[Q&A] snny Helps Us Find and Embrace Our Truths with ‘Otitọ’

Photo Credit: POND Creative (@pondcreative)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // May 8, 2020

It’s not every day we get to discover an astounding talent from Africa’s Ivory Coast, but snny is our guy. Combining electronic pop and R&B, snny has created a stunning EP that has us hopeful for the future without forgetting our past. After returning from his birthplace, which he hadn’t been to in 18 years, snny is more than pleased to present his stellar new EP, Otitọ.

On Otitọ, snny reflected,

“I want people to listen to something that I create and feel they can create something too, no matter what world they’re in. Especially kids that are immigrants and feel marginalized. For me, to try to empower kids in any sense is important.”

To celebrate the release of his new music, we recently chatted with snny about finding truths, Dirty Dancing, and of course, Otitọ.

HH: For those who don’t know, how did you first get into music? Who were your favorite musicians growing up? 

S: Music sort of crept into my life. I was really more into basketball and literature as a kid. I grew up with my mom playing everything from Jimi Hendrix to traditional African music around the house. It wasn’t until one summer when my best friend and I started messing around with some instruments in his mom’s basement that music really started to become a huge part of my life. I understood that for me, it was the best way to express myself exactly how I wanted to without compromise. 

HH: Your innovative combination of pop, hip hop, and R&B really does set you apart from other musicians. What inspired you to pursue this music style? 

S: I never really set out to pursue a specific music style. I just create using the tools and colors that resonate with me the most. 

HH: Otitọ focuses on introspection of love, family, and identity as you’ve experienced countless changes throughout your lifetime. What’s the overall message of the EP? 

S: It’s a message that’s rooted in the idea of finding your own truth, whatever shape or form that takes for you, and swimming in it. 

HH: You’ve always been unafraid to experiment with different soundscapes. How did you come up with the idea to incorporate flutes and brass in “User Not Found?” 

S: I love the flute. I think it’s one of the most colorful instruments you can use and I had been waiting for the right moment to add some to this project. Brass is a big part of traditional Ivorian (from the Ivory Coast) music, so I wanted to infuse a bit of my heritage into this record in the most organic way. 

HH: What does “Abidjan” mean to you? What was it like returning to your birthplace after such a long time? 

S: It’s hard to describe because there were so many emotions at once but that city just has so much life, so much spirit. Abidjan is a maxim for the kids coming up there and creating some of the most beautiful, distinctive art in the world. 

HH: “Somewhere in Brooklyn” really is a sad song that people can dance to. What dance moves would you suggest go well with this stellar track? 

S: Haha, any of those moves from Dirty Dancing or Save the Last Dance.

HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?

S: Bob Dylan; he’s influenced me the most and that would just be wild. 

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

S: SiR – “You Can’t Save Me”
Kllo – “Still Here”
Four Tet – “School” 

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