From My Soil To Yours

From My Soil To Yours

“This album is really about me going back to my roots,” soul singer-songwriter Amanda Black tells Apple Music. “There's a lot of going back to my childhood, to things that I've learned as a child, to just going back to understand why I live the way that I live, or I think the way that I think, and me going back to heal that inner child and expose all of those things in their many facets. I I found myself really having to dig deep. It's very much going back home.” An eleven-track journey through healing co-produced by Christer and Vaughn Fourie, Amanda Black’s fourth studio album finds the artist at her most confident and fearless—and it’s evident across both sonics and themes. “First off, the way that I say the things [here], it's more commanding,” she explains. “It's not hopeful—it’s knowing. As far as the vocals, I’d say it's me not thinking too much about it. And it really started with [2019’s] Mnyama, letting go of [the idea that] ‘I'm a singer; I need to always be belting and doing and doing and doing’. So with this album, vocally, even sonically in writing, I let myself go. I'm more at peace with myself and decisions that I make now. I am very, very deliberate in making decisions that are not based on fear anymore.” Unlearning and trading fear for self-empowerment also helped the artist redefine who she is, and how she shows up in the world. “Amanda Black today is me—instead of ‘I am her’,” she clarifies. “I am me, but still peeling back those layers. Right now, I show up as me, whatever that me is. I never want to sound like I've figured it out, because healing is not a straight line; it's a journey. Sometimes I'm a different kind of me. And I've come to accept those mes. So, uAmanda is uAmanda. Still growing. Still evolving.” Read on as she talks through key tracks from the album. “Bettur” “‘Bettur’ was actually supposed to be on Mnyama. And I went back to listen and I'm like, 'It's part of the story.' On this album I really was deliberate with how I was saying the words, in that, even if I'm saying I'm sad... It's predictive writing. It's how I want to feel. 'I want to feel better. I'm not better.' And it marked the beginning. I'm seeing into the future because we will be better. I believe that we will be all right and we will find ourselves. We will... I can feel it in my blood. I can feel that people are healing. People are allowing themselves to deal with themselves, to deal with their stuff slowly. We are not running as much as we used to.” “Mali” “This is more of a rebellion. We’re in the ‘bag’ era, putting money in front of everything—in front of love, in front of kindness, in front of family, in front of relationships—it really started wearing me down. For about a good two years, I was just grinding—but I was missing out on everyone's lives. That really started wearing me down, and then I had to stop, and in 2022, I decided, I'm not taking gigs. I needed to find a way to do my own shows. And even now, I'm still trying to figure out a way to work the industry my way, but in a way that doesn't absolutely kill my spirit, in a way that I'm not compromising myself and my integrity, not compromising my soul. We are so money hungry and money greedy that we don't care about each other. I need money, but I don't have to love it. There should be a difference. I view life differently now. I want to have longevity. I don't want to burn out. Once you stand for yourself, you're not making a decision out of anger or greed or whatever. And then you realise that it's been working out all the time. I've been living off music since I started. I never thought that I would be able to sustain myself through my career, through my passion. And I'm like, ‘How could we stress?’ We stress about a lot, but things work out.” “Love Is For Mahala” “We've made love a commodity. ‘You must do this to be loved’—it’s conditional. I've always loved myself, but it's been layers of it, different layers of it. Accepting those different versions of me, even the ugly ones, really enabled me to understand what love is. Experiencing a patient love really helped me to understand that I need to be patient with myself. And in doing that, I then was like, ‘This thing is free. Never mind what a person does for you. Do you love you?’ In relationships, we want a lot from people, but we don't know how to give [that] to ourselves. No one can make you happy. And the thing is, when you do know how to make yourself happy, the other person can just enhance it. You can tell them that this is how I love me; this is how I would like to be loved. You have to really be self-aware of your faults, and what you won't accept from somebody else. And when you know how to treat yourself, it's easier. Love is free. And if it's not free, it's not love. I think if the world was more about love, about kindness, not about stepping on each other, then we wouldn't be fighting ourselves every day.” “Nguwe” “When I wrote the song in 2022, it was the beginning of my last tour, when I started not wearing makeup on stage. And my hair—this was the very beginning of this journey. I was scared. I was working through the confidence to go up on stage every night as myself. And this is now a journey of self-love. I need to love myself—but how do we even do that? And ‘Nguwe’ was that affirmation for me. You have to love yourself to be able to love someone else, to be able to allow someone to love you. Don't you take yourself for granted. And a part of that [is about] saying no to things and being like, ‘What's good for me is this’, and that's love. Choosing what's good for you, more than what you want, is love. I'm worth this amount of respect. I respect myself.” “Love My Body” “This song puts together two things. First, the historical context of why as a black woman, I didn't love my body for a very long time. The fact that I have to love it, means that I've hated it. The second part is about the woman, and the struggle for freedom. And I remember saying one time that Black men will never get the freedom that they want [by] excluding us. It will never happen. Because of the patriarchy, Black men have fallen into that trap and excluded us. And there is no liberation without the Black woman. [This was about] me then grasping that, and realising that it is within our power to fix that for ourselves—how we view ourselves, and how we view each other. It's very important to go back for many, many reasons, because a lot of this new generation doesn't understand why we are the way that we are, why they're the way that they are, why they see the world they way they do. And it's like ideally we need to be learning from each other. There needs to be a middle ground. We cannot just say, ‘Oh, the kids are messed up’. Who messed the kids up? There must be accountability. In the second part, I take accountability because I am a part of why I don't love my body, so I apologise to my body. Some of the decisions that I've made have made me hate my body even more. So this song is very much a healing to how I feel about my body. We talk about my mind, we talk about how I love myself, self-love.” “Masithandane” “We are one. All of us are connected through our history. Besides our history, we are literally energetically connected. When you see yourself, you will see somebody else. We treat people the way that we treat ourselves. ‘Masithandane’ is a call to come together. It's about unity. It's about family. I've made so many mistakes and the way that I now am showing myself grace, it helped me be able to show [other people] grace. It’s the journey of realising that you are me, I am you, and we are in tune, all over the world. ‘Masithandane’ is one of those songs that just encapsulates it. Nothing will ever change unless we see each other and we care. People are hurting each other, because they're hurt. So, ‘Masithandane’ is the thing that we all need to fight towards. There's no change without unity. There'll be no healing without us uniting with ourselves and uniting with our families and uniting with each other.” “Ntaka Yam” “The song is about flying after you've doing all the self work. All of the realising, all of unlearning that I've been doing. ‘Ntaka Yam’ is giving myself permission to now fly, to now live, basically. It’s me speaking life to myself, saying it's time now. Don't be afraid anymore. You've got it. You've got the answers. You've done the work, so be happy. With all that I've learned, with all that I've let go of, now I need to back it up sort of. Because I'm like, ‘Okay—now it's time to test these wings.’” “Worth it” “With this one, it just felt fitting to close it, because I know now. Going through that journey of connecting with myself, reconciling with myself, got me to that moment of ‘I am worth it’. Even though when I was singing it, I was still struggling to fly because of the fear of, ‘Okay, I now am saying I'm here. And what if I backslide? What if I backslide? What does that look like? Now what do I do? What do I do?’ It's like, whether you backside or not, you are still worth it. At the end of the album, it serves as a resolve to this journey as, now you've been working towards this, you are worth it. Full stop.”

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