Sauti Sol’s Chimano explores inner self on Heavy Is the Crown EP

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But with the release of his debut EP Heavy Is the Crown(link is external), listeners will get a sense of Chimano as an individual artist addressing the weighty and mundane matters of human existence.

The seven-track EP, released alongside ‘Hallelujah’, the project’s lead single and music video written by fellow Sauti Sol member Bien-Aimé Baraza, sees the singer wrestling with matters of self-identity, self-love and self-acceptance as he tries to chart a new chapter for himself.

“I needed to have courage to be myself fully because of my new-found conviction,” Chimano said. “I needed to be that for others and to inspire them to see that they can also be themselves. The crown in this case is on you and me. If you go through life in kindness, standing up for your dreams and aspirations, respecting your fellow human beings and respecting the right of others to live unrestricted as long as it’s not an infringement on your human rights, then you have a crown on your head.”

Influenced by ‘80s and early ‘90s sounds, the risqué collection challenges toxic masculinity, prejudices and hypocrisy. The offering features the previously released single ‘Friday Feeling’, which is immersed in funk, soul and disco, with its crowning glory being epic visuals.

“It feels good to be authentic, at peace and centred. It’s a good place for me to be in and to stick to my values. This EP is who I am. I am coming out of my shell. It takes time for who you are to shine bright from your soul, from within, to the outside. A lot of people will relate to this,” he said.

“It‘s a wonderful song that generally speaks to everybody,” he said about ‘Friday Feeling’. “It also speaks to me. It’s a message to myself where I am putting myself first and walking this journey of life with my true self and like-minded individuals and anybody who wants to join us on this amazing journey. And yes, the real Chimano has arrived.”

In the ‘Hallelujah’ video, the style icon bedazzles in a crystal-laden blazer, effortlessly swaying to the lyrics of this melodious track. Chimano says he started writing songs for the EP about three years ago, but didn’t know where they would fit until 2021 when Sauti Sol’s members opted to pursue solo careers through the Alone Together project, which would allow them to work on individual projects while still being part of a cohesive, dynamic unit.

“The working experience on this project was amazing. It was a roller coaster of feelings. I felt challenged, uplifted and I understood who I am more with this project and it’s one of the things that gives me confidence. The experience has been very eye-opening about who I am. I made a new best friend within me that was waiting to come out to explore his creativity, image and brand,” he said.

Even though Chimano reveals his vulnerability, he implores others to look within themselves and listen to their inner voices. “It’s hard to ignore the burden society places on you, but by believing and focusing on yourself while being kind to others, you have crowned yourself and don‘t need anyone to validate that. I have fully started to express myself and deep down for me this is an expression of happiness and freedom.”

Heavy is the Crown by Chimano, Father Studies by Fancy Fingers, Bald Men Love Better by Bien-Aimé and Savage Level by Savara are all outcomes of the Alone Together project. The four albums are being released on Exodus Entertainment/Sol Gen and distributed by Ingrooves. Sauti Sol is set to release its next album in May.

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