Amorphous grew up beatboxing to Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” and various Aaliyah songs on the porch of his family’s Philadelphia home, but he never predicted that passion would become his reality. Born Jimir Reece Davis, the 23-year-old is a viral sensation. With a love for producing and filmmaking that stemmed as a toddler, he used Twitter to share his brilliant mash-ups over the past six years.
Amorphous’ knack for uniting generations through melodies caught the attention of artists like Beyoncé (whose team used his 2017 Bey-Z mash-up album on tour) and DVSN (his mash-up of Usher’s “Nice & Slow” was sampled on the R&B duo’s 2020 album A Muse In Her Feelings). The spotlight continued to brighten on the creator, who provided musical comfort throughout the pandemic’s harsher times. Then last November, his mash-up of Rihanna’s 2016 “Kiss It Better” and Luther Vandross’ 1981 classic “Never Too Much” ignited Twitter with over 100,000 likes. Fat Joe and DJ Khaled soon got word of it, and asked Amorphous to hop on Joe’s mash-up-sampling “Sunshine (The Light)”
As he grows into his own artistry, dropping his debut single “Back Together” featuring Kehlani in May, Amorphous wants to make it clear that his talent extends far beyond solely mash-ups. And he plans to prove it with his upcoming debut EP, set to release in early July.
“We’ve known each other for a minute, so you’ve seen me out here grinding. But I think, especially during this time with the pandemic, that energy resonated with a bunch of people,” Amorphous tells UPROXX. “So since I’ve been producing, I’ve incorporated that energy into my original production. You kind of hear that a little bit in ‘Back Together.’ It brings that nostalgic sound, but I still kept it fresh. You can expect pretty much every single track [on the EP] to have a feature on it.”
Below, UPROXX caught up with Amorphous to discuss his trajectory and how he wants to take over the industry next.
Kehlani’s aura is so inviting, and that energy translated on the record. Did she reach out to you to hop on the song?
She did, which just speaks to her character. The fact that she wanted to be the first person to really work with me meant a lot. When the big Rihanna-Luther mash-up kind of took over on Thanksgiving, I remember we had a little Twitter exchange: “Listen baby, things are about to take off for you. You have no idea.” I really didn’t believe her at first, but then, seven months from that I’m looking at what’s happening with [my career] like, “Damn she was right. Shit’s popping off!” [Laughs]
[Her team] was originally inquiring about something for her own project, and I was obviously honored to hopefully do something for that. But as soon as I came to LA in early February, my team surprised me: “You have a two-day session with Kehlani starting tomorrow.” I was super nervous going in. I mean, it’s Kehlani, it’s my first major studio session. I’ve obviously been in the studio by myself and with friends. But to be working with a major recording artist, I felt a lot of pressure.
So we talked and got to know each other. I started playing some productions I had in the vault that were super moody and I felt like were a bit Kehlani-esque. She loved all of them, but she stopped me in the middle of what I was doing: “Did they tell you what the session was for? I want to be on your project.”
I can imagine your reaction, like “Stop playing!”
I was like, “HUH?” She said, “Don’t feel like you got to just play what you think I was going to like. You’re super talented and you belong here. Let’s challenge ourselves and do something super cool.” So that really opened a lot of doors for me, just confidence-wise. Like, that’s the biggest co-sign you could ever get. So it took a minute for her to break it into my brain that I was leading the session, ‘cause I can be super timid and polite and respectful — as I should be. But she was like, “Jimir, you better tell me what to do!” [Laughs]
I got to co-write with her, which is amazing. It’s really a song about two mature individuals ending a relationship, but not on any bad terms. It’s just like, look, we’re really good friends. I’m there for you when you need me, you can always call me if you’re going through something. That’s what I really loved about it because I don’t think you hear a lot of that in today’s R&B, especially. Everything kind of is like “F you!” and “I’m independent!” Which is great, but I kind of missed that.
That feel-good energy is why people gravitated towards you during the pandemic. We were all going through the motions and between you, DJ D-Nice, and Verzuz, there were really cool moments in music where we had something to look forward to.
Thank you so much. I mean, it was definitely a bit unexpected. You know that I’ve been dropping mash-ups for a minute. But even when that happened, I was in such a depressed state. My grandfather just passed away and I went back home for a month. My friend was like, “You need to get on TikTok”. And I said, “Girl, no. They already be stealing from Black creatives. I don’t even want to support that platform in that kind of way.” But I just decided to do it. I had an Ariana Grande and Nelly Furtado mash-up that blew up all over TikTok. People were actually starting to see the face behind all this stuff that I’ve been doing for the last few years. So when I got back to Orlando where I was living at the time, I had my production equipment and was like, “You know what? Just have a good time.” It was really nothing more than that. It wasn’t any type of that whole marketing thing.
