Interview With R&B, Afrobeat, Reggae & Trap Artist ‘Amanie illfated’

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am a South Sudanese born recording artist. My music is a mix of R&B, Afrobeat, Reggae and Trap. My family came to Canada as refugees from what is now known as South Sudan and I always try to incorporate a bit of our culture with a modern day twist.

How did you come up with your artist name? 

My artist name is a total paradox. Amanie is my name at birth. In Arabic, it means wishes; in
Swahili, it means peace; but in my tribal language of Kakwa, it translates to “being hated
against”. In our tribe, you name a child based on what was going on during the time of birth. Illfated came along since many people told me I was going to have a bad future, a bad fate and be broke if I choose music. I chose it anyway and have been happy with my decision since. Essentially, my name is just one big sarcastic statement.

How long have you been in the music industry? 

I’ve always been involved in music since I was a kid, however, I would say I was officially in the music scene in 2019 with my first album SATURN.

How did you get started in the music business in the first  place? 

Music is what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life. The way I started to get noticed in the industry was due to an accidental modelling career. A friend of mine connected me with a local photographer to take my album cover shots. I posted them to Facebook and suddenly got a lot of messages from other photographers who wanted to work together. I would post the new photos to my page and from there, I got a really big following which turned into a lot of attention to my music and shows.

How would you describe your latest single? 

I would say my latest single ‘Higher’ is bright and uplifting.

When can fans expect the visuals for the single?

The music video for ‘Higher’ is out now here.

Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

Definitely Celine Dion and M.I.A. Celine has such a great stage presence and her voice is
beyond this world. M.I.A.’s music and story really pushed me to be my authentic self – whether it is in telling my own story or creating my own version of music.

How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?

Writing a song usually starts out with creating the instrumental – whether it’s me alone with my keyboard or with a producer/guitarist. I always say that the ideas and lyrics I get for songs just fall from the sky cause I could be anywhere and it will just strike me. (Eg, there’s a song where I literally got the idea in a hotel washroom in Africa and had to record it on the spot).

What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if  working on one? 

My next project DIVINE really started as just a happier version of my last album. During the
pandemic, I was stalled for ideas and had a year long writers’ block that was painful to go
through. I got an opportunity to go to South Sudan for the first time since coming to Canada and I just got bombarded by ideas (hence the recording in the washroom). DIVINE suddenly bloomed into self awakening and became a merger between myself and my cultural identity with a touch of humour, flirtation and fun.

Any plans on touring to promote your latest single?

I definitely will be including ‘Higher’ in my upcoming international tour.

What did you buy with your first check off music?

I bought a better microphone!

What are must haves when you’re in the studio working?

Don’t laugh, but I am not comfortable in the studio if I don’t have Sherpa socks. It’s hard to
record with cold feet.

What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Someone once told me ‘don’t let it get to your head; always stay humble’. In this industry, it is so easy to get a God-complex, but it is always important to know that you don’t get to where you are without your team and you could easily become irrelevant.

Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?

Yes! I have collaborations with Check B Magiic, Nketia, Bafo, Caijo, Jaiksana and Emmanuel
Jal in the works!

What artist have you had the pleasure of working with and what was it like?

I managed to stop fangirling enough to work with James Bryan from Prozzak and The
Philosopher Kings. It was surreal to even be speaking to an artist from a group I grew up
listening to! Total blessing to work with him!

Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?  

I eagerly await the day I get to work with M.I.A. and Phantogram.

Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats  or for the lyrical flow and content?

I would say people love both.

What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc…)

I can be very, very shy and quiet which is not great for self promotion. I guess I have to loosen up a bit!

What’s your all-time favorite song? 

This one is tough. It’s a battle between Paper Planes by M.I.A. or My Only Friend by
Phantogram.

What was the last album you listened to?

Caprisongs by FKA Twigs. It’s a total vibe!

Your favorite artist of all time and why?

M.I.A. Her production is phenomenal, her story is almost exactly my story and she is so
authentic!

Who’s your favorite five artists right now? 

Right now, it is Kanda Bongo Man, Die Antwoord, Tatarka, Chloe Bailey & Leila Dey.

In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist  in your genre today and why?

This is a really tough one! I’d have to get back to you on it!

Who have been some of your favorite artists that you’ve been  able to work with? 

I would say Check B Magiic. He had a track called ‘Corona’ that came out right when the
pandemic hit. I’ve been a total fan since hearing it. When he asked to work with me, I nearly
fainted!

How do you feel about the current state of music? 

The music industry has always been going through major changes but is very good at
reinvention. Music will never go away. With studios and equipment being accessible, we are
getting more art and more variation of music from all around the world. It’s fascinating!

Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

Any award is a blessing!

What is your main goal as far as music?

My biggest goal is to release authentic music that connects with people and to be able to tour the world and bring joy and excitement to audiences.

Who would you say your music relates to the most?

It’s really hard to say since my music is quite a mix.

What separates you from other artists? (What makes you different?)

I always strive to bring out people’s emotions with my music and performances.

When you’re not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

I am a bit of a nerd, so when I have time off I love to read about history and biology and learn new languages. I also love to go dancing and try anything to do with heights (helicopter rides, roller coasters, zip lining etc).

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Hands down, it would have to be Diplo.

What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

My biggest highlight was being recognised in my own country with a Best R&B Artist Award. I always push to get South Sudan on the music industry map and seeing the reception from my country was elevating.

What is your dream venue to perform at?

Glastonbury Festival.

What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

South Sudan: The Untold Story by Hilde F. Johnson

What’s your favorite sports team and why?

I… don’t know sports…

Who’s your favorite actor or actress and their best movie?

I love Michael Fassbender. Frank was the movie that got me hooked onto him.

Name someone famous who inspires you and why?

Luol Deng. His wisdom, his work and his humbleness blows my mind.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Many more albums, shows, and ventures to come!

Where can the fans check out for your music?

My music is available on all music platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with my handle @amanieillfated

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