Nami, a Cape Verdean Platinum producer and songwriter, prepares for his debut as an artist. Recently the multifaceted musician dropped off the release of his 6-track mixtape, Demos For Drake. Yes, it’s what you’re thinking, but sooo much more!
In fact, Nami’s first EP is a collection of songs inspired by Drake and the diverse range of sounds he’s explored over the years. Throughout the project, he perfectly paid homage to the melodic rapper’s influence on the ever expanding genre. Additionally, he spits his rhymes and flexes his rap skills for the first time ever! In addition to executively producing each track, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process.
Nami: Producer Turned Artist
Outside of his work as one of the most in-demand, up-and-coming young producers in 2021, this is his first artist offering. A couple of years ago, he relocated from his hometown of Santiago, Cape Verde, to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Since, at the age of 20, Nami has earned the title of Cape Verde’s first Platinum producer. Along with a long list of achievements under his belt. Including major cuts with Ariana Grande, RUSS, Bryson Tiller, YBN Cordae, Earthgang, Amine, and many others. Now, as the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards nominees have been revealed, to no surprise he made the list! Take a look below!
Tap into the creative thoughts and sounds of Nami on his latest offering Demos for Drake here! Lastly, let us know what you think! First, take a look at our dope interview when he slid through KAZI Magazine to tell us all about his latest offering and more!
The KAZI Magazine x Nami Interview
- Hey Nami! Thank you so much for taking your time out and speaking with me on behalf of KAZI Magazine. Before we hop into our interview to talk Demos for Drake, your artistry & more. Please tell fans new and old who Nami is and where it all began.
Nami, from West Africa. I grew up there my whole life. I’ve only been in America for about three years. Nami started from the very beginning, it wasn’t a spontaneous. It wasn’t something that came out of nowhere, I decided to follow through with my artistry, it was something that was very much there. Since I was a kid, I always loved music. I grew up in a very musical household. My parents didn’t necessarily do music, but they very much appreciated music. So I grew up listening to a lot of genres, completely different genres of music and just gaining an appreciation for music itself.
Also I danced a little bit growing up and then took it more seriously when I was about 13. I started by rapping and then producing for other people songwriting for other people . I stretched that out for good six or seven years now and just been giving everything away. Then just recently, going back to my original instinct of being an artist, my artists roots. You know, kind of what jump started me but I left behind.
South Africa To America
- Originally from Santiago, Cape Verde, West Africa you took your talents to LA to pursue your passion. How would you say both cultures and elements of the environment, if any, influence your artistry?
Oh, I’m extremely influenced by whatever space I’m in. That’s something that I’m particularly aware of and never turned a blind eye to. I’ve always noticed that. For instance, my music had a certain level or had the sonics a certain way. And everything had its own ways when I was back home, but not necessarily the culture of LA. But the pressure of the industry itself. Not in a negative way at all. Influenced new approaches to how I make music that I’m very grateful for.
Realizing that I’m in a city where my story is not special until I make it special. In a city where I realized that, okay, I am, we’re all that guy or girl, who just came from their hometown, we’re just trying to figure it out, until we actually figure it out that story is just another story. So realizing the pressure of that and making sure that I actually put 110 more hours than I used to. All those, all those little details that just enhance the musicality domain, the workflow, everything, the routines, etc.
- What’s your creative process like? How would you say it differs when being the artist and then when you put on your producer’s hat?
I love both. The thing is, I’ve always just been about the art, and not completely obsessed with the idea of me being in the spotlight. I do feel like there are certain messages that only I can, like, emit, that only I can bring to life, because I know what I exactly want to do. But half the time or more than half the time I’m just completely grateful to have enough trust and enough position from people who are in position to help me get what I have out there.
That’s just a blessing. So I don’t really switch hats. I put as much effort into my own stuff as I would in yours if you ever decide to song write. So it would be, it would be the same exact hat. No switching hats. If I’m producing for you, I’m producing for you for this with the same energy.
Now, naturally, whoever you are, whatever type of music you make, and everything that comes with you will now influence how I approach it, the sound and play. I love studying who I’m working with. Because that’s the only difference when I’m working on my own. On my own, with myself I’m pretty comfortable. I kind of know myself, I know what my routine is and what I like to do, so I don’t have to overthink my process. But when I’m working with somebody else, usually I take time or ask questions. A lot of them. To figure out how they like their process to be handled and dealt with and try as much as I can. I took over that in order to get the best results. But generally, I don’t really switch hats, I bring in the full package every time.
