Evin Amiri has embarked on a journey in his life and has documented such journey musically. It all started with “A Prelude to Freedom Music,” which featured some great covers and remixes to songs like Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x’s” and Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You.” On July 4th, Evin Amiri gave us the highly anticipated “Freedom Music.” A project that Evin says “…has been an amazing period of growth and self discovery.” Freedom Music showcases as Evin’s way to connect to his fans outside of what we’ve come to hear from him within the confines of his group 21:03. Evin says that he is “…learning to make music with YOU in mind, but music that also resonates with ME.”
Freedom Music continues the great work that we got on the Prelude project with production and writing from PAJAM, Travis Malloy and Streetwood, even Evin himself. It opens with a great introduction into what the project is about, with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music II & III providing the backing instrumental. The first movement kind of lets us in on the mindset Evin had when first starting this journey towards his freedom. Ya know when you are wondering about if you are measuring up in Christs’ eyes and if you can bear the burden you are carrying around. Where the first movement is infused with the feelings of doubt and worry, the second movement heralds confidence and achievement from Evin. He’s found his freedom and is now using that to inspire and motivate us to keep going, knowing that the God we serve is going to take us through this process, it will be tough, but we shall come out on top.
Continuing this theme the second track, an original, “There’s Gotta Be More,” features gospel urban/pop singer JAI. This groovy track has Evin giving us a wake up call, letting us know that there is more out there for us to do in this faith walk and life that God calls us to live. The saying that the God we serve is BIG, doesn’t make sense when we operate in such small ways and inside of boxes with limited thoughts, Evin says “we were built for more.” Live your life legendary!
”Transformed” sounds like that track you hear in those ‘coming of age’ movies, when the main character realizes that they are gonna do things their way despite what others say and/or think. The upbeat R&B/Pop sound of this track helps to drive the message that we are no longer who we used to be before coming to Christ, so tell ya haters to stop trying to hold you to your past, for you have been Transformed!
Showcasing more of his musical influences Evin slows things up some with two cover tracks: “Beautiful, Beautiful” by Francesca Battistelli and “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant. I love how Evin kept Francesca’s vocals and added his own, making this a wonderful duet. His voice really compliments hers very well. I also like the stripped down production he did, where Francesca’s version is really rocked out, Evin decided to make his version more organic, trading the guitars for a piano, giving more passion and focus to the lyrical content of the song and the amazing vocal performances from him and Francesca. Evin does the same with “Your Great Name” keeping it simple and heartfelt, with a simple acoustic guitar and adding his vocals to the song, showing that this dude is not bound by even gospel music’s boundaries. It’s not about CCM vs. Gospel vs. Traditional vs. Contemporary, it’s about the freedom to WORSHIP our Christ as one body, regardless!
I was wondering why “Cold World” was placed on this project, but it does fit. Keeping with the theme of finding freedom in Christ, music and our lives, Cold World exists here to remind us that the safest place is in the will of God. If one continues to do His will, we will find that God will give us the desires of our hearts. Non-like the cold world we live in that constantly causes us hurt and pain, Christ will give us life and we can have that life more abundantly, that ultimate freedom found in Christ!
“Jesus (Holy One)”, YES, EVIN BETTER SERVE THE SAINTS CONTROVERSY!!! I can already hear folks asking “why did he choose to do that song?!” Evin uses the Lady Gaga “Judas” instrumental, changes the lyrics and is reading someone! LOL, I don’t know who the lyrics are directed to at times, but I like the attitude Evin sings with on this track! And the break down of that good’ole “Have you tried Jesus… He’s alright” chant!!! And he incorporates lyrics from Envogue’s “Free Your Mind.” I LIVE for this track as I get my NEW SHOUT on! Next up is a great ode to Detroit and what to me is a great rewrite of Eminem’s “Not Afraid”. I love this track as well! Keeping the grimy, solider cadence of the original track, Evin adds a great flavor with his lyrics and pounds Romans 1:16 to heart. Not only being unashamed of the gospel, but not giving into fear and to live your life out loud! God got you!
The Adam Lambert rewrite of “Better Than I Know Myself” is beautiful! I’ve never heard the original Claude Kelly written track, and now that Evin has put his own spin on it, I don’t want to! It is with this track that Evin makes a good case for becoming one of my favorite male vocalists! That boy is sanging!!! “Freedom Music III” features Brandy and interpolated her (unreleased) song “Freedom”. I love the message of this track, as Evin restates that he is now free to love, dream, believe and be who he wants to be for Christ and himself. He is past the judgments of others. And come on you KNOW you LOVE hearing Brandy sing!
The third original track “Need You The Most” is a great neo-soul/R&B sounding track. With elements of jazz and hip hop infused, it reminds me of a song that Guru, Hi-Tek or Vivian Greene would have produced/sing. The lyrics are dope and I just love the vibe of this song! One of my favorite chorus’ to sing along to. “Prayer Life” a Richgirl “Swagger Right” rewrite, is calling out the ladies on the first verse but then opens up the message to everyone. If you want the best out of life, you must have that prayer life right! The addition of lyrics from Cece Winans’ “Pray” adds a nice touch. Again, I’ve never heard the original track by Richgirl, but with this Travis Malloy reproduced track, I don’t want to- #IChooseGospel!
With a cover of Laura Story’s “Blessings” this track once again places Evin’s vocal talents alongside Onitsha Shaw (the gospel Brandy). I love this song. Get your kleenex ready, and be prepared to be very introspective here. I know that this song will speak and only reach more people than it already has. I am one of those people. This song speaks to my life right now! Please get into this song! Reminds me of the story of Job and then how we pray for all of the things we want from God, but when we don’t get them or we feel our prayers go unanswered, we feel that God isn’t listening. But this song tells us to look at things differently. God knows what’s best for us…what if the raindrops bring us His blessings, and our tears heal us and sleepless nights are what it takes to bring us nearer to Him? There is a lesson to be learned in everything that God takes us through, the good and the bad.
Closing the Freedom Music project is the third produced track by Travis Malloy, “Your Time Is Coming” and it even features some vocals from Travis. It samples Dexter Wansel’s “Time Is The Teacher” and Evin just takes time to talk to us about finding that freedom and the journey it took to get there. I was shocked to hear that Evin wanted to give up on doing music. I am glad that he is going to uphold the calling on his life.
Overall this is a dope project. I didn’t know much about Evin Amiri (or 21:03 for that matter) prior to “Freedom Music” but it has allowed me to see and get to know Evin in a different and more intimate light. This project gets a 4 out of 5. Great lyrics, contextually it is a solid, cohesive project with awesome production and remixing. It is passionate and filled with emotions on all levels. It inspires, touches and motivates. In the end Freedom Music for Evin is “music that is free of genre biases, free from monotonous topics, free from radio restrictions.” Evin Amiri has truly found that freedom and is revealing in it. I for one am happy for him and I am motivated and inspired to continue my journey towards that ultimate freedom in Christ and in my life, for myself.
Connect with Evin via Twitter: @EvinAmiri and If you have not gotten your FREE Download of “Freedom Music” you can do so by visiting EvinAmiri.com and “GET INTO THIS FREEDOM MUSIC, THIS FREEDOM MUSIC!!”