The soulful, folk-pop singer-songwriter AHI (born Akinoah H. Izarh, he goes by his initials, pronounced “eye”) has come a very long way in a relatively short seven years.

In 2017, AHI won the Singer-Songwriter/Folk Award from the Canadian Songwriting Competition, and the Stingray Rising Star Award at the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) conference. The following year, he won the FMO’s Recording Artist of the Year Award.  In 2018, he was invited to play the prestigious NPR Tiny Desk Concert for National Public Radio, broadcast across the U.S. Then AHI was signed to the U.S.-based independent record label Thirty Tigers (home of songwriters extraordinaire Jason Isbell, Patty Griffin, and Sturgill Simpson, among others). He was also signed to a booking agency, Paradigm Talent, which arranged for him to open a live show for legendary soul singer Mavis Staples at Toronto’s Massey Hall. He performed live on the national U.S. television show CBS This Morning, and in 2023, he was one of five winners in the SOCAN Foundation Black Canadian Music Awards. He’s released three albums so far, and is expected to launch his fourth later in 2024.

In a lengthy, freewheeling conversation with Lord Quest, SOCAN’s Creative Executive, Black Music, AHI digs deep, into his early life and career; his mentorship (and now friendship) with longtime professional Canadian bassist-and-bandleader-to-the-stars Orin Isaacs; his Jamaican and Trinidadian roots; the huge inspiration of Bob Marley; how reggae and Afrobeat have disseminated throughout the world; the role of prophetic dreams in his creative process; his connection with listeners and fans; the support of his family, including his wife and manager, Ashatèn Izarh; and his faith and intention in making music.

SOCAN, Interview, AHI, 2024, video

Select the image to play the SOCAN YouTube interview video with AHI