This New Record Marks Amaal’s Sonic Liberation

Amaal's album cover for Milly.

Amaal:

Milly

Genre: R&B

Sound: Incandescent vocals illuminate cool, understated hi-hat harmonics.
If you like: Aaliyah, Jhené Aiko, LOONY
Why you should listen: After years of struggling to reconcile her conservative Muslim upbringing with her music career, Toronto’s own Amaal fully comes into her own in this sensual, luxurious, early 2000s-inspired EP.
Best Track: Heaven

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Toronto R&B songbird Amaal Nuux is back with her sophomore EP Milly, and this time, she’s wearing armour. Clad in a swirling, extraterrestrial breastplate by L.A.-based designer Nusi Quero (the artist behind Grimes’ full-back tattoo), Amaal resembles both an ultra-femme superhero and the final member of Destiny’s Child — stepping into the role of Milly, Amaal channels this ethereal sensuality in her most empowered record yet.

It’s been a winding road: Somali-born, Canadian-raised Amaal embarked on her music journey a decade ago, despite her conservative Muslim community considering it taboo. When she finally dropped her debut EP Black Dove in 2019, a cards-on-the-table confessional of love, desire and heartbreak — she wasn’t looking back.

Amaal’s sonic liberation has slowly been waxing over the years. Milly marks its grand entrance into a beaming full moon phase.

INNER EGO
“Alter ego is tapping into something outside of you. Milly is my inner ego. It’s someone that’s already existed within you but that’s been afraid to come out because of pressures — society, friends, family — that make you mould yourself into something else.

THE DIVINE FEMININE
“We do live in a very male-dominated society, and especially where I’m from, it’s extremely male-dominated. I had to step back and realize there’s power in femininity and there’s beauty in making mistakes.”

INFLUENCES
“A lot of ’90s and 2000s R&B. Aaliyah, SWV, Missy Elliott. Destiny’s Child — on Honey, I sang different tones and blended them to sound like a group.”

LIGHTING THE PATH
“A lot of women from different parts of the world actually message me, and that’s what lets me know that I’m doing the right thing. The word ‘liberating’ comes into our conversations a lot. They’re like, ‘You’re showing us that it’s okay to express ourselves’

“I look at these girls like my sisters; I see them as the younger versions of me. I understand how delicate it can be — one of them, her family stopped talking to her. I try to give them the best advice possible. To see them now having their moments in music is unbelievable. I honestly feel like that’s my purpose.

Watch the Selfish video

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