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A Bahrain-based American soulful singer aims to bring cultures together through her upcoming EP ‘Hood Lullaby’s’, writes Mai Al Khatib-Camille.
Yamile Henderson, aka the Queen of Trap Soul, combines her Atlanta vibes with her Bahrain upbringing.
“My goal is to spread my sound by taking the genres I am so passionate about and cultivate it with cultures I have grown to fall in love with,” said the 26-year-old, who attended Bahrain School at the age of eight and graduated from Spelman College in the US with a degree in Musical Theatre.
“Travelling back and forth, I was hit with two extremely different cultures that made me who I am.
“In America, I was able to express how the Middle East is not what the mass media in the US portrays it to be. Bahrain is very peaceful. After I graduated in the US, I missed my family and the culture of Bahrain so I came back.
“Bahrain has some of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. It is so beautiful with everything it has to offer.
“With this EP, I will allow folks back home to experience the music they’ve listened to for years - as in trap and soul - combined with the charisma and stories I’ve gained from Bahrain.
“I always describe my music as a style that makes you want to slow dance before the shoot-out. It incorporates a lot of straight forward and raw lyrics over soft soulful beats, with knocking hi-hats and deep drums. My music is raw and transcends past just one genre-style of music.”
Trap is a subgenre of hip hop that originated in the US southern states during the early 1990s.
The genre gets its name from the Atlanta slang word trap, using synthesised drums and is characterised by complicated hi-hat patterns, which is a combination of two cymbals and a pedal, along with tuned kick drums, atmospheric synths and lyrical content.
The music is fast and features snare drums and double- or triple-timed hi-hats. This is the signature sound of Trap.
Pioneers of the genre include rappers such as Gucci Mane and TI, who Yamile was heavily influenced by.
“Born in Atlanta, it was always in my blood,” added Yamile, who now lives in Galali and has a studio in Juffair. “When I attended college, it was prevalent everywhere, so I grew to love it. While I was working on my degree, I was fortunate to shadow a producer who was into Trap, so I learned a lot about the aesthetics that helped cultivate the sound.”
Another genre she gravitated to was neo soul which emerged from soul and contemporary rhythm and blues. She loved the smoothness of the music and its message-driven lyrics.
The singers that resonated with her include Amy Winehouse, Indie Arie and Erykah Badu.
Her songs can be found on SoundCloud and while she has a song called Ode to ATL, she also has plans for an Ode to Bahrain.
Yamile also encourages singers and musicians to embrace their individuality.
“My other goal in music is to be a source of inclusiveness,” she explained. “I want to be globally known as someone who embraces my own differences.
“When I was younger, I always felt my voice was weird and different. I would only sing when I was by myself. I want to be a trademark sound encouraging people to embrace what makes them unique.”
Her EP will be available on all streaming platforms by the end of October.
To hear her music, scan the QR code or follow @YamileYamileth on Instagram.