Seeking a better life, Sanni’s mother moved her family from the Bronx to Fort Worth many years ago. The theme of better times continues to play a central role in Sanni’s career as a rapper, singer and songwriter. Sanni sees music as a tool to uplift and a reflection of his Christian faith.
His recent single "Be Mine" is replete with soulful vocals, buoyant guitar lines and alternating crooning and rapping. We caught up with this local rising star to talk about life, music and grace. Image by Jeremy Hunt.
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HAVE YOU ALWAYS BLENDED SINGING AND RAPPING?
"When I was about 14, I was always the guy who sang to impress the girls in high school. I’ve always done both. At the time, doing both wasn’t popular. If I was rapping, I was rapping. If I was singing, I was singing. Nine times out of 10, I was singing."
HOW DID YOUR BLEND OF R&B, SOUL AND HIP-HOP DEVELOP?
"Listening to a lot of Summer Walker, H.E.R. and early 1990s soul. I want to bring back that soul feeling. I want someone to feel something when they listen to my music."
WHAT SETBACKS HAVE YOU HAD BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC?
"Before the pandemic hit, I was invited to sing the national anthem at this [American Athletics Conference] college basketball game. I was so excited. Then, COVID-19 hit, and that didn’t happen. I had a radio interview in Atlanta canceled. I can’t dwell on what I can’t do. [Luckily,] I had some projects in the vault that I’m now focused on."
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN THE WORKS?
WHAT IS ONLY BY GRACE?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMING MONTHS?