A’NAMII just released her debut single, “Settle,” and we can’t stop listening!
The song not only serves as a female empowerment record, but it also showcases A’NAMII’s warm, dark, buttery vocals. Her lower tone has been compared to the likes of Beyonce, Jazmine Sullivan, and Summer Walker, always embodying that classic R&B texture we all know and love.
Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, the rising star describes herself as a “down-to-earth girl.” She states, “I’m very much so down-to-earth. I’m fun. I’m nice. I’m a Gemini, so that is one thing. You can make your own definition of that. I’m giving. I’m caring. I’m a mama’s girl. I’m really close to mommy, and I’m an artist. Oh and I’m favored too. I’m really favored.”
On that note, “Settle” serves as A’NAMII’s debut single, after a two-year hiatus from doing music. Now, she’s ready to go full-fledged with her artistry. Her goal is to make timeless music, which directly feeds into her perfectionist spirit inside the studio.
AllHipHop spoke with A’NAMII alongside her go-to producer Go To (no pun intended). Read below as we discuss her roots in North Carolina, love for music, “Settle,” studio essentials, opening for Yung Bleu and Tank, and more!
AllHipHop: Being from Durham, North Carolina, what was that like growing up?
A’NAMII: Durham was fun. No matter where you go, home is home to you. Durham is home. It’s fun, it’s a small city. If you’ve ever been to Charlotte or even Atlanta, it’s just like Atlanta but on a smaller scale. Or just like Charlotte on a small scale. Not as big, but country. Not too country. Not country like horses and animals running around, but very fun.
AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?
A’NAMII: I’ve always sang. I’ve sang my whole life, but I used to sing around the house for fun. Listening to music, going to church. Singing with my foster sister, we used to just sing. I fell in love with music as a child, but I didn’t think I was going to pursue music until my adult life.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
A’NAMII: Go To came up with my name. My real first name is Arielle, and my middle name is Iman. Iman backwards is NAMI. We added the ‘a’ in front of the NAMI, because A’NAMII. NAMII is cute too, but the ‘a’ comes from Arielle. So it’s my middle name backwards, then ‘a’ for Arielle.
AllHipHop: You just dropped “Settle,” who or what inspired this record?
A’NAMII: “Settle” is inspired by personal events. If you’ve watched the video, that tells the story of what occurred in my last relationship. That’s what inspired the video, inspired the writing of the song.
AllHipHop: This is your debut single?
A’NAMII: It is.
AllHipHop: Crazy, how long have you been making music?
A’NAMII: I’ve been making music on and off for about 7 to 8 years. I’ve never been as consistent as I am now with it, so about 7 years on and off. I’d do it, then take a break. Or get pulled in another direction, or just life. But on and off for about 7 years.
I just came off a two-year hiatus. GoTo (whose label Hubris Sound signed A’NAMII) and I restarted working at the top of this year. We’ve worked in the past, but I took a long break, about two years and just worked. Focused on getting money and taking a break mentally. We reconnected at the top of the year, so I’m back in it now.
AllHipHop: Why was the song the perfect song to debut your music?
A’NAMII: “Settle” was a perfect song for many reasons. For one, it was personal. It’s important to be vulnerable, as I am a growing artist to let people in. Let people know who I am, what I’ve been through, my story, so that people can connect. In dating, I’m sure it’s a lot of young girls out there, and even guys that can relate to a similar situation with their partner or ex-partners.
I want to let people know that you don’t have to settle, and that doesn’t just mean relationships. That’s at work, settling with friends. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing else out there. It’s like, oh well this is good. You weigh the pros and cons. Well, I guess I make decent money with this job. Or I guess she is a good friend. I guess she does pick up the phone when I call her, whatever the case may be.
But a lot of us settle in life, and life is so short that it’s never a good idea to become complacent. You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Something I want people to know is: I don’t want to settle. That’s the message that I wanted my fans and other young girls to also practice, is not settling.
AllHipHop: Best memory from that music video?
A’NAMII: The best memory was the car scene. If you’ve watched the video, the car scene is in the end. It was exciting because we were forced to get in our acting bag. That moment required the most acting, whereas everything else is cool. It didn’t require too much, maybe small little or whatever. But that moment was a very serious moment where we had to tap into our emotions.
Even the male lead or the male actors, that was something that was difficult for him. Seeing even him put his own whatever aside and tap into that for us, for the team… “we’re going to make sure this video was good.” This is what he told me: “I want to let you know, this is something I don’t do. I would never xyz. I’d never put my hands on anyone,” or “I have daughters.” But being able to tap into that is always really cool. I really respect actors and actresses for being able to tap into something that you’ve never experienced before. That’s still the most exciting part.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
A’NAMII: In the studio, I always need a hoodie. Even if it’s hot, I have to pull up with a hoodie. I’m very specific. For some reason, I’m OCD. I don’t know where I got it from, but I don’t like my ears touching the headphones. I’m like this on airplanes too. Whenever I travel, even in the summertime, I travel with the hoodie on. Because I don’t want my skin touching anything, very strange.