- When it comes to the music as the artist, producer and all around creator — you are killin’ it. Especially at such a young age (20). Can you describe how it feels to be in this cyclone of good fortune that you’re experiencing right now? How are you handling all of it?
It feels, it feels great. But most importantly, just to take myself out of the spotlight. I really, really feel like it’s something bigger at stake. Well as I’m working, because in my specific situation, I am a huge one in a million case from where I’m from. I am currently breaking records as I move at a very young age for not my neighborhood, or my city or my whole country. So when I go ahead and work with certain artists, or go ahead and get certain awards, very often I have been the first ever. That’s in a span of two years.
Even working with artists as big as Ariana or whatever the example you might want to take from our conversation. I’m like the first to do it. So, it feels great to myself but there’s this very positive pressure that is also attached to it. The fact that I need to prove something to a country. I’m very proud of that.
They’ve asked for interviews and they’ve asked for little things here and there. And I’m like, I’m not done doing what I want to show yet. So I don’t necessarily want to go ahead and do that. And end up not getting anything from that day on. Feel me? I rather come and prove my point, and then come back and speak and, have the tools and the words necessary to even speak and have a conversation. But that’s the best feeling. The best feeling is to understand that, of course, its a very hard industry to pierce through. And it’s a very hard industry to even get attention from. But the fact that I did it from a place where people don’t…
But I was like, to me. Even coming to America was like a successful move. Like, okay, we’re in America now. We get to be in a country where we can make things happen. Feel me? like even coming to America. And even when I came and started talking to people, a lot of people I noticed took that for granted naturally because you feel me you’re born in a country where you’re born in so you don’t necessarily see the opportunities the same way.
But I would come to LA, like when I first came to LA, and was working with people, I was noticing how, in my opinion at first, a lot of people were a little bit lazier. Because LA has always been here. No, listen, I just got out here and I’m gonna do three sessions a day if I need to. That’s kind of what got me where I am. And now conversating back with those same people, when they’re like, how did you? how did you? I’m like, Yo, listen, I just really saw it for what it was. Some million people, 2 million important people, a million important events and a million important rooms you could be in. And if you don’t go to war for being in those rooms and those events and meeting those people, you’re gonna kind of stagnate.
Demos for Drake — The Mixtape
- Your brand new project, ‘Demos for Drake’ is a no-skip necessary drop off. The title alone is captivating. What inspired the title and overall concept of your most recent release?
This was me stepping into his realm, looking up all the Sonics he’s traveled through history with him and his producers and his songwriters and being like, okay, they’ve tapped here. How do I not go so far from that, but bring in what Nami would bring into the table. What he would come to me for. I don’t want to do a specific Drake style, because he already has that. So I explored those grounds. And it was fun.
NAMI INTERVIEW CONTINUED…
- With that being said, would you say Drake is an overall influence to your artistry & not just for the project. In addition to being an artist you look up to in regards to the level of excellence you feel that you aspire to reach with your music career?
Yeah most definitely. That’s why I submitted tracks for his new album. Although it didn’t make the album I’m still influenced by his art and the music he creates.
- How long did your 6-track mixtape take to curate?
It took me — in general, under a month. Let’s actually not give it a time… let’s give it specific numbers. Like it took me about eight sessions. I did eight to nine sessions and worked on six songs. It was six songs. So I went for each specific song, I recorded it the same day. And then for the last two or three days I had I pretty much just mixed it. I mastered the project myself. But everything was kind of super grassroots. It didn’t take me much time. The only thing is, it happened in a spread out amount of time. So I don’t want to say it took me three months because I wasn’t working on it for three months.
If G was here, she would be able to tell you but G was pretty much just fighting to get me rooms, not fighting, but she was really trying. So she would have to get me rooms through these very slipped through the cracks methods. So it was it was very as grassroots as you can imagine. It was very much like, we’ll use the three hours we have here. And then if we get these many hours this day, then it was that through spread out.
That’s the main message. I would like to like stress when it comes to how long it took to work on it. It wasn’t a long amount of time, it was a very puzzled amount of time. This year, take this year and then I just sat in my bedroom right where I’m at for the last month and just kind of sat down and like produced every song. Then produced every remaining song and just kind of wrote the songs in here before I got the rooms and it was very fun. It was very fun. Took me a lot of hard work, but not a lot of time if that makes sense.
- Like I said previously, the mixtape is great! My top 2 tracks are “Daps, handshakes & hugs” & “Somebody’s Lying”. As the creator, what would you say if your favorite or a lyrical highlight off the project that’s your favorite?
