RAHH: In Conversation With Chapter Z
“Music isn’t just the way I earn a living; it’s how I express myself, learn, play, relax, get inspired and have fun. It’s all-encompassing but in a really nice way,” explains RAHH, otherwise known as Holly Quin-Ankrah.
Since releasing her debut single, ‘Into the Dawn’, Mancunian RAHH has steadily carved a captivating RnB-infused electronic soundscape that effortlessly lures and seduces listeners. And, with fans including chart-topping producers MNEK and Joel Corry, there’s no question that she’s on the right track.
Dropping her first release since 2020, RAHH returns with ‘Weave My Web’. Speaking of the track, she says, “Weave My Web tells the story of toxic desire and lust for someone that you can’t have, whilst teetering on that fine line between like and slightly obsessed. It’s about patiently plotting and planning your move to ultimately entrap the one you want, just like a Black Widow spider – they are notorious for catching their male prey and eating them. The production comes with an understated sexy coolness that matches the playful narrative perfectly.”
To mark the single’s release, Chapter Z sat down with RAHH to talk ‘Weave My Web’, her upcoming augmented reality project and how Dave Stewart from Eurythmics coined her name.
A Conversation With RAHH
We’ve got to start off by talking about your upcoming single, ‘Weave My Web’. Can you give us a low-down on what inspired the track?
I really fancied someone a while back, we had insane chemistry, but he had a girlfriend already. They were having some issues, so I figured I just needed to wait a while. In the meantime, it seemed like the universe was throwing all these other options at me, and they were cool, but they weren’t him. So, the song stemmed from that. It’s about patience, timing, control and lust in the context of predator and prey.
You’ve previously said ‘Weave My Web’ is almost like an ode to a love that’s teetering on obsession. But, the track has a very calm and collected aura – it doesn’t sound crazed and erratic. Was that intentional?
Yes, the song is basically flirting with you. I wanted it to feel seductive. It’s cool, calm and collected on the surface, and it’ll play hard to get, but underneath it’s plotting your capture. It’s like a Black Widow spider or Tony Soprano.
Nobody is quick to admit it, but often, we go into dates with long-term intentions and forever fantasies. We just never tell. We look cool and collected, but we’re a little crazy. The song is like that.
Going back to the beginning of your journey, where did it all start for you? How did music become such a big part of your life and a method of expression?
I was born into an incredibly musical family. My Dad formed one of the first black boy bands of the sixties and was central to the Merseybeat scene in Liverpool. My Mum is a renowned session singer and teacher, and my brothers are musicians and producers. So, it was inevitable for me to go into music. I think I did my first professional session at age 7 and just wanted to continue making music for fun and work whenever I could. It’s always been a huge part of my life, especially since I started writing original music in my teens. Music isn’t just the way I earn a living, it’s how I express myself, learn, play, relax, get inspired and have fun. It’s all-encompassing but in a really nice way.
I also wanted to ask you about your name. You release music under the name RAHH. What’s the reason behind that?
My full name is Holly Quin-Ankrah. I knew I needed to make it easier to remember so they could discover me and look me up. But my Mum and Dad had given me both their surnames, so I never wanted to drop one or the other. It was an ongoing topic with my team, and none of the variations we came up with was the right fit, until one day, I was sitting in a cafe in Nashville with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics recording his album. I was explaining the problem to him with my hair looking wild and curly, and he said, “why don’t you use RAH?” It’s the last syllable of my name, and I hadn’t thought of it before, but it felt right. I added the extra H for some letter symmetry, plus it made it easier to get my domains. I haven’t looked back since!
We’ve touched briefly on your sound – I really love the mix between RnB and electronic sonics you’ve got going. You’ve got some super exciting electronic collaborations coming up this year with Huxley and Robosonic. How do you view musical collaborations? Is it difficult to share the creative process with other artists?
Thank you. Yes, I’m really excited about the upcoming collaborations! This is a pretty new thing for me that wouldn’t have come about so easily if it wasn’t for lockdown when I was able to explore writing over DJ and producer tracks.
I find this type of collaboration natural and enjoyable. There’s enough space and privacy to create your part, which allows you to be vulnerable and pour yourself into it like you would if writing alone. Then, you put that with the instrumental, and you’ve made something you’d have never done alone. That’s really cool to me.
Sometimes during sessions with writers and producers, I feel I can’t open up completely, and it’s difficult to be raw enough to share my feelings. I’ve created some great tracks from sessions like those, but they’re not my favourite environments – they can be tough. Collaborating with other artists is more fun.
As well as the single and those upcoming collaborations, there’s also an EP in the offing. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
It’s been a lot of preparation. The EP really came together in lockdown when I was in a mindset of, “Wow, is this life now? Is this what our time on Earth is going to be about, a pandemic?” I thought it was ironic since we’re the generation with the internet and the quest for quick-fame, the XFactor and the influencers. It seemed funny to me that this was what we’d be remembered for in the end. So, I called the EP ‘I told you we’d be famous’.
The EP explores the mindset of faded youth and feeling hard done by because growing up isn’t what you expected. The property ladder is out of reach, the world is always ending, jobs are scarce, and things look pretty grim. It’s a look into what we do to mask the hurt and fear, the party culture remedy, the contradictions we make and how our morals become questionable. It’s in the form of electronic R&B, and I’ve taken production influences from artists such as James Blake, Frank Ocean and Kehlani.
When your listeners finally hear the upcoming single and EP, what do you want it to make them feel? What’s your goal with music?
I want them to feel like it’s cherry on top of a vibey night. The mood lighting is set, drinks are poured, the couch is cosy, and you just put the music on and think, “this is amazing.”
My goal with music is always to move people, make their feelings inside shift and make them take a moment to themselves.
What else can people expect from you in 2022? What’s next for RAHH?
We have an exciting Augmented Reality project which goes out alongside the EP, which is set to release just before summer. There are vinyls and sustainable merchandise coming too, and you’ll see me hitting some festivals this year as well as releasing those collaborations I spoke of earlier! Loads of good stuff, so stay tuned!