There is no denying that hip-hop in any form is competitive in nature, in fact, one could say that it is the cornerstone of this genre. It is clear from the inspired and methodical lyricist Ave Emi, that he understands what it takes to run with the best of them. Releasing his new album titled “Faux Hearts”, Ave Emi will no doubt gather many new fans from this solid album.
Ryan: Your new EP titled “Faux Hearts” is a bit of old school R&B meets new school, was this intentional?
Ave Emi: We often find our identity with the brands and cultures that have had the most influence in our lives. I found my musical identity as a kid; riding around with my mom, she always played Gospel music. Sometimes she would play R&B if the lyrics were “appropriate.” Other times I would sneak and listen to it on the radio, and turn down the volume. I didn’t care about the lyrics; I just liked how it sounded. Styles of music tend make their way full circle; it’s intentional because 90s R&B has always been me, yet unintentional because we see this sound is returning to the mainstream.
Ryan: How long did the album take to make?
Ave Emi: I wrote Bad Only 3 months before I recorded any of the songs on Faux Hearts. I didn’t know the type of song I had on my hands until I let a couple friends hear the rough version I recorded at home, and they went crazy over it. That was when I decided that I would make an EP and try things out. I was still working at the time, so I had to fit producing the album and going to the studio in at the most odd times. If I couldn’t record on the weekend, I’d take off work early, and drive 45 minutes to an hour to go to the studio in the afternoon. I was sitting in the car on my lunch break, writing songs. With that type of schedule, it took a month and a half to create the project.
Ryan: Your current lead single “Bad Only” is a great choice. Were there any other tracks that almost made the lead single on this EP?
Ave Emi: Bad Only was the single because it was the best song. Coincidentally it was the ONLY song I had at the time (haha). Looking back, I can’t picture any other songs from the project setting the tone like Bad Only does.
Ryan: Where do you find inspiration for your songs from?
Ave Emi: Women… haha. But seriously; sometimes as men, we avoid expressing our emotions, especially when it comes to relationships. In music we’re either loving women, or we’re hurting women. I wanted to talk about those difficult choices that happen before, during, and after the relationship. People might want to know why I hit up an ex when she got into a new relationship, or how I thought I did everything right and still had my heart broken, or the struggles of holding on to amazing sex within a toxic relationship. These are real situations that happen, and they inspire me to talk about it.
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Ave Emi: Before I write any lyrics, I have to have the melody. When the beat is playing, I’m humming the melody, trying to see where it fits in the song. Sometimes I decide on a topic, other times when I listen to the melody, it’ll take me back to a moment in time; then that becomes the topic. I’ll ask myself; what story does this song want me to tell? What words do I feel when I hear this note or that rhythm? I like to let the music wrong the song.
Ryan: At this point in your musical career, what are some of your current highlights?
Ave Emi: I’ve produced for other artists like T-Pain, and TLC’s own T-Boz. I’ve produced singles and entire albums for other artists. Transitioning into song-writing and being in the artist role is one of my favorite highlights so far. I’m not just providing background music; I get to tell the story; not just my story, but the story of anyone who’s ever been in love, or been hurt by love.
Ryan: If you could collaborate with any artist on a future track, who would it be with and why?
Ave Emi: Timbaland and Missy Elliott would be one of favorite. That’s where so much of my musical influence began. I even snuck it in “Replay” when I said “we were Timbaland and Missy.” If you translated music into love, then I’d want that type of chemistry. Vocally, Tank is a beast, and his arrangements tug at your spirit. When you listen to an artist like P!nk, you can tell she’s sincere in every word; she’s on my list. Toss in some Kaytranada and PYRMDPLAZA; the abstract vibes they bring to soul and hip-hop are so necessary right now. Uzi Vert and Fetty Wap are those rap artists who have this aggressively dope singing/rap style that hasn’t been fully experimented with yet; sign them up. Tink is one of my personal favorites right now, I love her sound, and her voice blends well when she harmonizes. There are too many artists to name that I’d love to work with. I tend to listen to songwriters and producers rather than just the artists themselves. My goal would be to collaborate with artists from every genre.
Ryan: What advice do you have for any new artist looking to make their own EP?
Ave Emi: Whether you have 6 songs or 60 songs, music is only valuable to the people who can hear it. Never pass up an opportunity for people to hear your music. I’ve submitted music online, performed Open Mic nights; even perused downtown with my headphones and let people listen to my music. Let life make the music. If you run out of inspiration, take some time to live, experience, and feel.
Ryan: Do you have any plans to make a video in the future?
Ave Emi: Funny you should mention that; the Bad Only video is on the way. Fans will love the twist to the video.
Ryan: How long have you been making music for?
Ave Emi: Ever since I was 5 years old, playing on a mini drum set, I’ve been making music. I come from a family of musicians; from great grandparents, to grandparents, to aunts and uncles. I don’t think I could have avoided it even if I wanted to. I’ve always been shy about my talents, when I was younger, I would never sing or play in front of people; that was selfish. I was self-conscious about what others thought. My gifts aren’t for me; they’re for others to enjoy, to relate to, to heal.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your fans?
Ave Emi: I appreciate you as well, Ryan. I’ve been blessed with some exciting writing and producing opportunities for other artists’ projects that fans can look forward to. I also have the next chapter to Faux Hearts that will be dropping in the fall. Expect more songs during the summer. Stay in touch with me as I’m writing these chapters; either on social network @AveEmiMusic or AveEmi.com