From the DMV with Love: My Interview with Creative Ahriel Nari

Ahriel Nari is just a ray of light. The way she puts on for her area with such positivity and such grace is quite amazing to see. She is as passionate about the local music just as much as she is passionate about her locs. By being full of life and vibrant energy, she has created her own lane. I had the privilege to talk to the self-proclaimed locstar herself about her love for music, her website “Real Mumbo,”what DMV artists to listen to, and much more.

“I have an intention for success and I know that it is a reality awaiting my arrival.” (Photo by Jada Imani M)

When did you first fall in love with music?

It started at a very young age. I first started playing piano when I was four years old. I was playing piano and I played violin for a year in the fourth grade. However, I put the violin down to play clarinet in the fifth grade and I played that all the way through college. I really just feel like music has always been in my life. I would really say that my dad got me into music because he would always be playing old school music like Teddy Pendergrass, The Temptations, and stuff like that. I had an older brother and sister who would play old school rap like Jay-Z, Biggie, Run D.M.C., etc. Then there was me who would be listening to contemporary stuff. I also went to school with a lot of white folks which made like rock acts such as Blondie, No Doubt, and Queen. So I pretty much like everything except country music.

Did you know that your passion for music was going to lead into having a YouTube channel?

Definitely not! I did not go to school for this or plan for this at all. I had my regular 9 to 5 doing pharmacy. So one day it came to a point where I questioned if I wanted to focus on pharmacy school or still be in music. Most people who try to do music and pharmacy school end up being in school for twenty years. It just got to a point where I decided to let music go. I graduated and got out into the real world, but I felt like something was missing. You know when you’re not aligned with your passions and you feel dead inside? That’s how I felt so I just tried to align myself with my passion in some way or form. I knew that I didn’t necessarily want to be in the performance of music so I wrote about it instead. I like writing and talking about music which led to me wanting to start this YouTube channel and I’ve been going ever since.

“I wanted to create Real Mumbo as a platform that creates an even playing field.” (Photo by Shaughn Cooper)

What made you want to create “Real Mumbo?”

Real Mumbo is my baby. There is a lot of talent here in the DMV and it was just interesting to see the scene grow. However, it was a shame that no one was documenting this. I don’t want to bash any other publication, but I feel like the larger platforms don’t really give a voice to local artists like they should. There’s a game that has to be played and you have to have a certain level of success before these platforms even look your way. I feel like that’s not necessarily indicative of an artist’s talent. I wanted to create Real Mumbo as a platform that creates an even playing field. If you are talented, you are Real Mumbo.

Who are some artists from the DMV that we should be listening to right now?

This is a good question! I just hope it doesn’t get me in trouble. Disclaimer: If I know you and I don’t name you right now, that does not mean I don’t fuck with you. First and foremost, you have to listen to this group called FootsXColes. I can’t even describe their music. It’s like alternative R&B mixed with Electronic. They’re dope. April + Vista make music that I can’t put in a genre either. You definitely gotta listen to Foggieraw. I would also have to say Ciscero. He’s up next. You gotta listen to Odd Mojo as well. Also, there’s this singer named Alex Vaughn. She is so dope. I think that’s all I’m going to name for now.

“When you see my name or Real Mumbo, I want people to know that they can get new music from me or my platform.” (Photo by Leigha Jenkins)

So we know about your passion for music, but you’re also very passionate about your locs! Talk to me about why they are important to you?

My hair is very important to me in general because I feel like I’ve had such a journey with it. So when I was younger, I had a perm just like everyone else. The very first time I had the perm; the hair looked right! However, after that, it just damages your hair. It just got to the point that I was killing my hair because I was scared to wear my natural hair. So I decided to do the big chop, grew my hair out, and had an afro for five years. For me, it was just too much to take care of every day. I literally did not have the time. However, being natural was it for me. I don’t see myself going back to getting a perm and I’m not a weave girl so I had to loc up my hair. I did that and I love it! I feel like growing my locs has taught me about myself. It’s a spiritual journey and unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to describe. You have to watch these babies grow and take care of them. It takes patience. They’re very beautiful to me. Funny enough, I actually started my YouTube channel because people were always asking me a question about my locs which led to people telling me to do a YouTube channel.

What are some of your goals and affirmations for 2020?

That is a really good question that I can tell you, but I can’t tell you too much. Overall, I want to increase my brand recognition. When you see my name or Real Mumbo, I want people to know that they can get new music from me or my platform. I also want to make more content because that just needs to happen. I have one main affirmation that I write down all the time. It is: “I have an intention for success and I know that it is a reality awaiting my arrival.”

Photo by Jada Imani M

You can follow Ahriel Nari on Instagram and Twitter. Also, make sure to check out her music website Real Mumbo and her Youtube channel.

“being happy is the goal, but greatness is my vision”