AHI has announced his new album Prospect to be released November 5 via 22ND SENTRY/Thirty Tigers. The ten-song collection builds on the Toronto musician’s songwriting rooted in the lessons of community, uplift and oneness that he has drawn from years spent backpacking across the world, including extended stays in the Ethiopian Highlands and jungles of Trinidad before pursuing a career in music. In his still young career, AHI has already earned top accolades from Canadian tastemakers like the CBC and Juno Awards alongside early excitement from American audiences following a Tiny Desk Concert and opening shows at iconic venues like Radio City Music Hall and Red Rocks.
Here’s what AHI had to say when we got a chance to ask him some questions.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
“The three musicians who influenced me most growing up have gotta be Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Tupac Shakur, just for how honest and genuine they each were in their music”.
Tell us about your new single Danger and the inspiration behind it?
“I dream music all the time and Danger was one of those songs where I dreamt I was singing the chorus to this huge crowd as they sang along to every word. I immediately woke up from that dream and recorded a rough take of it with a sense of urgency. Little did I know, my song told the story of a mother whom I would later meet for the first time, whose son had been lost to gun violence in a manner eerily similar to the lyrics of the song I had dreamt. Hearing that mother’s story affirmed for me that the solution and healing we are looking for is rooted in the realization that life is fragile and precious”.
You’ve just announced your new album ‘Prospect’ – what are the key themes on the new record?
“Prospect is a meditation on our shared humanity, on what it means to be a link in a chain that stretches both forwards and backwards through time for generations upon generations. It’s a bit of a heavy concept, but in a way you and I are the Prospect. We’re all living this life for the first time and I think we’re far more connected than we realize sometimes. And I think it’s up to each of us to live life like it’s worth something because our impact on each other is far more immense than we can ever imagine”.
What was the hardest song to write on the album?
“I would say it’s a toss-up between Cool of the Day or Until You. If I had to pick one, I would say Cool of the Day because lyrically I couldn’t figure out how to make it as simple as I wanted it to be. Even trying to explain to you why it was the hardest song is hard. It’s a beautiful song and I really didn’t want to screw it up with the lyrics”.
What song are you most excited about people hearing?
“I really wanna say all of them because I made a complete album. It’s a body of work in that classic record format. But again, if I had to choose one, it would be Say It To Me. I cried after recording that, and it think it could be my most powerful song. It’s helped get me through a lot of difficult times”.
You’ve travelled the world – what place have you visited that surprised you the most?
“Lalibela in the highlands of Ethiopia. There is nothing on the planet quite like it and it needs to be preserved for all of human existence. It’s a city at the top of a mountain and the churches are carved downward into the mountain. One of the most mystical places on the planet”.
If you could collaborate with one artist -who would that be?
“Dave Chappelle. He’s so much more than a comedian, I truly respect his genius, and I think we both have profoundly deep philosophical minds that are not afraid to contemplate the human condition and the nature of our shared humanity. I have no idea how we would ever collaborate, but I would be honoured to make that happen somehow”.
If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
“My family. If I accomplish anything great in this life, they will accomplish greater things and I look forward to seeing what that is”.
What’s next for AHI?
“I can’t believe I finally get to say this, but my North American tour is officially on the horizon! It’ll be my first time really getting back on the road since everything shut down, and I can’t wait!”
By Siân Parker