son of Sudanese and American parents, Amir Mohamed was born and raised
in the United States capital city of Washington DC, spending hot summers
in Khartoum learning Arabic and swimming in the Nile. Growing up amidst
the sounds of New York hip hop, his father playing Oud, Go-Go, and
gospel, Amir took his first steps as an MC producer in the analog
basement studio of his legendary neighbor, Garry Shider (Parliament
his entrepreneurial father that he too had business acumen, Amir laid
the check from his first commercial release on the kitchen table before
birthday and never looked back. Though Oddisee has gone on to perform
with The Roots, produce for Freeway, Jazzy Jeff, Little Brother, De La
Soul & Nikki Jean, and has MC’d on production from Flying Lotus,
Hudson Mohawke and Kev Brown, his proudest moment was the birth of his
critically acclaimed group The Diamond District with fellow
Washingtonians X.O. and yU.
in the music industry for his independence, Oddisee consistently debunks the scatterbrained
artist myth - doing everything from booking international tours to
photography to marketing and promoting himself and even other artists.
He now works as both artist and consultant with Mello Music Group, one
of the foremost emerging independent labels to take advantage of the
digital revolution to build a successful business.
Oddisee’s debut album "People Hear What They See" (set for release 12 June 2012) is a culmination of the duality of
his life experiences, from DC internal politics to third world
struggles, the line between love and selfishness, and the personal
conflict between self-sabotage and progress, set to a backdrop of
intricate drums, lush instrumentation, and soul-stirring harmonies.
As y'all may know, i am hitting the road this month and have already performed in my hometown of Washington DC, then Toronto and Montreal plus Seattle last night. But i still got 26 more shows to go (see below for schedule). Add to that, next week I am releasing my instrumental follow up to Rock Creek Park on October 1sttitled The Beauty In All.
I also decided to craft a new bonus mixtape, Tangible Dream, (all new material produced by and featuring yours truly) that will come as a free download exclusively with The Beauty In All.
Today, I want to share the first track from Tangible Dream, titled Own Appeal - enjoy.
The Beauty In All Tangible Dream
September 26 - Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo
September 27 - Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
September 28 - Calgary, AB @ Ship & Anchor
October 3 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
October 4 - Madison, WI @ Rathskeller
October 5 - Milwaukee, WI @ Mad Planet
October 6 - Chicago, IL @ Double Door
October 9 - Indianapolis, IN @ The Jazz Kitchen
October 12 - New York City, NY @ DROM w/ Diamond District
"The Beauty In All is about the flaws & mistakes that give life its character and worth - how even ignorance can give light to knowledge. For me, not knowing how to do something & still trying is a process that helped my production style evolve. If everything we are is out in perfect tutorials, we might never deviate from the teacher. This record is dedicated to imperfection and the sense of pride & accomplishment we get from our struggles. Hopefully, you listen to this record, reflect on the ups & downs of life, and see the beauty in all."
My music has taken me many places, most of them I can understand how & why the peoples of these lands connect with me my music. So upon arrival to a new city, most of the time I feel my presence there is some what appropriate. Never did I think my music would land me in Siberia. On my most recent trip, Olivier St louis & my self ended up in Russia's third largest city that sits in between Kazakhstan & Mongolia, Novosibirsk.
I didn't know what to expect from the crowd or its people so I came with an open mind. I left knowing that Hip Hop is every where & so are the people who appreciate it.
We also visited Moscow on this journey. I can say that I'm looking forward to my next trip to Russia.
I recently performed at Washington, DC's first "Trillectro" festival with my band. Trillectro is a new festival started by the fellas over at DC to BC. It combines performances from Hip-hop & Electronic artists alike. I had great time performing, this festival is such a good thing for my home town.
A couple of weeks ago some friends of mine decided to test my forthcoming album "People Hear What They See" on some random people on the streets of DC & London as an experiment... without telling me. Theses were the results.
I was fascinated by the responses given in this video. I'm use to reading reviews of my album by journalist & to be honest... Whether they're good or bad, I rarely agree with them. There was something so refreshing about my work being critiqued by total strangers. People with no agenda, just hearing music from an unknown artist & giving their honest opinion. In today's world, that's a rare thing. I really enjoyed what the older gentlemen had to say about my album. There were a few points I felt I over produced a bit. Loved what they guy in the shades on the bench said too. All of it really! What I liked most was the fact that people who had never heard of me, surprisingly enjoyed my work. Almost as if, they were surprised they could like something they didn't know of. What does that say about how music is pushed today? If I was seen in videos, plastered on walls, on television... Would they have been less surprised in their appreciation of my work? (whispers the title of his album)
What do you think?
Background Track: Oddisee ft. Olivier Daysoul "Let It Go, Instrumental' (from People Hear What They See)
“They say you have your whole life to make your first album/ guess I’ve been busy living so the first outcome/ was worth hearing...” - Oddisee “Ready To Rock”
Rappers are generally in the business of storytelling, but whether those stories are true or not is often a sidenote. “People Hear What They See” is Oddisee’s debut full length album, and its key concern is honesty - honesty with yourself, with what you tell the world, and the relationships people have with each other. The title came from a feeling that most of the time we’re content not to look or listen beneath the surface for the truths which lie beneath.
The steps of the Washington Memorial during the inauguration or a bus in east London just after the riots might not be the most practical places to write a song, but Oddisee felt it was important to write both what he saw happening around him and his own reactions to it - it’s easy to make up a hollow but impressive story when you’re alone. Often told by listeners that his music has a cinematic quality to it, sparking memories from the past or providing a soundtrack to an afternoon: Oddisee uses the spontaneous and unexpected moments which come from keen everyday observations and working with live musicians, rather than toiling at midnight in isolation with a crate full of samples in a studio, to create songs with an emotional and filmic quality.
Growing up in Washington DC, home to both America’s richest and poorest, shuttling between his Sudanese and African American families, Oddisee didn’t have the luxury of accepting a singular story or vision of the world as something he could believe in. “People Hear What They See” puts a microscope over those stories - be it a skewed media report on political policy, the escapist visions playing on commercial radio, an argument with a partner you’re with for all of the wrong reasons, or the fight between self-doubt and false-confidence in your own head.
Ladies & gentlemen, It brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Sean Born. Sean is the first person to but me in the studio over production. He taught me how to make beats & gave me my first beat machine. His new album, "Behind The Scale" is out on Mello music.
Here's a free track produced by yours truly. Beneath that is a stream of the whole album. Listen, love, purchase.