The song that hits me is “i thought u were different.” It hits me like a clear, cold February afternoon hits me– in the gut, unexpectedly. That’s how 23-year-old Amindi’s entire new mixtape, Take What You Need, is set up: the singer-songwriter has compiled fifteen of her favorite tracks she’s recorded in the last two years and released the diverse mix in a ripe offering to her listeners. Featuring six of some of the artist’s closest friends and collaborators on a tracklist that gently skims across the top of an impressive smorgasbord of genres and moods, Take What You Need is a delectable compendium that showcases Amindi’s incredible knack for imbuing her sound with palpable, specific emotion. The record, her first release since 2021’s nice, flexes a set of creative muscles that cement her ability to maneuver between genres and moods with ease.
The artist first tasted astronomical success at the age of eighteen with the viral dancehall-inspired hit, “Pine and Ginger." She feels that the song became bigger than herself: “It wasn't like it wasn’t my audience, it was the song’s audience,” she says. As is what inevitably occurs with viral hits, the music was cleaved from the artist. After "Pine and Ginger," Amindi was worried about being pigeonholed, but Take What You Need unequivocally marries sound and artist; the diverse record establishes firmly that Amindi is whatever music she wants to make. Amindi is the music. The music is Amindi. The art and the artist are indelibly intertwined. She tells me that the record cleansed her from feeling artistically moored to the genre brought to her by adolescent virality: “I was feeling trapped in a certain thing when I'm so many things. I was feeling so frustrated and then cocooning. [Because of this record] I feel like a butterfly. I feel like it's given me metamorphosis.”
Metamorphosis, indeed. Though Amindi is all about growth, I ask her about the traits she’s taken from her teenage self, still holds, and will hold until she’s thirty: “My gratitude and my willingness to improve,” she answers almost immediately. Her overwhelming thankfulness for her life, specifically for the creative process surrounding the mixtape, is unmistakable. She’s grateful for her collaborators: "I’m realizing that I’m a shy person. When I make connections, I definitely value them. And I feel valued in them, thankfully. It's nice to be able to reach out to homies and be like, 'Okay, can you be a part of this little thing that I'm doing, please?'” She’s grateful for her past self for making mistakes: "I feel like all these missteps I have–like every breakup I have– is teaching me more and more about the next person that I should be with, you know, like, creatively too." And she's especially grateful for her listeners, particularly because her music isn't just personal to her (though she admits that she usually creates music in the way that most people write journal entries). Music is a way through which she is able to connect with others meaningfully: “The intention is to be real and be myself and be honest. But in doing that, I'm wanting to be felt by listeners,” she says. “Music is how you make real, genuine connections. I like being able to make music that people enjoy sonically, but I like making music that people can really feel and associate with a time in their life.”
If there is a variable that unifies the miscellany of the record, it is Amindi’s active pursuit of those human vectors of connection: giving, receiving, exchanging–and her artful means of communicating the emotional fallout that results from such things. Take What You Need is a gorgeous musical offering, but it’s also an apt psycho-social reminder: Check in with your friends, check in with your lovers and your enemies and your acquaintances (after all, connection, love, hatred, ambivalence, is all one ever really has), but most importantly, check in with yourself. Don’t just give yourself what you need, Amindi reminds us. Take it.
What is the sweetest memory you have of creating Take What You Need?
Definitely making "dopamine." I was on shrooms, it was the start of summer, and my first time working with Monte (who I’ve been a huge fan of for a while), so my spirits were real high. It was just a good ass day. Plus: that song’s so sweet and romantic and—since it’s not about anyone—I never feel the embarrassment I sometimes feel when I listen back to something I wrote while infatuated (or hurt, lol.)
In the last album, nice, you stuck to a “money over boys” motif, but this record is dreamier–at times a little romantic; melancholy. How do you approach writing songs about love?
I definitely intentionally stayed away from romantic themes on ‘nice,’ but most of the songs on there are still songs about love! Love for self, my family, my friends, my journey—love comes in different fonts. I approach writing about love for a person I’m involved with the same way I’d approach writing about my love for money: by pulling straight from the source. These songs are all little journal entries—my stories & manifestations—me trying to cope or express whatever I’m going through. The more vulnerable I get, the more relatable I become, the more people feel felt, the more I feel like I’m doing this shit correctly.
In what ways do you feel that this record differs from your last? Do you feel it retains some of the primary characteristics?
I think TWYN is an expansion of the world I built with the last one. I’m saying more of the same, but also a lot of things that I didn’t get to touch on before. The heart is definitely the same, but the flesh has grown.
What do you hope people will take home with them after listening?
I hope they Take What they Need, for real. I’d get it if all 15 songs don’t resonate with them, but there’s going to be at least one that they’ll like, and I just hope that they save and download and stream whichever it is. I’m like, please throw me in your rotation! If you like it, it’s yours to keep.
How would you describe your growth as an artist and person from the “Pine and Ginger” era to now?
I was 17 when we made and released Pine & Ginger. All things considered, I’ve had a pretty normal 6 or 7 years. My growth has been natural and human. I have always been grateful for what P&G did for my life, and I have always been grateful that younger me didn’t allow herself to be pigeonholed into a sound based on the size of one song. I’m grateful that she knew how multidimensional she was. I’m grateful that I still know how multidimensional I am, and that I’m about to release a whole tape showcasing that for reals.
Are you taking what you need? Are you more of a giver or a taker–and for better or worse, which are you drawn to?
Lol. I’m taking what I need, what I want, and if I can sneak some for my friends too, I’m doing it. But yeah, my love language is for sure gift-giving—I’m lowkey a trick when I love you. And I’m drawn to givers. I love receiving, too. Need that balance.
How do you keep your heart open?
I meditate and pray a lot. I feel my feels and make my lil songs. I fellowship with my friends. I smile at everybody.
Photographed by Erica Brown
Written by Annie Bush
Makeup: Jezebella Kachanon
Production Assitant: Cerys Davies