Ahkinoah Habah Izarh also known as AHI (pronounced “eye”) is a Toronto indie-soul artist. We recently spoke with him about his musical future, being noticed by Bob Marley’s family, and his hit single reaching over two million streams.
Hi Ahkinoah! How are you doing today?
Things are great, I’m having the time of my life!
You’ve been playing shows a lot recently from viewing your Twitter profile. What has been your favorite show/festival to date?
Every show brings something good to the table because once I get on stage I’m always giving it my all. But honestly, I’m really into house concerts a lot, I really like the pace and intimacy of them. And I guess my NPR Tiny Desk concert was in some ways like a house concert, and playing that was a dream come true for me.
One of your songs, “Ol’ Sweet Day” has surpassed over two million streams on Spotify right now. Did you ever think your music would have been played this much?
2M streams on one song is awesome and I couldn’t have predicted that at all, but I always remind myself there are people with 200 million streams on a song. So what’s really important to me is that my streams came organically, with no machine behind them. Ol’ Sweet Day grew totally independent of PR, press, or any kind of promotion. It was all about people sharing it, saving it and listening to it over and over again.
As your music has been performed across the world by numerous of people, the Marley Family stood out to me. What was your reaction when Mrs. Marley featured your cover video on Bob Marley’s website?
Bob Marley is my #1 inspiration when it comes to music. He’s partly why I believed in myself enough to start singing. The only thing better than getting a co-sign from Rita Marley would be to get a co-sign from Bob Marley himself!
What are a few things that influence you to create and write music?
I think writing music helps me to be less cynical about life, and if it helps me to be less cynical I’m convinced it’ll help others to do the same. I write songs to motivate me and inspire me first. And I’ve also convinced myself that I’m filling a void in the music industry. That might sound arrogant, but I write songs that I feel real people can connect and relate to.
What can fans expect from you later on this year?
I started working with Nashville-based company Thirty Tigers for the release of my second album on my own label, 22nd Sentry. I’m really excited about that!