Interview: Hi Love Talks Music, Inspiration, and Overcoming the Cold Winds of Life
Soul singer-songwriter Hi Love recently released the music video for “Cold Wind,” the title track from her latest EP.
Hailing from Chicago’s Southside, Hi Love has worked with Kanye West, Grammy-winner Needlz, and Grammy-winner NO I.D. Initially performing as Kamilah Sumner, after taking a break from music, she reinvented herself as Hi Love, projecting the mood of pure love through her music, a sound blending soul, R&B, tints of classical music, and the edge of hip-hop.
Filmed in a variety of locations in the Windy City, the video depicts Hi Love cruising through the streets of Chicago, narrating a tough-love attitude toward the cold reality life throws at us. Pushing ahead and conquering the chill defines our destiny, not the obstructions.
“Cold Wind” delivers a sumptuous amalgamation of ‘90s soul flavors, velvety R&B, and tinges of hip-hop-lite, creating a lusciously low-slung tune both alluring and polished.
Muzique Magazine caught up with Hi Love to discover more about the person behind the music, her influences, her start in music, and the inspiration for “Cold Wind.”
Which artists are you listening to right now?
Silk Sonic (Anderson Paak & Bruno Mars), Nas, H.E.R., Jasmine Sullivan.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Curtis Mayfield – “The Makings of You.”
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
I would listen to the radio on a tape recorder when I was 3 or 4 and then I would record myself singing my version of what I just heard on the radio, lol. This was the beginning of my falling in love with music and practicing the ability to create my own versions of songs at a young age. By the time I was 11yrs old, I was so inspired by Maya Angelou, Tupac Shakur, and Lauryn Hill’s poetry and raps that I began to write poetry that eventually turned into me writing songs. I recorded my first album my sophomore year in college and knew that I wanted to make a career out of music and so I was introduced to a producer/executive named NO ID who helped advise me in my early stages as I began to navigate my way through the industry.
What musicians/singers influenced you the most?
Minnie Riperton, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, James Brown, Tupac, Nas, Jay Z, Aaliyah, and Lauryn Hill all had a great influence on me and helped to shape my style and sound.
What is your songwriting process? Do the lyrics come first, or the music?
My songwriting process is really unorthodox. Sometimes I start with no music and other times I write with the words tailored to the production. I’m a therapeutic, mood-inspired kind of writer. If something happens in my life or to someone I know, I write about it. I like to write about real-life situations and taking negatives and making positives.
What’s the story behind the name Hi Love?
I introduced myself as Hi Love in 2017 when I released an EP called After All. Prior to that, my artist name was Kamilah Sumner. In 2014, I got married so my name was no longer Kamilah Sumner. I took a 4-year break from music from 2013-2017. So much had changed in my world during that break. I found love on a level that I never knew before through my husband and kids. So initially, I was going to change my artist name to “Love,” but I found that a few artists already went by that name. So, to avoid confusion, I decided to go with “Hi Love” because it was such a unique name and I knew no one else would have it.
What was the inspiration for “Cold Wind?”
The inspiration behind “Cold Wind” is the simple concept of understanding how life can be cold in many different ways, yet, we have the ability to push through and overcome the wind by finding our place in life so when the wind blows, we don’t get lost in it but rather we move through it with strength.
What do you want people to take away from the video?
I want people to feel at ease accepting what life brings while standing firm in their individual place in life. I also want people to feel inspired to go and do what they love because that’s when you’re truly living.
How are you handling the coronavirus situation?
The coronavirus has pushed me harder to execute my music goals. It’s difficult because my kids are doing school from home, so I have to balance everything I do on a daily basis with what they have to do for school on a daily basis. Seeing so many people losing jobs, loved ones, and homes showed me that nothing is guaranteed, so if there’s something I want to do, I better do it.
Looking ahead, what’s next for Hi Love.
I’m releasing more visuals later this year from the Cold Wind EP. I’m also working on virtual productions for this EP while also working on a new project to be released later this year. My plate is full, but I’m working hard so I truly believe this will be a year of elevation for me.