No matter his material, Canadian musician AHI (pronounced “eye”) has one unbreakable songwriting rule: he must see himself—and some truth—in his songs.
“When it comes to songwriting, my stuff has to be honest, and I have to feel like the song I sing can be spoken to someone or said to someone in a conversation,” AHI says. “I have to be able to see myself in the narrator’s seat, and even if it’s not my specific story there has to be something in the song that’s coming from my voice and persona.”
Unabashed honesty from a singer unafraid to bare it all is echoed in In Our Time, an album complicit in its sense of balance and existence on the cusp—sonically, thematically, emotionally, and aesthetically. Although even the album’s most hopeful and optimistic songs bear themes of struggle and overcoming odds, but there is beauty in its darkness. AHI deftly weaves these threads together to give listeners an unfettered look into his life.
Threads of Michael Kiwanuka, the Head and the Heart, Shakey Graves, and Alabama Shakes can be felt throughout In Our Time, though AHI’s pantheon points to a dearly departed yet disparate trio, each of whom possessed an earnestness that rings true today: Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson. “Those were all honest guys who had a vulnerability that transcended their music,” he says. “People feel that honesty in my music, which is how it helps connect.”