I have to have a hoodie. I have to have all the lights. I have tea all the time, hot tea with honey. I have to have my phone. What else? And socks. I have to have on socks. Even if I wear flip flops, I’ll still bring a pair of socks on the side. Just in case I want to get comfortable and walk without shoes on.
AllHipHop: What about your recording process?
A’NAMII: The learning process is really cool. We usually record in a home studio. I really prefer home studios. If I had to make a decision, I’ll always record in a home studio because it feels way more comfortable for me. There’s no pressure as far as timing, and I’m a person that likes to get everything perfect. A lot of times when you’re in studios, there’s a time slot because other artists have to come in behind you or whatever the case may be. But there’s a different type of energy or pressure to me in commercial studios, so a part of my process is definitely recording in a home studio.
Usually, I’m in some type of stool or chair. We always set the tone, set the vibes. It’s usually candles lit, it’s dark with some type of white lights or color. The colors are usually inspired by my mood. [10:10 mark], so green might be an earthy color or green might be a money color. Sometimes it may be blue. If you’re feeling bluesy, a little bit sad or down. Red could be sexy, if you’re making a sexy type of song.
My recording process is dope. I usually record things verse by verse or line by line, to make sure I get it perfect. We start with the first verse, then we add on background vocals and harmonies last.
How was the opening for Bleu?
A’NAMII: Opening for Yung Bleu was really exciting. That was our first show, literally in years. As I mentioned, I took a two year break. That was really exciting for our first show back, especially for such a big artist. It was a great opportunity. The crowd was really inviting, they were definitely there to have a good time. They weren’t stale. Sometimes a crowd can be stiff, especially for opening artists because they’re there to see who they want to see. But the girls were so sweet and inviting, everybody was smiling. It was a vibe. It was really exciting.
AllHipHop: What about opening for Tank and Charlie Wilson?
A’NAMII: These shows were one day apart. Yung Bleu show was on Thursday, then the Tank and Charlie show was on Saturday. That was amazing as well. We all grew up on Uncle Charlie, the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson. Years later, being able to open up for him — Tank as well, I also grew up on Tank. Middle school, elementary, high school, listened to Tank. Super dope, I learned so much from watching them. How they work, the crowd energy, the breath control, being in character as a performer. It was really great.
You also are reminded of timeless music, songs that you forgot about. That’s inspiring too because I want to make songs like that. We want to make timeless songs like that, where 20 years from now people say “oh, I grew up listening to A’NAMII.” 20 years later, the song still hasn’t change impact. But from the background dancers to the background vocalists, they put on a show. That was a great learning experience. Every time I hit the stage, it’s a learning experience. I take away something every single time that I’ll apply to the next show, so it was great. It was dope.
Also got the opportunity to meet Tank, that was really dope as well.
AllHipHop: Tank is hilarious.
A’NAMII: He is, he’s a character. I was excited that I got to meet him in person. When he got off the stage, I got to meet him. I was backstage, me and my team were backstage. His security was adamant about protecting him. No pictures for nobody, they’re going straight to the dressing room. But he saw us. When he saw me, he stopped, turned, and gave me a hug. I thought that was really cool. Anytime an artist goes around their security and says “it’s okay,” that’s a special moment. To just be acknowledged, that’s dope.
AllHipHop: Do you get nervous opening for big people like this?
A’NAMII: Yes and no. I say yes because no matter what show, I hold myself to a certain standard. I want to make sure I do good and that people like it. Always being concerned about what the crowd would think, does definitely create or generate a little bit of nerves. But I surprisingly was not nervous for the Tank show, Charlie Wilson, or even really Yung Blue.
This is where I am, this is where I’m supposed to be. This is what God has for me. It’s already for me, so I’ma go get it. I really wasn’t that nervous, that was cool. Because when I used to perform years ago, I’d be so nervous. My armpits would be sweating. I’d have those little sweat beads on my nose, I wouldn’t want to talk to anybody. Because in my mind, if I talk to somebody, I’m gonna mess up my voice. I’d need to preserve my voice. But this time, we just having a good time.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
A’NAMII: Of course, I’ll always have goals. The goals are endless, I don’t even know where to start with the goals. But to name a few, definitely excited about releasing a project EP soon. Being on Billboards, going on tour. Maybe going on tour with a bigger artist at first, then eventually having my own tour. The goals are endless for sure.
AllHipHop: Anything else people should know about you?
A’NAMII: Follow me on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and all socials: @itsanamii. I’d love for them to be a part of this journey with me. It’s no fun doing it by yourself. I always think it’s really cool to watch artists grow from ground level. That’s how you really know artists. That’s how I grew up. Watching the artists that are still relevant today, we all saw them grow up. It’s cool. Again, it’s not fun doing it by yourself, so I’d appreciate people to ride this journey with me.