It’s not so hard for me on this specific project just because this is a project where I enabled the art of emulation. I came in as any songwriter would I just have the blessing to also be a good producer. With the privilege to have that back my songwriting so I can really use the art of emulation to the fullest I can. I wanted to make something that sounded like songs I would like to hear Drake sing. Because my own music as you’ll see later because I’m sure we’ll work again, but my own music sounds completely different. And this was just fun to make. But my very favorite track in the whole project is “who lie to you?”. Because it’s the only song where the Drake feeling thing comes at the end of the song for a few minutes.
The overall track is very much to 2080 with a driving bass. Everything feels nighttime, everything felt like you’re driving fast. And the vocal tone I chose to go for just completely something I’ve never heard Drake do. And I wanted to use that in the middle of the album as a statement. It was just something where in case people were going, Yeah, you just did what Drake always does. I just needed a safety net for Oh, shit. What the fuck is this? So it’s also a little bit of a tease of what I have to come next even though what I have to come next is very more leaning on the folk alternative side. It’s, it’s not a taste of what the music will sound like. But it’s a taste of the range, the range, the work, and where can he go?
- Also, DFD serves as your initial release as an artist outside of the world of producing. What was the transition like? Do you feel it was easy because you understood the background of both worlds or more complicated to step out of producer mode and just be an artist?
Absolutely. This was a ridiculously spontaneous reaction and decision. It was when Drake released ’Certified Lover Boy’. I realized I didn’t have a song on there. And I was like, well, the songs I sent for that shit need to go somewhere. So I literally just package them up and put them out. It was the most wild and the most spontaneous reaction. And I’m working on making more of those, always. Because I realized a lot of people in this industry I work in, walk on eggshells. Including people that I work with very closely. It kind of motivates how I move as well.
So just in general, it wasn’t over thought at all. It was definitely thought of carefully, but not over thought. Like, literally who’s with me, and whoever was with me, I was gonna go, but even if my manager wasn’t down for it, I had already was loading it to distribution platforms, I was like, I’m gonna put this out. Then the people receiving it…It’s been so amazing. I mean, it did what I initially intended it to do. Now, if it continues to grow beautiful, I’m not afraid of it. My only fear at the time was that it grows so big that people attach themselves to that idea of me, that kind of becomes a hard thing when I come with the other kind of music.
But just in general, what I wanted to do is a statement, like hey, listen, we all as songwriters have songs in our computer. And I just didn’t want these to sit in mine. This was simply like a blocked out chunk of what I do every day, I could release demos for Kanye, I could release the demos for Arianna. I could release a demo for whomever.
It was fun. And the only reason why I wouldn’t do it even though it’s a really good idea, is because I’ve definitely thought about it a lot. The only reason why I wouldn’t do it is because I also want to give my space to grow as the artist. I also don’t want to limit myself. I want people to one day do demos for Nami. If I based my whole career off of me pitching songs, to other artists it never changes the dynamics. It just becomes the guy who wrote songs for people. I will actually need to spotlight my shit in order to get anywhere in this country. So that’s something I think was a one and done
The Career —
- Next, throughout your career you’ve collaborated with some of today’s trending talents, like Ariana Grande, RUSS, Bryson Tiller, YBN Cordae, Earthgang, Amine, and many more. Are there any upcoming collaborations we can be on the lookout for?
I could talk about it because he posted it, but I have a Justin Bieber song coming soon. Very excited about that. He posted it on his Instagram story while showing his Met Gala outfit. And that had me very excited. It was actually an idea I worked on two years ago. And I’d never heard the Justin Bieber verse on it until he posted it with the Met Gala thing. So I was like, Oh, that’s really exciting. That’s something I could talk about.
- You’ve also received Platinum recognition, what was that experience like?
Amazing! I’m not done yet though. More Platinum recognition off my own music
What’s Next? —
- We are excited to hear more about your craft and what you’re currently focused on, what’s next for Nami?
Everything else is pretty much on the low but very exciting stuff. Very exciting stuff. More importantly, my own stuff. That’s what’s really nice. I’m dedicating my time now — a lot of it into figuring out what’s the best angle to give people my next piece of music. It’s gonna be really cool. It’s gonna be really cool. We’re gonna talk again, and we will be in very completely different positions. Trust me.
- Thank you so much again for chopping it up with myself for KAZI Magazine today! Before we close out, is there a message that you’d like to leave fans with?
Keep a close eye for more Nami! Just watch out for what’s next. Thank you for all of the love and support!