That’s why it worked — there was no ulterior motive behind it.
For sure. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve gotten so many messages over the months from people. I remember this young lady, she had just undergone surgery that was really, really difficult on her body. She saw the video of me doing the mash-up of Rihanna and Luther Vandross and that made her actually physically get up out the bed. It wasn’t even just about the music. It was about seeing you in your zone, having a good time and smiling. That is the power of what people can do with their lives. You might not think what you’re doing is that impactful. But even the smallest piece of influence that I give to people just warms my heart.
It’s the power of social media. Of course, bad things can come with it. But it’s worked to your advantage.
Just because of Twitter. I think it was from 2016 to November 2020, I had gone from 2,000 to 10,000 [followers], which to me was a lot. It’s not even about the following, but like genuine support from people that shared the music. I’m just very grateful because like you said, social media is such an interesting vortex. One minute they love you and the next minute they can turn on you, but I can’t even think of it like that. I have to think of what I’m doing with my voice and my platform. As long as I’m inspiring someone, that’s all I really care about.
Speaking of the Rihanna and Luther mash-up, I love the full circle moment because your dad introduced you to Luther when you were younger. Then Luther became the catalyst for your career.
So, so beautiful. When I woke up Thanksgiving morning, I was in that little void between sleep and awakeness. I don’t want to sound like Raven Baxter, but I low-key had a vision, you know what I mean? [Laughs] I was in the back of my dad’s car and on the radio was something in that vein of the mash-up. I was like, “That doesn’t exist. So let me get my behind up and do it.” So yeah, my dad grew me up on a lot of Luther Vandross, James Brown, Anita Baker, and Marvin Gaye. My mom was gospel music and then my brother was a lot of ‘90s R&B. So I’ve definitely had multiple generations of music that have influenced me.
So when that whole thing happened, he was very proud of me. He was like, “See I was the one who put you on!” [Laughs] Even with RiRi, I’ve been a huge fan of her since “Pon De Replay.” And when I did the documentary on her [in 2018] —
She followed you after that, right?
Yeah. And I was like, “Oh my God!” I think that just speaks to me as a person. Again, it shows the [music] that influenced me to pull two different generations of music together and make it sound so seamless. That’s what I feel like the best DJs can do.
It’s such an art form as well. It’s quite difficult but I think you have an innate ear for melody.
Which I’m so grateful for. I’ve definitely heard that a lot, not even just interviews, but talking to the leads of major labels. They’ll be like, “I’ve never really heard of a mash-up!” I’m like, “Let me help y’all understand. There’s a huge culture behind it.” So as a producer of original music, mash-ups were something I just kind of did for fun.
I do realize in some ways I am opening even more doors for those kinds of people. But you need to give them the credit and the love that they deserve, even more so than me. Because as much as I have that ear, I look at myself as a producer and filmmaker first. [Mash-ups] are just something I kind of fell into. I feel like there’s so many people that live and breathe it. I guess to an extent I am passionate about it — you see me pumping that stuff out every other day — but I just feel like it’s important for people to recognize what’s happening on TikTok. So I’m always trying to use my platform in whatever kind of way to make sure that everyone in the community is getting something out of it instead of “Jimir is the kid who blew up!”
Would you want to dive into filmmaking even more?
I have gotten some film offers from production companies. That’s always been my end goal, to direct. I’ve written my own scripts and obviously edited my own work. So it takes a minute to develop. And unfortunately, sometimes I’ve had to put it on hold because I have to put out a musical project. It’s gonna be a dual career and I’m super excited. I just know that the moment when I can legit commit to it, which will most likely be early next year, is just going to be the greatest feeling.
The word “amorphous” represents not fitting into a certain box. You’ve definitely executed that by breaking your own boundaries.
I honestly just want people to want to be inspired. Life is just so short, so today just sitting here talking to you, I’m super fulfilled with what I’ve been able to accomplish in my life. I feel like it’s super important to just be content with where you are in life and accept that. What I want people to think of when you look at Amorphous or the name Jimir, is just creative expression. That’s why I chose the name, because like you said, I didn’t want to box myself in.
I do so many different things. I didn’t want to just be known as the “mash-up kid” or a DJ. I’m just Amorphous. I might wake up and write a book one day. I might wake up and start singing. I mean, who knows what going to happen. A lot of people feel like they have to just stick to one thing, There’s so many multifaceted people and you can make it work. You just have to do it on your own terms and not let anyone else try to dictate you.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.