Beckah Amani’s debut EP ‘April’ is a hopeful yet realistic look at the “chaotic” world today’s twenty-somethings face and was inspired, in part, by a voice note her father sent her when she was feeling alone. The singer-songwriter explains how a number of things inspired ‘April’, mainly her family’s concern for her wellbeing. “The first one was my dad. He sent me a voice note a while back, asking how I am and what I’m doing. I went through a time when I was really anxious. I was like, ‘I’m going to deal with it all by myself’ and distanced myself a little bit from my family and my dad sent this voice note and I was thinking about what this whole EP is about, what my dad was saying felt like I would give him the answers I was reflecting on with the EP.”
She continues: ”It was really family. It was dad asking me if I was OK, if everything is alright, which he asks [all the time], which is really awesome. It was just family asking if I’m alright, if I’m OK, and then thinking about ‘Am I OK? What are the things that are on my mind?’”
Beckah’s musical influences come in the form of some serious pop superstars. “I take a lot of inspiration from Ed Sheeran, Adele, Rihanna, Tems (more recently, as well) and Nina Simone. I’d say those are key influences for me.”
‘April’ is about being a young adult, but was also made with younger people as the target audience. A way for her to provide reassurance, almost like a big sister. “‘April’ is a reflection of these chaotic twenty-somethings. I titled it ‘April’, reflecting on the season of Autumn in Australia and April is right in the middle of that and, I feel [as] twenty-somethings, especially as a young person, in the middle of a storm of chaos and beauty as we figure out…as a young person, figuring out who I am, what love is and isn’t but also dealing with, in the world, lots of tension and issues with climate change and things like that. I wanted to write about, almost like a story about us where we are, currently, in the world and what’s going on.
“More than anything, I feel like we’re going through this era of uncertainty more than I think the older or past generation did so I wrote it for the younger generation.” Album track ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ sends a very clear message to listeners. “The message behind ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ is reflecting on climate change and for people to be aware of it and take it seriously. In the bridge, I say, ‘It hurts more than heartbreak’. And I say, “I’ll be careful…” Talking to the next generation and saying that we’re going to try and do our part. It’s, in part, an encouragement for people to take it seriously. Care for our planet!”
Born in Tanzania and having lived in Australia since she was eight, Beckah used Burundian drumming influences on new single ‘Waiting on You’. “Particularly for this EP, I really wanted to invite people into my story and who I am so I think definitely my identity and my heritage played a big role in this EP, finding the sonic sound for it. Moving forward, I’ll definitely be looking to my heritage to bring some sonic sounds to it, because I think it really does remind me who I am.”
While all the songs on the EP are deeply personal, ‘Waiting on You’ has more of a romantic element to it. “The story behind ‘Waiting on You’ is just waiting on somebody to make up their mind about how they feel about you, whether they’re just as serious as you are and that lonely and weird space that you’re in, just waiting and waiting for this person to make up their minds.” In the song, a heartbroken Beckah asks, ‘“What will it take for you to care?”
Beckah recently finished her Australian tour and has plans to return to the UK on a “fun” European tour early next year before working on an album. ‘April’ was written and recorded across London, Sydney and more, so who knows what Beckah will cook up next.
‘April’ EP is out now.
Words: Narzra Ahmed
Photo Credit: Maya Wanelik