5 - EP

5 - EP

Abigail Chams was always destined to make music. “I’m always creating something, always writing something, playing something,” she tells Apple Music about her process. “Music, for me, is not just something that I do as a career. It’s literally a part of my life. It’s who I am, it’s my everything. Waking up every morning and getting to do what I love is beautiful.” Born Abigail Chamungwana, the singer was a childhood virtuoso, already capable of playing the guitar, violin and piano perfectly at age nine. The Tanzanian native rose to fame across Africa with her emotive cover of “BROWN SKIN GIRL”—which received a co-sign from none other than Beyoncé. For her debut project, 5, the singer ventures beyond the boundaries of the folkloric sound that’s most identifiable with her to explore the intricacies and mysteries of romance. “5 is really a lot about love,” she says. “It’s about a young girl who’s experiencing love for the first time. It’s just about love—the first time for everything and how beautiful it is, then how scary it is. That’s really the message about a young girl who’s experiencing life and all these amazing things for the first time.” Performed in a delightful blend of Swahili and English, 5 is a fun, adventurous body of work that tenderly peels at the layers of a 21st-century romance with inspiration from Afropop, amapiano and bongo flava. “Falling in Love” is a tender piano-led ballad that explores the incredulity of attraction while “Nani?” is a steamy collab with Tanzanian singer, Marioo. Even when the going gets tough on “Chapati” and the romance in question unravels, Chams’ witty anecdotes, delicate mastery of slang and balmy melodies smooth the edges. Read on as Chams takes us through 5, track by track. “Falling in Love” “I was sitting at my piano and playing some chords randomly. Then I thought to myself, ‘Wow, these chords actually sound really good.’ So, I just started singing whatever was coming to my mind. I started talking about how there was a guy that I was obviously talking to but I hadn’t realised until that moment that I was actually falling in love. It was a foreign feeling to me because it’s not really something I’ve ever experienced. I was starting to ask myself questions in the song like, ‘Is this how it’s supposed to be?’ Right after I wrote that first verse in the chorus, I was like, ‘OMG’. I’m someone that’s really big on moments and I was like, ‘I have to go to the studio right now. I’m going to record this. I want to do this today. I want to go to sleep and be listening to this demo.’ I called [producer] Abbah, went to the studio and laid down the foundation. We recorded the verse and wrote the second verse right there.” “Nani?” (feat. Marioo) “This is a very fun song. It’s a fusion of bongo flava and amapiano, but also Afropop. ‘Nani’ is a Swahili word for ‘who’ and it comes from a really famous game that we play in East Africa as kids. So Marioo and I turned a tune that every East African kid played, had fun with and enjoyed, into a song. In Swahili, we say, ‘Is this what it’s like to be in love? Because I can’t eat without this girl. I can’t sleep without this boy.’ It’s a very descriptive song and that’s how we created it.” “Milele” “‘Milele’ is a Swahili word for ‘forever’. It’s a story about a young girl and a young boy who meet and it is basically love at first sight. I describe how I felt the second our eyes met, how I felt the second we touched, the second we spoke. In the chorus, I sing a line in Swahili that translates to ‘I just hope that our love lasts forever.’ Honestly, the song was especially inspired by my parents, who have been together for a long time. We live in a time of toxic relationships and everyone making toxicity to be so cool. It feels normal now but I am still a lover girl deep down inside. Right now, the song is like a wedding anthem in Tanzania.” “Corazon” (feat. Rayvanny) “‘Corazon’ is less of the lovey side and more into the sensual area of love that comes with intimate moments. It’s a very hot, very steamy track. ‘Corazon’ is the Spanish word for ‘heart’. So it’s a duet between a guy and a girl, me and Ray, singing to each other about how we’re in love. I say, ‘You’re my heart,’ but it’s more focused on those intimate and sensual moments of love.” “Bata” “If you listen to the song, it’s very upbeat and very fun. What we talk about in the song—in the chorus—in Swahili means that you only live once, so let loose. Life is unpredictable, so whatever happens, happens. I’m going to live my life and I’m going to have a good time. Young people having fun, going out and not really caring about what people think, not really caring about what’s happening in their lives.” “Chapati” (feat. Whozu & Chino) “‘Chapati’ is quite an interesting song. Chapati is Swahili food, but in Swahili, we use ‘chapati’ like a slur. Basically, this song is like a diss track. I sang [it] with Whozu, so it’s also a collaboration and a girl singing to her ex. She’s telling him she knows he’s got a new lover. At this point of the EP, we’ve broken up. I met this guy, I was falling in love. Then we had our moment on ‘Nani?’ where it was like, ‘Is this what it’s like to be in love?’ Then we had ‘Milele’, where it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m definitely in love now, let’s be together forever.’ Then we have ‘Corazon’ where we explore all the sensual and intimate areas of love. With ‘Chapati’, it’s like, ‘Damn, we were in love, but it’s over.’ Now this is me singing to my ex that he’s crazy if he thinks that I’m going to let him back in my life. So the chorus translates to, ‘You found a new lover, you got a new girl, but she cannot compare to me. There’s no way she could be me. She can never ever be me.’ It’s a diss track. Then Whozu comes in and does the same to me.”

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