AHI Reflects on Life's Journey In 'Made It Home': Premiere

Jess Baumung
AHI

"Made It Home" was the first song soulful Toronto singer-songwriter AHI wrote for his upcoming sophomore album, In Our Time. And it almost didn't make it onto the set.

"At the time when I wrote this it was kind of filling the same spot as another song on the album," AHI (pronounced "eye") tells Billboard. "It was a faster song, kind of a pop-leaning feel. We decided to slow it down, bring in some strings and make it more heartfelt and more open, and when we were done everybody in the studio was like, 'Whoa, I think we did something special here...'" And rest assured that "Made It Home" means a lot to AHI (real name Ahkinoah Habah Izarh), who comes home from his world musical travels to his wife (and co-manager) and three children, who sat in on meetings with his label (Thirty Tigers) and booking agency (Paradigm).

"It's a pretty basic song in terms of sentiment," he explains, "about people looking back at their lives, realizing they've been looking for answers but realizing the journey and where they are presently is the answer. It's our story in a way; We're still a young couple but I see us getting to a point where we can look back at what we've been doing and feel like, 'Yeah, we didn't know how we were gonna get there, but we got there, and I wouldn't change a thing. I'm happy you're with me.' It's a heartwarming song, and I tried to make it as simple as possible."

AHI recorded In Our Time -- due out July 13 and the follow-up to 2016's independently released We Made It Through The Wreckage -- with producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Buffalo Clover). It's more polished and thought-out than its predecessor, so much so that AHI feels "like it's a debut album for me. The first album's great but we did it in 10 days-- we didn't rush, but we had time constraints. This one we took a lot of time, and I was more vocal in the studio about how I wanted things to sound and feel. I wanted to make a better, more consistent album, which I think we've done."

AHI adds that "I believe the majority of my fan base will be discovered from here on out," and they'll discover more about AHI himself from the more personal tenor of In Our Time's songs. "It's what's happening in my perspective in the world as I see it," AHI explains. "It's not a political album at all but kind of a personal outlook on the way of the world, from an emotional perspective, if you will. The main vibe of the album was honing into my songwriting and allowing my stories to shine through and complement my voice, not just be this guy who has a unique voice and sings whatever. I really wanted to find my voice as a songwriter and a storyteller."