Underground pop and hip hop artist with singles “2 Hott’ and pop ballad “I Tried” empowers women to overcome personal trauma.

Amanie Illfated is a South Sudanese singer who is based in Toronto and works as a producer, model, and activist. Her music provides thought-provoking lyrics that coincide with moody synths and euphonious Reggae/Afrobeat inspired drums. At her live shows, the audience is bound to experience an energetic and captivating aura, along with charismatic dance segments.

Illfated’s family fled the war-torn country of current-day South Sudan in 1992. They then settled in the frigid city of Regina, Saskatchewan as refugees. After only a short time in Canada, she heard Celine Dion on CBC Radio and was sold on the idea of becoming a singer. She initially set foot in the entertainment world as a traditional South Sudanese dancer. As a result, she quickly gained the confidence to perform in local choirs. At only 12 years of age, Amanie produced and recorded music in her make-shift basement studio. Later, she started to play piano and found herself leading the South Sudanese children’s choir. Little time passed before she wrote enough material to release the promotional album “lost with directions.” At 16, Amanie was hungry for bigger opportunities and left her friends and family behind to move to Toronto, Ontario. Here, she enrolled in a digital music production class at the W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute.

The buzz around Illfated began in 2005 when she recorded and released her underground pop/hip hop single “2 Hott’ and pop ballad “I Tried.” The tracks received thousands of views and were heard on several online radio stations. Her rhythmic sound found its way to grab the attention of Yaba Angelosi, a popular South Sudanese artist, who didn’t hesitate to collaborate with her. They fused their talents to make the Afro-dance pop single “You & Me,” which was released with her self-titled EP on November 21, 2015, along with hit singles “Letter to Myself” and “Ultimate Candy.” These songs received great responses from industry professionals around the world, one of them being Nelly Furtado. It also got her booked for famous festivals such as Afrofest, TDotFest, and Francophonie En Fête.

Over time, Amanie has built a strong network of support in the community of Toronto. She also uses her music as a platform to bring attention to the conflicts in South Sudan, encouraging women to strive towards their goals and overcome personal traumas. Chilled sat down with her to find out her favorite foods as well as what liquors she would prefer to stock up on.

Chillin' with Amanie Illfated

Chillin’ with Amanie Illfated

Photo by Sara Kardooni

Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on.

I’ve been working on a brand-new album called SATURN, which I am excited to be releasing on October 19th.

With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?

On my downtime, I absolutely love going to yoga, taking long walks, and baths.

When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?

I have an affinity for Ethiopian food and anywhere that has charcuterie boards with good wine.

What types of dishes do you usually order?

At Ethiopian restaurants, I typically order Key Tibs with Injera and a salad on the side. For charcuterie, I can’t resist a good brie, smoked cheddar, and blue cheese. Along with some red grapes, sopressata, and prosciutto.

Chillin' with Amanie Illfated

Chillin’ with Amanie Illfated

Photo by Iuliia Pele

Do you cook?

Yes! I love cooking when I have the time.

What types of drinks do you order when out?

My favorite drink when I’m out is either a glass of red wine – Malbec, Chianti, Merlot, or a good blend. I also love a Lychee Martini if it’s that kind of night.

Do you prepare drinks at home?

The most preparation I do at home would be pouring wine into the glass. I’m not creative when it comes to that.

Do you own a home bar?

Not a home bar, but I do have a wine fridge.

Chillin' with Amanie Illfated

Chillin’ with Amanie Illfated

Photo by Sara Kardooni

What is it stocked with?

I think right now, I have a bottle of Apothic Red Blend, Screaming Frenzy Cabernet Franc, Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec, and I might still have some Naked Grape Blue wine left.

If you do not own a home bar, if you did, what would it be like?

If I did, I’d have to have a good whiskey (for my friends), vodka (a staple), Amarula (delicious!), Malibu Coconut Rum (just because), and some gin (for when I am listening to Snoop Dogg).

What is your favorite drink/cocktail?

Aside from red wine and Lychee Martinis, my all-time favorite is Amarula (or Bailey’s) with milk on the rocks and a stick of cherries.