How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is Xori Amar and I was born and raised in Atlanta. My mom is from Brooklyn, and my pops is a big Tribe [Called Quest] fan so growing up I listened to a lot of New York hip hop/R&B such as Jay-Z, Nas, Mary J Blige, etc. I also have Honduran-Garifuna roots, so growing up with reggaeton and other Afro-Caribbean music was very common in my house or at family functions. When I started to form my music taste, I would gravitate to Kanye, Lil Wayne, and early Drake around Middle School, and later in High School, I was heavy on PND, Tiller, Big Sean, and Travis Scott. I've always loved music and the way it made me feel, but I started writing poetry first, which is how I eventually fell into songwriting and making my music around late 2015-2016 and dropped my first EP on my 18th birthday before high school graduation. I feel like I started to get a lot more serious about my craft in 2018, when I dropped my EP, Honest Hour, Vol. 2, and my very first music video for 'Somebody Like You.' I love making music because it allows me to be creatively expressive in ways that other people can relate and connect with, and in turn, inspire others, whether it be with their own emotions of love or mental health, or to believe in themselves more and not stray away from their dreams and aspirations.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling?
I don't have any formal experience in the music industry or music training/schooling outside of being in the middle and high school chorus program. I never thought about it much, but I guess that's where I learned to understand basic harmonizing and the blending of different vocal tones. When I realized that I wanted to write songs, I would try and write verses in a poetic format that I was used to before understanding how to write with the traditional song format. I would also study all the artists that I would listen to all the time and use techniques they would use and study how they switched cadences and flows and engaged the audience in an immersive listening experience through their lyricism as well.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
In 2017, I founded a talent management company called Hourglass Management + Entertainment with the help of my best friend, producer, and manager, Ian. Hourglass strives to act as an alternative to a traditional label, where hip hop/ R&B artists are provided an avenue for free creative expression with our assistance in creative support + direction. We have grown to be able to produce music videos and host events, such as release parties for our artists. This has allowed me to collaborate with an array of creative companies, such as Aera Hope, Brandon Bair, and Pushers Co., but I love being able to make music and work with the other artists in our cliques, such as Ego and Koi Sway and XION and DroTheWhale.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
Growing up, my biggest musical influences were Drake, Travis Scott, Partynextdoor, Big Sean, Bryson Tiller, Kanye, and 6LACK. I feel like all of these artists inspired me so much because of their melodies and their ability to make unique and ambient sounds that I connected with emotionally. They all are geniuses in their own right and have changed the game for generations to come. I still listen to these artists, but the new wave of artists coming in also intrigue and inspire me so much. As an artist, I can't be close-minded so I find myself listening to so many subgenres to gain inspiration, but lately, I've been bumping Don Toliver heavy on my playlists as well as Tame Impala, Gunna, Kaash Paige, Roddy Ricch in my rotation. Obviously, there are so many names that I haven't even touched on, but those names def come to mind first with all of their albums dropped this year. All of them are incredibly talented and have incredible melodic knowledge and the ability to incorporate ambient guitar into their production.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
I think that the biggest obstacles faced would be not having an industry budget as an independent artist or not having all the know-how of navigating the industry, but we learn more and more as we go. Every day is a new lesson learned about how to approach things. I constantly find myself studying the people that came before me, seeing how they navigate, engage people on social media, find their way in, and I try to emulate some of those characteristics myself.
How would you describe your sound and style?
I would describe my music as a melodic fusion of R&B and (t)rap. I guess you could call it Trap&B. Probably the best way to describe it.
What are some of your goals this year?
This year, my goal was to release music and content every single month and stay consistent, which I felt like I was able to do. At the top of the year, I released my EP, 4TH QTR, executive produced by ENL, dropped a Valentine's Day care package with the Hourglass artists, and wrapped up the year with my debut album, melody LN. Next year, my goal is to release a lot more visuals for album cuts as well as branch out more and do more features with artists at home in Atlanta and around the country.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
It's really hard choosing a top 3, but I would love to get in the studio with Mike Dean as my engineer. I would also love to work with Pi'erre Bourne and Metro Boomin on production. And if I had to choose an artist to work with, I would love to get in the studio with Jhene Aiko or Kaash Paige.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is extremely fluid and genuinely depends on the situation. Sometimes you're just thrown in the booth and you gotta create on the spot. Because I come from a writer's background, I love to listen to a beat a few times, get familiar with it, and hum different melodies and flows over it to catch a vibe before I really find a groove and figure out the right words/lyrics to go with the melodies and harmonies that are stuck in my head. Sometimes that process of getting familiar with the beat takes days or even weeks, but when I finally figure it out, it comes really easy.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
Anyone that knows me, knows that my go-to order is definitely getting a burrito bowl from Willy's with the spicy chicken. I probably go at least 2-3 times a week. If we're being honest, it should be a crime how often I am in there.