Exclusive Interview: Ahnwar Yancey Talks About New Music Video, Spirituality, Future Plans & More

Congratulations on the release of your new music video for the single “Everything U Need”! 

Thanks so much! I really appreciate that. And thank you for this opportunity. None of this would be possible without God, and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He’s given me the gift, the drive and the strength to endure. Also, if I may, I’d like to thank each person who’s supported me thus far. A big shout out to each person who’s shared, downloaded, subscribed, liked, and pushed me to keep going. I’m truly grateful.

But yeah, “Everything U Need”! Making it was so much fun. This was my first attempt at creating a narrative that matches the lyrics to the song, and not just doing performance shots. Creating visuals that complement your audio is harder than it seems, but we had a blast collaborating with SHEESH network who shot the video, Von Walker who directed and Denascia Salley who produced, acted and helped me with the treatment. Shout out to the rest of the crew as well. I gave them an idea, and they brought it to life. These are definitely people every indie artist in the DMV area should have in their rolodex.   Did I just age myself? Ha! No one uses a rolodex anymore. But you get my point. 

Tell us more about it, what inspired you to record this new music video? What’s the main message behind it? 

I have not always been the model husband. There have been moments when I have lost sight of my priorities due to the grind. Not just music, but my duties at church and on my job have often caused me to neglect my first ministry, which is my family. To be honest, there have been times when I have been a major scum bag to the woman who is now my wife, and even before her, other women too… So, this was an ode from men like me to women who deserve better.  Actually, we have been commanded to do better, and to love our wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… in a sacrificial way. 

Also, at the core of the song is a man asking for forgiveness. He has offended someone, and biblically speaking, if he has offended someone and knows it, he is obligated to reconcile himself to the offended and make things right. Forgiveness is a major principle of the Christian faith. I may have presented that principle in an unorthodox way for a Christian artist, and that has ruffled some feathers and caused folks to question my motives. It’s all good though. Every move I make will not be accepted or understood by everybody. I understand that and I am okay with it.

Any fun behind-the-scenes moments you’d like to share with our audience? 

Yeah, being 14 stories high on a rooftop and Von trying to ease my fear of heights by jumping on the spot he wanted me to stand. I told him I don’t do heights, but he thought the shot would be dope. I gave it a try and those first few attempts were really stiff, so he thought jumping on the place he needed me to stand would calm my nerves. You probably had to be there, but how he did it had us all cracking up. That moment broke the ice and did give me a tad bit more confidence that if I stand in that very spot, I’d be good. There’s actually a little bit of footage of it on my socials. 

What drove you to envision a music career?

I love music. It’s really that simple. It’s that thing I do that never feels like work. I’m up all night producing, writing, mixing, singing, something! And it never gets old or played out. My wife and I will be watching movies and I’ll say out of nowhere, “Oh that was dope!” She’ll look at me like, “what are you talking about?” I’ll be like, “you didn’t hear those chord progressions in the background?” She’ll laugh, roll her eyes and tell me I’m a weirdo. I’m always in that mode. I couldn’t envision doing anything else. Music is a gift given to me by the Lord and I want to use it to inspire, teach and bring Him glory.

What motivates you to share your spiritual experience through music? 

If you had the cure to cancer would you keep it to yourself? If you knew where to find the answer to life’s ills wouldn’t you share it with the world? Well, I believe that Jesus Christ is the cure to the most terminal illness of all, sin. His sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin, saves us from God’s wrath and gives us the righteousness that we need to stand faultless before a Holy God. Slim, this is Good news! A sleaze ball such as myself can be reconciled to God by Christ’s physical death to present me holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation?! And all I need to do is trust and believe?! I can’t keep that to myself. That’s an offer a sinner like me can’t refuse. The thing is, this news has eternal consequences, so I am motivated to make sure everyone hears it. What they do with the information is between them and God. 

We’ve noticed that you enjoy mixing up several moods and styles in your music, how would you define your own aesthetics? 

I would define it as unapologetically me. This was not an attempt to sound like other artists or to create what is known as a contemporary gospel album. I didn’t want to do what was expected musically or lyrically. This effort is a mixing bowl of instruments, chords, tempos and arrangements that I want to hear more of. I created the types of songs that I want to hear on the radio. You will also hear a lot of the artists that inspired me. 

Which artists have influenced you the most throughout your life? 

I couldn’t even begin to list everyone, but I tend to keep Mahalia Jackson, Donny Hathaway, Luciano Pavarotti, Prince, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Scarface, UGK, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne in the rotation in some kind of way. Some I can’t listen to like I used to due to the content, but if the “WalMart” version comes on I’ll let it play.  

Any advice you would like to share with debuting artists out there? 

Keep God first. Keep on pushing. Stay consistent. Embrace your uniqueness. Network… and don’t forget, even McDonald’s sets money aside for marketing and promo. If they do it and they’re a household name, then stop acting like you’re above it. Lastly, do it for the love, not for the numbers. 

What’s next for Ahnwar Yancey? 

The last time I was asked this question, I mentioned that I was partnering with my church to put a studio on the property so that local youths who don’t have the resources to pay high studio costs could come and record. It’s an outreach ministry to give them something to do other than roam the streets. When I said this the last time, I didn’t expect that people would reach out to me and ask how they could help. Folks have donated recording equipment and musical instruments to help us get started. So, what’s next for me? I want to give back to my community and help the next generation achieve their dreams. I have been blessed, so I want to be a blessing to others. My parents always made sure that I understood this biblical principle. I love being an artist, but I also enjoy being in the producer space. This gives me the opportunity to do both and help others along the way.    

I am also working on new music and collaborating with other artists as well. We just released the video to my new single “Moment” about two weeks ago. We’re getting some traction and positive feedback on that. Check that out if you haven’t already. We just recently performed the song “Moment” at the DC Office of Cable Television Film Music and Entertainment for Season two of “Good Things DC” which should air sometime in September. I’ve got some other things in the works, be on the lookout for more in the near future.

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