“Atmospheric beats and intimate lyricism are a Canadian R&B trademark, but where are all the girls? Amaal may just be the answer to the scene’s female void.” (Schön! Magazine)
“Amaal soothes us with her dreamy voice, as she’s pondering the push and pull of love.” (OkayAfrica)
12 JULY 2019 (TORONTO, ON) — Amaal makes her debut with Black Dove, her first studio EP, out today via Universal Music Canada/Public Records. The rising Somali-Canadian R&B artist has been named a new artist to watch after her first single, “Not What I Thought,” received over 1 million views on YouTube. On Black Dove, Amaal continues to make a strong impression, showcasing her powerful intuition musically and emotionally. “Amaal has mastered the art of pairing airy but commanding vocals with pulsing production” The Fader revered. Her single “Coming and Going” was named one of the best music releases of the week by both Nylon and The Independent, while “Not What I Thought” led Amaal to be featured as Apple Canada’s best new artist of the week in February.
In tandem with today’s release of Black Dove, Amaal shares her video for “Later” exclusively with NYLON. Directed by Kat Webber, who’s best known for directing videos for SZA’s “Garden” and Drake’s “Nice For What,” as well as Amaal’s video for “Coming & Going.” The video for “Later” is dedicated to FEAT, a bus program that brings families across Ontario to visit incarcerated loved ones. Based on Amaal’s personal experience, both the song and video illustrate the journey one chooses to endure for love and the sense of community built in the process of doing so.
Speaking on the inspiration behind Black Dove, Amaal shared, “this EP represents the me that I was afraid to talk about. The me that I kept hidden out of fear of judgment. For the longest time I’ve put on this front of what a strong woman represents and what it means to me. But as I’ve maneuvered through my womanhood alongside other women going through similar things I realized true strength is in breaking down to rebuild. Showing vulnerability and being real about adversity. Getting in front of your fears and allowing yourself to grow regardless of the outcome. Black dove to me means freedom. Freedom from my own captivity. Freedom from the shackles society and I have placed on myself. The freedom of no longer committing a disservice to myself and owning every part of me.”
To understand and appreciate R&B singer and songwriter Amaal, you must begin with her family. She is the fourth child among ten children in total (seven sisters and two brothers), she is part of a singular, supportive unit. She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and then emigrated to Canada with her family. Coming from a traditional Muslim household, Amaal says that music, especially the pursuit of music-making, was a taboo. Yet, there is such poetic lyricism embedded into her culture and home. Poetry forms the foundation for her journey to music. “My dad constantly spoke in ways that were so poetic that I didn’t understand. I thought it was normal,” Amaal says. “It’s in my DNA. I’m from Somalia and it’s very well known to be the land of poets. A country where the language is used as a form of poetry.”
Amaal began making music at age 16 and released songs four years later. Like every other tech savvy, maverick musician, she’d use social media to her advantage, watching her songs go viral on YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites, which helped introduce her sound to a global audience. Singles by Amaal include ‘With You’, ‘Mufasa’ and ‘Words Revealed’, ‘Last Ones’, ‘Who Are We’ and ‘Scream’. ‘Words Revealed’ alone achieved 200,000 YouTube hits within its first three months of release, and has inspired cover versions by fans. Another fan favorite, "With You", earned 80,000 views in its first two months. While ‘Mufasa’ is considered her biggest release to date with views and listens accumulated to over 2 million.
After signing to Universal Music Canada/Public Records, Amaal would still retain a spirit of independence. Recent releases “Not What I Thought” and “Coming and Going” have accumulated more than a million views together. Now, with her newest EP, Black Dove, we’re given a different portrait of Amaal. The EP’s title says it all: a symbol of freedom and hope, but still ultimately, and fearlessly, tied to her Blackness. Still compassionate, tender, fierce in all the ways she is, Black Dove decidedly swerves inward; taking a deeper look at the woman who is before the world, and not exactly what the world sees of this woman.
Media assets, including press photos, can be found here.