure but on the flip side there was a lot of love from these girls who would thank me for putting myself out there and give them hope to put themselves out there too.
NEO: What was the reason behind the title of your latest release 'Honey'?
AMAAL: The last project I had was coming from a very insecure and sad place, I was still trying to find myself. I felt like I had this pressure to only talk about a certain music. I felt like I could only talk about conscious music. I had been in love, I had had my heartbroken and so many other things going on in my life that I couldn't talk about so it got the point where I was like I do not care any more and started to sing more about what I was experiencing. With 'Honey' I went to the studio that day and I was feeling very confident almost cocky, sexy, empowered and I really wanted to create and write music from a place of being a boss and being enough. I just wanted to talk about sauce I had, the Je ne sais quoi, the magic I felt I had that day.
NEO: Which R&B artists globally would you love to collaborate with?
AMAAL: Of the top of my head Kehlani. Im obsessed with her music and I love what she stands for as a person she is an activist in her own right. She is always raising awareness and I think its important to be able to have a platform and do good with it, it defiantly resonates with me.
NEO: Who is you biggest inspiration?
AMAAL: It's my Mom and Dad at the core of it. They came from a place that was their home and over night there was a civil war and they had to move. There is 10 of us in total and to do what they did is s inspirational and keeps me going everyday.
NEO: What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
AMAAL: I feel like it's a constant journey of emotions, it's almost like writing. diary. Without music I don't know If I would be able to be brave to and be the person that I truly wanted to be.
NEO: What 3 words would your friends use to describe you as?
AMAAL: Sensitive, Self-aware and Silly especially with my friends they get to see the goofy side of me.
NEO: If you were a snack what would you be and why?
AMAAL: Well since we are talking about honey I think I would be chocolate dipped with honey or caramel dipped honey.
NEO: For your listeners/followers what advice would you give them?
AMAAL: Having the experience of being on our own and having your own independence and to be able to do what you want to do in life and making your parents proud
NEO: Let us know where to find you on social media