r & b

Aïcha- Finding Her Voice by Maxwell Young

Last September, we introduced you to a woman who was just beginning her musical journey, writing and ‘developing her sound’ as she calls it, in Paris and LA with artists and producers.

We began to hear the actualization of Aïcha's time spent abroad on recent SoundCloud playlist, Elle The Diary. She sings in french on “Entry 2”, a remix of Drake’s “Bria’s Interlude” and Bryson Tiller’s “Sorry Not Sorry."  For "Entry 1," over the instrumental of Common's "Go!" she recognizes the poignancy of being a young woman in the music industry.

“Entry 1 I actually performed live on the radio in Paris like in March, it was so dope. I was so nervous though, it was definitely a learning experience,” she says of her joining French R&B artist Skreally Boy on OKLM Radio’s Rap/Hip-Hop show La Sauce (track 2).

Aïcha’s recent spoken word poems “ELLE” and “Abbas and Iman Pt.1” showcase her dense lyricism. In "ELLE" she aligns her flow with the delayed bass kicks produced by Duce, she says "Is it because I am woman she wonders/ That I could mend my words with many truths and execute With injury/ a pretty melody to match my frame/ Would still have more appeal?"

To provide a little more insight on current inspirations, we asked Aïcha for a taste of the music she's been listening to. "The Gap Year" is a 22-track playlist featuring songs from influences like Kendrick Lamar, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Wizkid but it also has an international flair indicative of her time abroad. An iteration of French trap by Damso gives context to the adaptation of hip-hop across foreign countries.

“He isn’t on SoundCloud but I’ve been listening to a lot of afro-trap from this kid MHD and it just made me want to try and work over similar beats... it’s been interesting. But I’ve been listening to a lot more music from West Africa. These are my roots so it’s dope to have all my languages come into play and blend into my music.”

Today, she combines SZA’s “Normal Girl” and “Go Gina” on a smooth instrumental for what has become our new favorite vibe.

“I have some singles coming up that I’m really excited about. Right now I’m just finding my voice and enjoying the process of doing so”.

Stay tuned and follow Aïcha on Instagram & Twitter.

New Beginnings: Made in Paris by Maxwell Young



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? 

: 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? 

: 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?

: 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?

: 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?

: 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?

: 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.

Stay connected with Aïcha as she shares moments of her journey on Tumblr and Twitter.