Ash Hamman interview

Nigerian-born R&B singer on his plans to take over the world


Ready your ears for another dose of R&B and pop, as Abdul Sammir ‘Ash’ Hamman, a Nigerian-born resident of the UAE for just over five years, launches his self-titled debut album. A recording artist and the 27-year-old CEO and president of events and production company Immaqul’8 Entertainment, he is inspired by the entrepreneurial qualities and sound of artists such as Quincy Jones, Viddyand Jay-Z. We caught up with him to get the lowdown.

How did you get your break in the music industry?
I got into a terrible record deal in the UK which, luckily, I managed to get out of so I could go on and learn more about the industry. At that point I started my own label, Immaqul’8 Entertainment, which is actually
my production house and, well, my everything. After taking the label to the States and Nigeria, I decided to come to Dubai. The reception was amazing! Within the first two weeks I got my tracks on the radio.

How long have you spent putting together Ash Hamman, your debut album?
I’ve only really been doing music for a minute. The team and I would just have fun. People would come over and we would work on the production and try different sounds. Everyone had a role to play, trying to record and produce something fun, you know? So I was like, why don’t we start working on an album? We worked on it for around eight months to a year. It’s been great. The first-day sales were amazing and it kept on building from there. Now, a month and a week later, we’re number 13 in the chart.

How much of yourself have you put into the music?
I have tracks that are way deeper than you can hear and are personal to me, but you have to be smart about it. I’ve kind of balanced it out. Music now is very housey and clubby, and it’s not really my style. But I do have tracks like that because you can’t play soul songs at clubs, you know?

What inspires your material?
First of all, it’s the grind at the beginning that motivates you. You need to get out there, get heartbroken, fight, take a beating, then learn from it. Everything else has been by God’s grace and the drive and determination to just go and do it. Diddy and Jay-Z are very inspirational to me. They are doing very well as businessmen and in the industry; they’ve really stepped up to the next level.

Where do you go from here?
My plans are to take on the world; to go big. We want to be a label that can help people pursue their music careers and put them in the media and in stores. I plan to do this for myself, too. It’s going more international now. I’m still very focused on pushing my team as a record label.

What about the short term?
We have a lot of viral online promos and lots of giveaways, and we’re also working on videos. I’ll have videos for every track in the album – even the intro and my freestyle songs. We have a couple of gigs lined up, but it’s Ramadan, so we will be performing outside Dubai this month. But get ready for gigs right after!

Is there anything else people should know about you?
Yeah, just to people out there: kill all the negativity and hate that people have just for people who are succeeding. The world would be a much better place if we all just motivated each other and smiled at each other every step of the way.
Hamman’s debut album, Ash Hamman, is available now at Virgin Megastore.

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