Sani Knight is a self-taught pianist whose versatile sound encompasses Middle Eastern influence, R&B, rap, and electronic music. He hopes to bring Middle Eastern representation to popular music, while “speaking to anyone going through something that makes them feel stuck or misplaced.” He’s found a great team with producer Bosquet (1/2 of Pixel Terror) and creative director Nikoli Party (Wallows, Foster the People).
Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
One day, my friend and I were recording a track on my phone using the wired apple headphones as our microphone. We used the iPhone version of garage band as our DAW at the time and were just having fun here and there. We decided to post this track on Soundcloud and used Instagram to promote it. After posting about the single on my story, my sisters ex-boyfriend Ahrya (A.K.A. Bosquet) swiped up on my story and asked if I had any demos to send over. At the time, I didn’t even know what he was asking for when he asked for demos, but I sent him over a couple of voice memos I had recorded and he liked what he heard. He asked me to come in for a session and we have been working together ever since. Ahrya and I have been working together for just over a year now and have been stacking up demos left and right. I’m really excited about the diversity of tracks we have created and can’t wait to share these tracks with the world.
What’s your favorite part about being an artist?
The best part about being an artist in my opinion is being able to use music as an outlet. I can put all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions into a song and release any stress I have. I also really love the journey music takes you on. A song can start out by me just writing some lyrics in my notes. Then after that, a beat accompanies those lyrics and the idea really starts to form. Take after take you’re seeking perfection until it all finally comes together and you know that all of the hard work was worth it.
The lows of being an artist are introduced when you are categorized as a statistic. The numbers become more important than the music itself. You have to consistently worry about whether the song will hit, do I have enough followers for person X Y, or Z to take me seriously. Sometimes I wish the music itself can speak for itself but the industry is just not like that anymore. I work hard to make music my full time commitment and will continue to put in 110% to be amongst the best.
What are some sources of inspiration for you?
Everything is an inspiration for me. As cheesy as that sounds, everything can be looked at through a creative lenses. Things happen day to day that I see myself incorporating in my lyrics, and it really allows me to stay true to myself and my music. The people I surround myself with also really inspire me.
The creatives I work with including, Bosquet, D-SAB, Nikoli, Jono, and Elliott, have some of the best work ethic I have ever seen and consistently push me to be my best. The energy they give off is the fuel to my fire and pushes me to be my best. We have
created a code stating that we will never settle, meaning that if something is not good or could be better we always push one another to achieve the best outcome.
Relationships have always been a big inspiration for me as well. The love, the heartbreak, the good, the bad, the ugly, it all inspires me. I’m not afraid to show the world who I am and what I’ve been through because I know people can relate. We all have our ups and down and it’s always nice to know that someone has been where you’ve been, someone has felt what you’ve felt.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
Ricky Hil. Ricky Hil is an inspiration because he is the outcast of his family. He is not scared to be who he wants to be. He is a relatively small artist, but he has a loyal fan base that really cares for him and his music. I just want to be me and express who I am, and I respect Ricky Hil for being able to express his true colors.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about?
‘Dark Place’ was my latest release and that track originated when I felt like I was stuck in a dark place far from anything good. Everything around me just going wrong. It felt like nothing was going in my favor. I just felt like everything around me was affecting me in a negative way. Even though I knew these things were bad for me, I still enjoyed their company. I was just writing down my feelings one day and the lyrics to Dark Place were born. I hit up Bosquet and told him I have something new ready and he told me come over right away. We busted out a full demo in one night and finished the track completely within the week.
What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?
When I get creative blocks, I usually do my best to use my surroundings as inspiration. Sometimes it gets to the point where I feel like I’m forcing things, and that’s the moment where I usually take a step back and reset. I’ve noticed that when I try and force my creativity, I never leave with an outcome I’m satisfied with, so I take some time away from music and recording. Like I mentioned earlier I love taking drives alone to clear my head and other times I like to just go out and explore. I’ve noticed that it’s okay to step back and recalibrate, and it’s been working well for me so far.
What’s the future looking like for you?
I’m really excited to start this new chapter of my music career. The team I’ve had the pleasure of surrounding myself with have been working extremely hard to develop not only music, but an entire audio-visual journey. I have also been diversifying my demo catalogue with various genres that I’m excited to share with everyone. I have no plan of slowing down any time soon, only speeding up.
What inspires your visuals, videos, looks etc?
Nikoli Partiyeli, my creative director and close friend, has done an incredible job guiding me towards the aesthetic I have been chasing. As I kid I was inspired by the dark-goth Cartoons like Danny Phantom and I now incorporate that style in my daily life. Nikoli has taken the time to understand my vision and work alongside me to make this vision come to life. I am honored to have him alongside me in this journey and am looking forward to developing my vision even further. We have a couple of surprises coming up later this year that I can’t talk about just yet, but I promise it’s worth the wait.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Having a Plan B just means you’re not confident in Plan A.