Stepping into her truest form, Amaal lusciously stirs up a cosmic blend of old-school R&B and Afrofuturism with her new EP Milly.

Throughout all the velvety vocals and addictive ambience on the Toronto R&B artist’s release, a profound message of female autonomy and sexual liberation rises to the surface. 

In a recent interview with Complex Canada, the Juno-nominated songstress explained that ‘Milly’ was a former nickname she used to anonymously explore the world outside of her close-knit Muslim community. She did so after her music began receiving heavy backlash and negative criticism from her more conservative community members who felt her self-expression wasn’t conforming to their ideas of female modesty.

“I started to realise that I was just sort of speaking about the same thing [in my music] … and creating from a place of shame and fear, because I am a Somali woman and … it’s a bit taboo to be doing music,” explained Amaal. “So I almost put myself in a box. I did it to myself, you know, and I just remember realizing I was doing a disservice to myself and my music. There were things I was going through my life … and I was not talking about them.”

Amaal posing in a photoshoot for her EP Milly.
Image via Damian Borja

The criticism temporarily stifled Amaal’s creativity and lowered her into a dark place of isolation. These negative feelings, however, sparked a journey of unapologetic self-love within Amaal’s spirit and pushed her ambition behind Milly’s release to the next level.

On top of unabashed self-love, Milly is lathered with nostalgically sultry sounds that recall the best of Aaliyah, while maintaining a fresh, futuristic soulfulness that stays true to Amaal’s raw talent.

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 this release. “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.”

Stream Milly below.