Chicago R&B Singer Rahkii On Why Her Heroes Don’t Wear ‘Capes’
Written by Vocalo Radio on February 25, 2020
Rahkii, a Chicago native, is a pop, soul, R&B singer who seeks to celebrate the imperfection in being human.
Her debut album, Capes, is out now and Jill Hopkins sat down with the singer to discuss the timing of this album, being a black girl superhero, and the capes we have in our own lives.
I’m so happy to have you. The last time I think we were in studio was about this time last year. And that was right around when Zoom dropped. What has this past year brought for you?
Rahkii: Man, so after Zoom I was on a high. Like, “Yeah! It’s time to make more music and do this, do that!” But then I kind of forgot about all of the self care…so then I noticed, “Oh my gosh, I’m on a high but I need to bring myself down a little bit. So I need to focus in and kind of hone in on the important things.” And then also I got married!
Rahkii: Yeah, but during that time, I was able to create a lot of songs. So all of the stress kinda pushed out some dope songs.
You told me earlier that this new album – it’s called Capes – it’s been ready. It’s been sitting in the can for a minute, but it just never felt like the right time kind of unleash it. What changed? Why is now the right time?
Rahkii: I’m a spiritual person. I did not feel a peace about releasing the entire project. I would get so jittery inside and I would not feel like it was the right decision to make and every time I felt like it was time I would get that feeling.
I did a lot of meditation, I did a lot of prayer, finding myself and trying to seek out the right time and that right peace that I needed in order to release it. A couple of months ago, I felt a peace about a date that I was supposed to release it, so I’m like, “okay, cool.”
The last time you were here we talked about your love of superheroes. Is that where the inspiration for Capes comes from? Because not all heroes wear them!
Rahkii: Growing up, all of the heroes that I looked up to and that I used to watch, all of them had capes. That was something that really amazed me! I felt like the cape was the statement piece, and I’m like, “In order for them to be super, and in order for them to have their power, they have to have this cape.”
But it wasn’t until I got older and I realized that they don’t necessarily need the cape to be super. They don’t need the outfit to become super either. So I kind of took it out of context and put it into my own life and the way that I view things – even the way I was living my life.
I was living my life full of capes: wearing capes, covering up who I really was to fit into society. I was covering myself up to fit in with the friends I wanted to be with at school and putting on a facade even for my family. [I was] just becoming somebody that I felt like they wanted me to be – my friends wanted me to be.
And it wasn’t until I realized that, “Yo…I don’t need to do this.” It’s perfectly fine being me without trying to, you know, please others – becoming my real self. I’m like, “Let me take these capes off and just become who I am supposed to be.”
Talk to me about the video for Capes and the visual story that you want to tell with this song and with the the album as a whole.
Rahkii: So I have a video out that’s kind of acting as a promo, called “No Capes,” which is one of the songs on the album. In the video it starts off with me with my friends at a party. And then it kind of goes for a change and you can hear The Incredibles Edna Mode in the background. [laughs]
Which is not actually – you’re going to freak out – sampled from that movie. It’s literally [her producer’s] voice. [laughs] The greatest voice over person of our time! No, he’s amazing. So it’s really him doing like all of the voices.
Okay, Jay Pharaoh!
Rahkii: Right? [laughs] You can see that and then these puppets pop up. And basically the puppets represent what’s going on in my head, and sometimes what I feel and what I think. It kind of just lays out the whole story of not needing the cape.
Because in the movie they talked about how, “No, you can’t have a cape because this hero had a cape and it got stuck in the airplane! [laughs] And they died! And before this one took off to fly, someone stepped on it and he jumped to death!”
And in the song I say that capes are merely [an] accessory – that’s all they are. They don’t enhance you as a hero or as a person. They don’t add any value. You’re able to fly without it.
We are sitting in mid-February, which means that summer will be here in two blinks of an eye. It may not feel like it outside right now, but it will be! And now you have this gift to give to everybody for spring and summer. What are your plans with this album and shows and tours and things?
Rahkii: Right now we’re planning on a small tour and some other shows too. My hopes is that I’m able to collaborate a lot with youth.
Right now I work as a teacher – I’m a performing arts teacher. I work with a lot of youth, and that’s something that I really didn’t direct my attention to before. But I think after working at a school, I sense the importance and the need for kids to be exposed to artists that they can look up to, but then also artists that will help enhance them as human beings – as people. And kind of give them the encouragement they need to face life and making them feel comfortable just being them and being individuals.
So I plan on doing a lot with high schools and summer camp type of things. But we’re gonna see where that goes. Right now we’re just starting on concerts around Chicago.
I’m 40 years old, and I am in a great space where I’m friends with my arts teachers from high school and junior high. You could be that for somebody else!
Rahkii: Right?! Why not?