hold me when it's cold: a mixtape

hold me when it's cold: a mixtape

Though it took him just a handful of months to write produce and record, Una Rams’ hold me when it’s cold: a mixtape—his first longer-format work since 2018’s Wavy Baby EP—is a project born out of months spent in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns. He already had another project in the works, but he placed that more summer-friendly record on hold in favour of something more suited to the winter—and the mood—he found himself in. “My music sounded a lot like I was at that time,” he tells Apple Music. “It was a lot of puppy love. Felt a bit airy-fairy. And stepping into this, it kind of does feel like my coming-of-age project, because I’ve wanted to step into a more mature perspective.” The creative process provided Rams an escape from lockdown, romantic stress and the pressures of his other full-time vocation as a software engineer. “I think that there’d been this misconception for a while that, in order to make it in music, you kind of had to drop out and just pursue that on its own,” he explains. “But I don’t think it’s going to be everybody’s story. Some people have totally different passions, and both fields require a lot of creativity. I like to show that it is possible that you can balance or fulfil two different sides of yourself.” Here, he breaks down his lockdown creative escape, track by track.
“hold me when it’s cold” (feat. Mikhalé Jones) “I had a session with [the producer] Christer one day and told him about the project I wanted to work on. He was super excited for me—Samthing Soweto was actually in studio with us and we were looking for a song to collab on. Christer went through several beats and the melody on this one just said the title of the project back to me. It’s like the song just fell into me.”
“ndo tou rali” (feat. Mizo Phyll & Maeywon) “I grew up listening to Venda rap legend Mizo Phyll, so to put a stamp on it and make it official, I asked him to grace the record. He sent back vocals, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear guest vocals from Maeywon as well—what a great talent. It’s a vibe on its own, but once it’s translated, it has a whole deeper meaning. ‘Ndo tou rali’ means ‘as I am’. From the hook going down, it [translates] as, ‘I’m looking for someone that’ll love me as I am/I’m looking for someone that’ll love me/I haven’t found her/As I am, someone that loved me as I am.’ And later on in the verse, I say, ‘God must have spent some time on all your features/The angels bowed down when you were created/I’d put a ring up on your finger/If I ever find you, I’ll marry you.’”
“cut the lights” “This is one of those stories where a disappointment can lead to a blessing. On one evening, I had scheduled a studio session with someone, and they cancelled on me last minute. Seeing that I had already travelled and didn’t have anything else to do, I hit Jay Smash up to see if we could sneak in a session of our own. When I arrived, I found MashBeatz in the studio with him, and we were all just so excited to get cracking at it. They played me a selection of beats and we ended up working on two really dope sounds.”
“next2me” (feat. Langa Mavuso) “I remember going through a rough patch with the girl I’m seeing. I spent lots of time on my balcony looking at the stars and listening to Drake. I missed her so much and the lockdown wasn’t making that any easier. At one point, I was in a session with Christer; we had just finished working on one song. He decided to play a beat he received from a young producer named Rillo. And the piano intro on just had me hooked.”
“closer2you” (feat. Muzi) “This was during the first 2020 lockdown. My girl was isolating at her home; I was at my place. We couldn’t see each other. And I was just yearning for her, her touch, her time, her presence. There’s a line there that goes, ‘Even when you’re outside, you still remain in my mind.’ I don’t normally put my producer hat on, but when I do, it’s bound to be weird space internet music, as I like to call it. I’m a big space nerd and my vision is to make music people will play in spaceships when humans become a multiplanetary species.”
“rendezvous” (feat. Nanette) “I wanted the song to be conversational and had recently discovered Nanette online. Her voice just stood out for me. I think we all feel like there’s never enough time when a romance is sizzling, especially in the context of lockdown—missing someone you dearly love and not being able to see them.”
“btb” (feat. Blxckie) “I once broke my bed trying to make a TikTok. It would make this annoying squeaky sound that sounded a bit…familiar. When Rillo sent me this beat, I was instantly in love. I wanted to create a ‘come through’ anthem that would be sexy but tasteful, so ‘btb’ was created. I wrote this right after writing ‘next2me’, so I got tired after verse one—so, it hit me to get a feature on it. I instantly thought of Blxckie. He has this versatility and delivery that’s just immaculate. I remember calling Rillo to tell him we needed bed-squeaking sounds for this, because if there’s anything I’m going to do, it’s understand the assignment.”
“who do I call?” (feat. Lucille Slade) “I love making projects cohesive and having them flow, so I paid Christer a visit one day to work on transitions. At some point, he played this beautiful melody on the keys. I immediately told him to open up a new session, and this song was birthed. It felt like the perfect song to close the project with. Later, I got a call from Lucille, and she was going crazy over ‘rendezvous’—Christer had played it for her. She was actually one of the first people I wanted to collab with, so I asked Christer to open this up for her, and I completely lost it over her vocals. I intentionally ended off with the line, ‘Hold me when it’s cold’, because that is the melody I use on the first track and the wind sounds.”


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