In October, blue,girl released their latest album, See Through – a lush pop album, rebellious and beautiful. This time, singer-songwriter Ahomari and their longtime collaborator Sean enlisted bassist Marceline and Kiwyon, who played drums and synth on the album. With a full band, they’ve crafted a stunning album of pop songs that live and breath love, bitter disappointment, despair, and, in the end, hope and resolve. But, blue,girl is, at its heart, Ahomari, an outspoken artist with a restless and soulful pop vision that only expands with each album. So, I am grateful that they have answered a few questions about their songwriting, collaborating on the new album, the pain of these pop songs, and the frustrations of a small southern music scene.
From your perspective, how has blue,girl evolved with See Through?
In the beginning blue,girl was very bare. Incredibly acoustic and raunchy. I still love those songs because those songs were the foundation for where we are now. We’ve evolved with so many textures and much more experimentation. With See-Through we all had goals musically. We wanted to hit certain genres and I’m really proud of the work we all put in.
What do you think fans of your music will be most surprised by?
That it’s more electronic. I was surprised by this album when we were making it. The growth is audible. Marcy’s bass killed us all. Kiwyon really surprised me with his drum patterns and synths. I’m incredibly pop and I think this time around with Sean’s guitar playing I got to play around more with that. He’s an incredible guitarist and we’ve learned each other really well. It’s oddly funny that some of these songs are danceable.
How did expanding your collaboration on this album change the music or the process?
Well it was all acoustic. Some of these songs were transported into different genres. It’s not changed the process much. It came together quickly. I want to be different every release.
Does your songwriting process begin with your vocals in mind? How does this work collaboratively?
When I write the lyrics I’m either with Sean or not. Sometimes it’s compiled lyrics from things I’ve yet to use. “Insecure” was my favorite song before recording and it almost didn’t get recorded. Sean came over with his guitar and the lyrics came quickly. Blue,girl has never made like a pop pop song and that’s what I’ve always wanted in this group. So I wrote the lyrics and vocal melody intentionally pop. When we all came together it became something else. The first time I heard everyone’s instruments together I almost died and cried. A lot of the songs on this album are songs that I dreamed of. This group is everything to me.
How did you build your band for this album?
Well, we’re a group. So it wasn’t difficult. We’re all friends. It was natural.
How does making music here in South Carolina, specifically Columbia, impact your music?
It doesn’t. I can only speak for me. What gets promoted in Columbia doesn’t reflect any demographic I fall under. It’s coming around to artists of color. People prefer me on stage than with an opinion off it. Maybe if I cared less about my quality of life I could make some impact.
How do you think your music fits into the local music scene? Or even a Southern music scene? Any frustrations?
To be honest. The only artist I’m following locally are people David & Deborah Adedokun, Niecy Blues, Jade Blocker, Mario McClean, Rob Kershaw of Nepotism, Disapoura, Stagbriar, Flower Shopping and etc. There’s a lot of great music here. I’ve found that as a black artist if I have no proximity to whiteness then I’m not talented or worthy of being paid. I don’t know where our music fits but I know it’s good.
As a pop album, to me, this is a triumph – yet your music is entirely singular, challenging traditional pop tropes. I’m interested in whether you see yourself as a pop artist, and if so, how you’d like to change pop music.
I’m a pop artist. I can’t speak for everyone in the group though. To be honest pop music or music in general would nothing without black queer artists. We’ve been moving and pushing the boundaries.
Also, there’s a defiance amidst the heartbreak to this album that I find hopeful and provocative. Was this a feeling going in? Did it emerge through the process?
I’m defiant in anything I create. Learned that from my mother. It’s really easy to just be sad. There’s nothing wrong with sadness. We need sadness but that’s not how I experience heartbreak. I think about all the things I did wrong. Sometimes it’s my fault. Sometimes it’s not. In relationships I’ve learned to be subjective. These songs span about 3 relationships for me and they’re all approached differently. I’m a ball of shifting emotions. Not the easiest person to be with.
Finally, what’s next? Any future collaborations?
Next year will be the year we start performing these songs and I’m excited. I’m speaking it out into the universe. Would love to collaborate with the artists I mentioned above. At the moment the only collaborations we have are between the four members of blue,girl.