While he was in college in New York, Amain Berhane split his time between three things: class, work and music. Rarely did the three intersect. In the daylight Berhane would go to class and work one of his many part time jobs. At night, he would transform into Berhana (a slight spelling alteration of his last name to make it read how it actually sounded), writing sultry R&B.
"Grey Luh", Berhana's 2016 track that we're presenting this week, is a result of what happens when things collide — Berhana's job and his music, Jamaican culture and North American R&B, and the best and worst sides of love.
As Berhana told Genius, while in New York, he spent some time interning for The Colbert Report. One day the show sent him out to get some wigs, but only gave him enough money for a cab there and the wigs themselves, meaning he had to walk back to the studio. During the trek back, Berhana pulled out his phone and started playing an idea he had been working on the night before — a loop of chords, over and over again. It was during that walk that he wrote "Grey Luh".
The song itself is a reflection of a relationship Berhana was going through. He and his partner were in love, they felt like best friends, but their habits weren't good for each other. They didn't want to leave, but were stunting each other's growth. As he describes it: "I think 'Grey Luh' is kinda ambiguous, it’s something you can’t really explain. Sometimes it feels hopeful, sometimes it feels hopeless. It’s not black and white. You don’t really know what it is the whole entire time. But it’s not entirely meaningless either. There’s something to it, you just don’t really know what it is." The song itself follows this description too, featuring a bouncy beat that shifts to a melancholy melody for the final verse with Berhana laying down Frank Ocean-like vocals mixed with a Jamaican influence. There's something in this song for everyone, but at first listen, you might not be sure what it is.
You can learn more about Berhana here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.