Born in Somalia but resident in Greater Manchester, HMD is a multi-talented artist and active community member making considerable waves with his art. Not only can he rhyme, sing and produce, he’s also been involved in See My Dunya, an exhibition shining a light of the Somali-British experience, and his current involvement in the Future Bubblers program is certain to see his craft develop further. Ahead of HMD’s set at Band on the Wall on 19th April, alongside Evabee, Ramriddlz and Robin Knightz, we spoke to the wise and headstrong singer-songwriter about his new track Deen, the importance of community and the artists he’d call for a fantasy recording session.
We were first introduced to your music when you opened for GAIKA at Contact’s Black Sound Series, back in 2016. How have you developed as an artist since that time?
HMD: ‘Me as an artist and person is one and the same; my development as an artist reflects the work I have done on myself. I would say I have been able trim the fat and get to what it is I stand for as an artist. I stand for the universal truths that exist within us all.’
On your new single Deen, we hear you rapping, singing and producing the instrumental. Was creative self-reliance your goal starting out, and what are the key advantages to having total control over the production of your music?
HMD: ‘All my idols have been super hands on with their craft, and this feels most natural to me. All things HMD come from my mind with a few collaborators, creative self-reliance isn’t just a way of being, it is the only way for me to ensure that my vision is executed.’
Deen has a few meanings and connotations. For those unfamiliar with the term, please can you tell us about the significance of the word and what it represents in the new single?
HMD: ‘Deen is Arabic for Faith, it’s a common term used within my circle to describe one’s driven focus and the term fits naturally into the song, but also signifies my heritage and background. It represents a renewed focus and energy from me, as I only had one release last year, which was Cherry Barbie produced by Abnormal Sleepz.’
You were recently announced as one of 2019’s Future Bubblers. Can you tell us about how that came to fruition and what you hope to set in motion over the span of the project?
HMD: ‘Blind Mic, who is a rapper from Manchester, had been selected in the previous year and had told me about it, so I applied and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I hope to gain more insight into the industry and apply it to my craft.’
You were involved in the first BPM Get Together last year – an event which brings together creative individuals from throughout Greater Manchester. What are your thoughts on the importance of a creative community, collaboration and reciprocal support amongst creatives?
HMD: ‘The creative community has its ups and downs and it really depends on how you view yourself and others. It was a opportunity to speak to like minded people and to share my experiences as genuinely as possible, its a buffer for support and new ideas, but it is also important to understand your own value.’
If you could be given the keys to any studio in the world tomorrow morning and afforded 24 hours to cut a track there, which studio are you picking and who are you calling to the session?
HMD: ‘I would love to go to Electric Lady Studios in New York and call upon the ghost of 2pac, Jimi [Hendrix] and Saado Ali (old singer from Somalia circa 1970’s), but to be honest with you, My place in Islington Mill is the best place ever.’
Photo credit: Akash Khadkha