ÁMANI TALKS ABOUT NEW EP “IT RAINS IN HEAVEN” AND MORE [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
BY BRENESSA ROACH | SEPTEMBER 19, 2023
Introducing Ámani, a Filipino-Black R&B singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, United States. She debuted on October 27th, 2017 with the single “Selfless” which has garnered over 99K streams on Spotify. Since her debut, she released her debut EP Tbh. on November 30th, 2018, followed by the single “Lemon Tree” in March 2021.
She took a two year hiatus from releasing music and came back this year with the single “Reason” on July 29th. This was the first pre-release track for her second EP It Rains In Heaven which released today at midnight.
Behind The Beat had the opportunity to sit down with Ámani to discuss her musical journey, the meaning of her new EP, her sound and her plans for the future.
Can you introduce yourself?
Ámani: Hi, I’m Ámani 🤍
How did your musical journey begin?
Ámani: I’ve been performing and singing since I was 3 years old – every family gathering and church event, for hospitals and nursing homes.
What musicians or artists inspired you to become an artist?
Ámani: Being an artist feels more like it came from a necessity to express something deep inside myself. Musicians and artists that inspire me to perfect my craft are all of my friends Zharia O’Neal, Mayah Dyson, Hayley Mandel, Dalaun, Alec Winters, Tim Reynolds, Franklin Rankin, and too many more to name!
It Rains in Heaven EP BREAKDOWN:
Congrats on the release of your EP! Can you describe the overall theme/meaning of the EP?
Ámani: The overall theme of the album is investigating more complex emotions. When I was writing these songs I was leaning into “undesirable” emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, feeling exposed, and how important they are to the human experience, especially my experience as a Black woman in her mid 20s. Everything else I think is important to leave to you, the listener. What you resonate with is way more rewarding than what I intended.
What was the production and writing process like for each song on this EP?
Ámani: It Rains in Heaven started with 16 unfinished songs, all unwritten sporadically throughout 3 to 5 years of my life. After reviewing all the songs, I reflected on what themes and questions this portion of my life was about. I then reached out to producers and artists that I felt would elevate the story I wanted to tell: Adrian Forbes, Franklin Rankin, Charles Gaines, Jonathan Chau, Alec Winters, and Tim Reynolds. I really wanted everyone to have creative freedom — to be inspired and let that lead them. I wanted the music to speak for itself and music — and art as a whole — is the epitome of collaboration.
Track 1: Zharia’s Foreword feat Tim Reynolds and Alec Winters
Ámani: For 2 years, my best friend Zharia sat with the demos of all 16 songs. We met Zharia at a gala we were both performing at, and she shook the foundation of the entire building AT SOUNDCHECK. She is a playwright, dramaturg, spoken word artist and so so so much more. I asked her to write a spoken word piece that would introduce the whole project. One morning, after a thunderstorm in Los Angeles, she sent me this poem that brought me to pieces and will continue to until the end of time. After hearing the piece, I knew exactly what genius artist would match her poignant and moving words: none other than Tim Reynolds.
Track 2: A Song When I’m Sad
Ámani: “A Song When I’m Sad” started off as a few lines in my notes app that I didn’t know what to do with ( I don’t think I’m too good at writing uplifting songs, LOL 😂) I think a lot about Stevie Wonder and how masterful he is at writing songs that touch and uplift you (”As, Loves in Need of Love Today”, “These Three Words” to name a few.) Then my family had a songwriting competition and I decided to use those lines to write a song that I would want to hear when I’m sad. Production-wise, the song has gone through so many changes — but I entrusted Alec Winters to bring out its true essence. He did that and more.
Track 3: Unpack
Ámani: Jonathan Chau sent me this incredible track and it was irresistible to write to. The melody and inspiration came so quickly — “Unpack” is one of those songs that truly came through me and taught me a lot about my current condition.
Track 4: Typedelete
Ámani: I was processing a lot of my anger towards friendships I lost after getting in a relationship. “Typedelete” is all the thoughts I was too prideful to say aloud to any of them.
Track 5: Trippin
Ámani: I was deliriously happy in my past (and longest) relationship and writing songs about zoomed in moments of us. “Trippin’” is all the giddiness when you allow yourself to actually start feeling what you’ve already been feeling and wouldn’t admit to yourself.
Track 6: Reason
Ámani: I wrote “Reason” the week before I started dating that same partner. It’s about the fear of letting someone in and not being able to come up with a reason to self-sabotage, but still being hesitant.
Track 7: Contemplation
Ámani: Practicing detachment also brings self awareness. ”Contemplation” is a vulnerable song I wrote in the shower while thinking about someone I had a falling out with.
Track 8: Time and Sun
Ámani: Those who know grief, know. Shout out to Grace Mann and Franklin Rankin for finishing a song that I was too close to finish on my own.
What is your favourite song on the album?
Ámani: My fav on the project is the one I’m listening to or performing at that moment. Each song has a special place in this world and they all bang hard AF — I may be a little biased 😂.
Can you describe this album using a colour and why you chose that colour?
Ámani: The colors of a sunrise.
What emotions are you hoping the listeners to feel when they listen to this album?
Ámani: I hope they feel seen, heard, understood, and ultimately are hype over the musicianship, skill, lyrics, and love that went into this project.
FINDING HER SOUND
How did you find your sound?
Ámani: I think I will always be finding my sound as I grow as an artist, musician and human. But I truly value storytelling and with a background in Musical Theater, R&B and Pop, I think I have a very unique style.
And for first time listeners, what song would you recommend them to listen to out of your discography?
Ámani: Whew! LOL.
Is there a genre or sound you want to experiment with in the future?
Ámani: ALL — but these days, the two sounds/genres I really want to honor and collaborate with are South Africa’s Amapiano and Chicago and UK’s Drill.
Without giving away too many details, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Ámani: Going to continue sharing It Rains in Heaven with the world and putting resources into visuals — but I’ve also been working on a project with Hayley Mandel and I’m really excited to finish writing it!
What do you hope for the future regarding your music career?
Ámani: I hope to find the people who get me.
It Rains In Heaven is now available on all digital streaming platforms, so make sure to check it out here.
Special thanks to Ámani for doing this interview with us. As well, thank you to Ross Olson and the team for setting up this interview and coordinating with us.
Listen to It Rains In Heaven on Spotify: