2021 has been a big year for Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter Amaal. Back in July she returned with her single “Honey”, produced by the Grammy-nominated duo Nicky and Davey, where she celebrated her sexual liberation having grown up in an environment of fear, judgment and shame. Then in September she returned with “Heaven”, tackling the subject of love in an Afrofuturistic context.
Now, the Toronto-based artist has returned with her sophomore EP Milly, the follow up to her previous EP Black Dove which earned her a 2020 Juno Award nomination for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. Named after her former nickname that she used to create music anonymously outside of the gaze of her community, Milly continues to explore sexual liberation and Afrofuturism while giving us those feel good R&B vibes. For Amaal, the EP is a proclamation of her freedom, liberating herself from the expectations of others, and inviting fans to go on their own journey of freedom and self-acceptance.
“Milly is the first time I experienced creating without censoring myself. I wanted to push those boundaries I always felt suffocated by. It’s the first time I’m truly just having fun, celebrating my growth, femininity and sensuality,” Amaal says of the project. “This EP has truly been my own therapy, each song liberating me in the process. I only hope it empowers others in the same way it did for me.”
The project opens with the two previously released tracks before we’re introduced to “Renegade”. On the song she sings,
Last night got me buzzing babe Still high off your energy Set me free and you know we lost control Like two wolves going at it babe The full moon brought it out of me I let you feast on my body while I scream your name
Where “Heaven” and “Honey” have a slower, more laid back vibe, “Renegade” has a bit more of a bounce, and this continues on the next few tracks including “Selfish”, one of the standout songs on the EP sonically. It’s a raw track that reveals a woman who has moved on from a relationship, recognizing her true worth.
Then to end the EP, Amaal slows it down again with “Petty Love”, another one of the standout songs. One the track, she’s forthright about wanting to leave behind childish, petty love for real, grown up, mature love.
The project on a whole exudes strength, confidence and self-worth, with some anthems for the ladies and cautionary tales for the brothers about not letting a good woman go when you find one.
The project features strong, effortless and polished vocals from Amaal with equally strong production. Combined with her “I’m done with the bullshit” and “I’m unapologetically me” attitudes, this makes for one of the best Canadian R&B projects in 2021 so far.