‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ Is a Moving EP That Reflects Armani White’s Personal Loss and Growth.
The thing about creativity is no matter where you go, it always follows you. Creativity was needed more than ever in a year filled with uncertainty. Philadelphia’s own Armani White has become one of my recent favorite artists. Since his 2019 album ‘Keep in Touch,’ until now, White’s music has been centered around radiating overall positivity while letting his creativity take complete control. A true lyrical genius, Armani White continues to draw inspiration from challenging situations. His latest EP, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire,’ is a five-song offering that fully displays White’s hard-hitting verses, transforming the darkest moments into compelling tracks he refers to as Happy Hood Music.
I recently sat down with Armani White for an interview and discussed how the EP came together, his approach to making emotion-driven music, and his creative process. We also dove deeper into the EP’s significance. Check out the full interview down below and make sure to stream ‘Things We Lost In The Fire.’
“The goal is to inspire constantly.”
How did the EP come together?
I have been scared as fuck to talk about it my entire career up until this past year. I lost four family members in a house fire during the summer when I was in middle school. We had an accidental house fire in Philly, and the city charged us with arson. So we had to turn ourselves in, go before a judge to prove our innocence, and get the charges dropped. But sitting in that cell, I realized how much fire had taken away from me in my life. And I conceptualized these songs around that idea of loss. I got the title from Black Thought’s funk flex Freestyle [laughs.] He was supposed to be a part of the project, but the weekend I had to turn it in, he was at Obama’s birthday party [laughs.]
The EP in its entirety is pretty deep, but something about ‘Grateful’ resonated with me strongly. What was it like working on that song?
Writing Grateful felt liberating. No matter how tough the days got, I always told myself, “someone has it worse,” and be grateful for what you do have. So writing the song, I reflected on every moment my heart was broken and smiled, knowing I made it to the other side. There’s a word, pyrrhic, that’s defined as “successful with many losses, losses that may even outweigh the success,” that’s what grateful was for me. My success. From me bailing out of jail to being on a billboard in Times Square and on a TV/Radio commercial in less than a month.
You display different sounds throughout the EP for it to only be five tracks. I’m curious to know what part of the creative process most excites you and how does that reflect your music?
The easiest part is writing the music, and the most exciting part is playing the narrator. What story are you trying to tell? What do you want the listener to learn; how do you want them to feel? I call my genre Happy-Hood Music because it’s about taking that dark-gloomy hue that every narrative paints the hood out to be, balling it up and slamming it against the wall until colors come out.
Would you say your music is more emotion-driven in that aspect?
I think it’s deeply rooted in my emotional reaction to authentic experiences, but it’s dressed in a way for everyone to enjoy it.
Although your process is intuitive, with some time in between your earliest work like 2019’s ‘Keep in Touch’ and now, can you see a trajectory?
Yessir! I think the space was necessary to evolve the sound and become a better version of myself. And the most challenging part was getting out of my way. I started so ambitious and had so many different directions I wanted to take at once; as I became more polished, the path became more defined. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
It’s been fascinating to see how many Philadelphia-based artists have thrived in the music industry over the past few years. I’m curious to hear who you’re currently rocking with from Philadelphia?
Man, we got a whole wave going on. Uzi’s album alone was one of my favorite projects from the pandemic. But other than that, Black Thought, Jazmine Sullivan, then I’m banging the youngbulls, G5 Nazz, Oz Sparx, etc.
What’s your overarching vision or goal with your music? What do you want your music to do?
The goal is to inspire constantly. To share my story and show the world what a “Yes!” looks like in a room full of “No’s.” But most importantly, to make Happy Hood Music a safe definition and not a juxtaposition for us weird kids who grew up in dangerous environments and still blossomed.
Listen to ‘Things We Lost In The Fire‘ below via Spotify and head over here for your preferred streaming service.