“Music gave me a lot of purpose.”
In a bright room, with her window casting a glow behind her, sat Ameerah. We had the pleasure of sitting with her to discuss addiction and balance in relation to her latest single, Sickness, which came out on May 25th.
Ameerah has been surrounded by music all her life. What had her first turn to music as a use to cope with hard times was her parents’ divorce. At two years old, her parents decided to get a divorce and her mom remarried two years later. Due to this event, her pivotal years were spent moving every year, turning to artists like Kanye West and Hilary Duff to get her mind off what she felt. She calls this time in her life exhausting and said, “I would really lean on music to get my mind off of things because I didn’t have the best relationship with my dad growing up; he wasn’t around much and I missed that feeling.”
Turning to music helped Ameerah find purpose, especially as a South Asian woman. In the mainstream music industry, there seems to be a lot of representation for certain races and cultures but very little brown representation. Ameerah says, “People don’t take me seriously until I actually show them my talent because it’s not stereotyped where brown people have such great voices and, if they do, they’re more in that Bollywood scene.” While Ameerah says she hasn’t faced blatant discrimination, it is something definitely felt when it comes to the music industry.
“It’s proving to people that you have that talent because you’re not stereotyped as having that talent, but if I said to someone ‘yeah I’m a doctor or I studied engineering, they’d so easily accept it.”
However, Ameerah still pursued music, not letting the doubts of others or her own self-doubts and struggles stop her. Recently, she released Sickness, a single that touches on her history of harmful coping mechanisms and imposter syndrome. She reveals that there was a period in her life when she heavily relied on weed, getting high all the time. “I almost used it as an escape from myself where every night I would come home and just get high,” she reveals. Where she used to use music to escape her reality, she turned to getting high.
She was able to find a way to leave that behind her and figure out a way to create and live without that reliance. “A lot of it has to do with internal reflection and mindfulness,” she tells us of where she is now. After a producer sent her the beat for Sickness, she and her engineer, Vivid, immediately knew they wanted to use it. She looks back at how the melodies started organically popping into her head. She says, “ I didn’t come to the studio with anything written, I just wanted to live in the moment and fully take the beat and emulate how I felt.” Ameerah wanted this song to feel as light and euphoric for the listeners as she felt trying to escape.
Now, as she reminds herself of all her accomplishments (performing for Brampton for New Year’s Eve, winning a citizenship award, performing for Women’s Day), she is able to move past any imposter syndrome and find balance. However, she’s also made peace with the fact that balance may never be something she achieves, and that’s okay. She tells us, “I have this organized chaos in my head and I don’t think I’ll ever find a balance, but I’ll always find innovative ways to live my life.”
Ameerah is looking at a summer ahead of her releasing more fun songs and experimenting with her voice. She provides representation for young brown girls in music and is ready to hit more milestones and make space in this industry.