Aminé & The Importance of Smelling The Flowers

The music video for Aminé’s latest song, “Places + Faces Freestyle,” begins with a scene of the Portland artist on a rollercoaster beside one of his longtime best friends, Jonathan. As the two sit there, strapped into their seats with bulky red harnesses, their facial expressions mirror an equal supply of excitement and unease for the rollercoaster ride to come. In spite of the inevitable, quickly-approaching start of the ride, Aminé squeezes out the words, “honestly, I ain’t ready for this.”

And then, they’re off.

Screams follow, and the very next scene captures a line of fans holding posters of Aminé’s face ahead of a live performance. Quite intentionally, this opening scene acts a preliminary statement to the insurmountable growth of Aminé’s career over the past few years, all the way from “tryna hope for my hustle to pay off real soon” to “a different city every weekend“.

Nowadays, all it takes is one song for any artist making music out of their bedroom to turn into an overnight sensation. Largely due to the power of the internet, the music world is moving at the fastest pace it has ever moved before, and to try and navigate this volatility is quite the daunting task. Naturally, it’s hard to say that anyone is really “ready” for fame anymore.

With this in mind, it’s always fascinating to see the ways in which artists work to outlive their viral moments and translate overnight success into a sustainable career. Aminé has undoubtedly done a tremendous job in doing so, but it’s an understatement to label this a “rare case.”

Following the widespread success of his breakout song, “Caroline,” Aminé has seamlessly navigated viral fame, spinning his big moment into two outstanding projects, several plaques, and a tirelessly loyal fanbase that rallies around his fun-loving, genuine personality. Whether ready for the limelight or not while back in Portland, this whirlwind of success has certainly allowed Aminé and his team a countless number of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and by the looks of it, they’re just getting started.

So, of all Aminé’s timeless songs, marveling feats, sold-out tours, and two full-length projects (both of which I’ve personally loved), why do I choose to write about a standalone surprise freestyle?

Well, because the “Places + Faces Freestyle” is an ode not to monetary success or plaques, but to reflection — to smelling the flowers.

This idea, exactly, is why “Places + Faces Freestyle” matters. Aminé is no different from many of us — a random person who loved (and loves) music but just happened to catch the attention of the world in the right place at the right time. No, he didn’t plan on being famous, and no, from the humble beginnings of his bedroom in Portland, I don’t think he ever expected “Caroline” to become the hit that it was. But regardless, he made it, and now that he’s finally here — that is, at a point of global success and fame — the idea of taking a step back and recognizing the sheer glory and growth in this journey is one of inherent venerability.

It’s one thing for Aminé to stop and smell the flowers on his own time, but to share this moment of reflection with fans and perpetuate the value of gratitude in his career is an entirely different entity.  He even went so far as to shout out Pigeons & Planes — one of the first blogs that picked up his music and gave him hope when he was just some kid back in Portland.

Nevertheless, even as we watch Aminé celebrate his successes and the rarity in achieving music stardom, that’s not to say that all of his problems are gone and it’s a breeze being an internationally-known artist. Of course Aminé still has moments of self-doubt and of course, there must be times where stardom doesn’t feel worth it. However, even with increasingly demanding expectations and more plentiful work than ever before, the in-between moments like “Places + Faces Freestyle” are seemingly what makes the journey worth it; Aminé says it best with a balance between missed a couple dinners and a lot of birthdays” and “FaceTime ya mom from the Eiffel Tower“.

Success and sacrifice certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, but so long as one can learn how to keep in touch with themselves and find balance in the absolute insanity of it all, these sacrifices are worth it. As Aminé reminds us with the “Places + Faces Freestyle,” appreciating the anxiety of the moments before the rollercoaster is just as important as appreciating the end of the rollercoaster, when all of the butterflies from before are alleviated and the journey comes full-circle.

Aminé, congratulations on the well-deserved success and thank you for taking the time to smell the flowers. With “Places + Faces Freestyle” in mind, I’m sure we can all work on stopping every once in a while to appreciate the life around us.