No matter what your passion or hobby, the moment you choose to start sharing it with other people is the day your craft becomes a part of public opinion. This isn't a bad thing and it shouldn't necessarily change how you approach your work, but it is a new beginning.
Everyone starts from square one; Warhol's first solo exhibition was in 1952 at the Hugo Gallery and sources place Kanye West's first beat tape circa 1997. For Aïcha, she let us peak into her musical and poetic life for the first time just three months ago. Quite methodically, she teased her skill-set on Instagram with a piano rendition of Beyonce's "Halo" and an acapella version of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" before she dropped her first three songs on SoundCloud, exactly as advertised: voices and verses.
Aïcha's spoken-word poem "Dear Mr. Duckworth," the first track she published, is a stark documentation of the marginalization of black people, but also demonstrative of her prowess as a lyricist. She blends her words with her melodic singing in "Watch Me Leave," while firmly placing herself in the trap sound on a short-lived banger, "STNDRDS." Rapping "Cooper City raised/ New York City made" in "Somebody," Aïcha is unabashed in telling you what has influenced her writing and flow. Sometimes you can't understand what she's saying as she moves in and out of several different languages, boasting polyglot verses. Aïcha is still new to the game, but it is obvious music has been her passion for some time. Her internet releases have now taken her abroad to Paris, France, putting college on pause to work with one of the country's most formidable street rappers/producers, Niro. I took some time to pick her brain, talk about the timing of her release, and what she has in store for the future.
MY: What made you want to start sharing your music with the world?
Aï: I have been singing and playing piano since I was 8. After spending the past three years working in different parts of the music business, I decided it was never going to make me happy. I started writing poetry one day in March and literally couldn’t stop. After that I pieced it together that I have no choice but to share my work, and grow and find myself as an artist.
MY: How do you feel about Desiigner?
Aï: I respect him. I think innovation is one of the most important parts of this field. Whether you think his music bumps or not, he brought a new sound to hip-hop and I think it’s something that should be respected. He’s young, his flow is fresh, I’ve been listening to Timmy Turner trying to decipher the lyrics. I’ve failed but, it’s still my jam.
MY: Who's music influences you?
Aï: Oh wow. This is the worst because I’m inspired by so many different albums and artists… Lauryn Hill, Musiq Soulchild, Amy Winehouse, Ashanti, Beyonce….. but I think the thing that actually influences me the most is the fusion of rap and r&b. For me, Drake and 40 were the first to do it best. Then Bryson mastered it. So I’d say Drake and Bryson Tiller.
MY: Where do you accomplish most of your writing?
Aï: It depends, sometimes in the studio. This past spring at NYU sometimes it would catch me during class and I’d just be scribbling mad shit during lectures and walk out with a whole song or poem. But since I’ve been in Paris it’s like all throughout the day things come to me, so the notes on my phone are nearing 1000.
MY: What do you think you need to work on as an artist?
Aï: I’ve never taken singing lessons, I think as an artist that’s something I have to do to develop technic and control over my voice because I’ll be singing much more than rapping on my album.
MY: What kind of opportunities has SoundCloud created for you?
Aï: Even though I have few plays and followers, it allowed me to just put myself out there and it led to everything I’m working on today. I emailed my SoundCloud link to Niro and now I find myself working all night, in the dopest studio in Paris, bringing my first album to life. Shit is crazy.