Keen to confront her demons head-on, West London artist Areej uses songwriting to make sense of those sombre days on “Bloodshed”.
Recording the track with “a heavy heart and an occupied mind”, “Bloodshed” tackles pain and suffering with poignant clarity. "You don't necessarily need to see someone bleed to know they are hurting,” Areej tells Best Fit. “I've discovered in my growth over the past few years that it’s usually the strongest ones who hide the most. There are more aching hearts than made visible to the naked eye. We often walk through life with a mask on because being our most honest and vulnerable self can be quite frightening, hence why we should always remember to treat people with love and kindness.”
Not only carrying the narrative, but her voice also feels like a percussive tool - sculpting the surface of the track. “Art is all about capturing moments. Moments always pass but never fail to disappear for good,” she muses. Her music immortalises this sentiment, and “if I ever find myself experiencing a similar or exact emotion again, I can revert back to something which I know once offered me a sense of hope, peace and fulfilment.” It’s honest and beautiful - a heartfelt reflection on life's darker moments.
Citing Erykah Badu as a commanding creative influence, Areej’s songwriting draws on the illustrious neo-soul of the 90s. “Badu’s songwriting is so seductive in the way she's able to narrate a story and really have you engulfed in her emotions,” she notes. “She stands for being true to yourself and your art - owning and knowing your identity and creativity in order to be truly liberated. Her music is so honest, spiritual and timeless - she allows me to feel safe and embrace my differences.”
Drawn into the glittering world of art and performance from a young age, classical Arabic music filled her childhood home. Although not immediately infatuated with the art form, as she grew up these records came to shape her artistic output - emboldening her creative vision with these fond memories.
“It was only when I grew up that I started to appreciate the records my mum would play and began to do my own research - only to later indulge in them willingly”, she comments. “I never realised the influence it had on me until my vocal coach (when I was a teen) mentioned that my scales and notes are different to the western scales. Only then did I realise the subconscious effect it had on me. My mum always played tasteful, deep, emotional music which moved her as well as a lot of African dance music. I’m excited to make more records in my mother tongue and continue to learn and grow in that department.”
In “Bloodshed”, her vocals are luxurious as she manages to pull silky-soft threads from moments of anguish. Flecked with intricate sax riffs, Areej allows the music to become a comforting haven for her suffering - cushioning the heartache through the rhythm and soul of the record.
""Bloodshed" is all about the feelings you experience, especially pain and heartache when it comes to love; any kind of love for that matter. You may not always recognise someone's pain, as some are better than others at hiding it, but that's not to say it doesn't exist."
Lifted from her forthcoming EP G.B.O.F (Guided By Our Fears), the five-track collection “is all about embracing your feelings. Feel what you need to feel in order to move on and learn from your past”, Areej observes. “There really is no shortcut to life and the ones who think they can cheat their way through pain will only prolong the healing process. In hindsight, you understand that your experiences are in fact a blessing not a curse - it just takes a little time to realise it.”