After becoming the first female on Rich The Kid’s label, Airi is ready to take over the music world. She talks EXCLUSIVELY with us about her new single, her YouTube channel, and when to expect her debut EP.
Airi gave everyone “permission” to have a good time on Aug. 30. That’s the day the 19-year-old singer, dubbed the “first lady” of Rich Forever Music (the label founded by hip-hop heavyweight Rich The Kid) released “No Permission.” The track, featuring R&B artist YK Osiris, is a sweet, sexy jam that she EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife is perfect for when you’re about to go out for a night with your friends. Airi talked with us about the motivation behind the song, the “honor” it is to be the first female on Rich Forever Music, and when fans can expect her debut release to drop.
HollywoodLife: What was the inspiration behind your brand new song? It’s quite the sexy jam.
Airi: I really wanted it to be something more for that feeling you have when you’re – I don’t know how to explain it. It’s more like, when you’re in that sexy feeling. You’re trying to get ready to go out with your friends, and you just want that time to kind of appreciate yourself and really feel like you can just be free. You know how everybody has that time in the mirror, when you’re by yourself right before you step out? That was kind of my inspiration. I just wanted it to be really, really sexy but not too much sexy. So that way everybody of all different ages can kind of jam to it without getting in trouble from the parents.
So it was kind of a self-empowerment, sexy jam
Yeah, that’s exactly it.
You are the first female artist on Rich Forever Music. That’s awesome. You’re breaking down barriers and paving the way for others. How does it feel to be this trailblazer?
It’s definitely an honor and a really high position. It has a lot of responsibility behind it because you want to make sure that it’s a new positive experience for everyone. We’re all learning at the same time and just perfecting our craft altogether. Just trying to figure out the right mix of everything. But it’s definitely a lot of responsibility because I definitely want anybody after me — new artists, male, female – to be a successful part of the label, to really come in and dominate as much as Rich and the team has been helping me [dominate.]
Speaking of trailblazers, was there anyone who liked particularly got you into music? Was there one moment when you realized that this is what you want to do with your life?
I believe that one moment happened back in high school for me. It was actually around when Mindless Behavior was around, and they came through our school and performed. I was behind the stage with them, and I saw the audience going crazy, and I was just like, “This is something I want to do. This is something I love.”
And, of course, my family always like pushed me to chase my dreams. I did the talent shows, and the one year that I won, it was just like, this is what I want to do. And so I just went for it and ever since then, it’s been history.
Who would you say would be some of the significant influences on your sound?
I would definitely say Kehlani, Pink, Summer Walker and an Ella Mai type of vibe as well. And then of course just someone I just absolutely love is a Beyoncé.
You’re quickly building a buzz around your music career. What’s next? What do you want to do?
Definitely working on some new projects, trying to get an EP coming out soon. And just working on a lot of various different projects with my music, trying to perfect my craft and the different sounds and stuff like that. But the main goal right now is the EP for sure.
Any idea on when that’ll be coming out?
Not yet, but we’re in the works. So, when I get an actual date, it would be some time this year hopefully. But it’s going to be lit.
Speaking of branching out into projects, you have a really active YouTube channel. You’re also a lifestyle vlogger and a prankster. How did you get into pranking?
I got into pranking from some, these youth who were back in my hometown when I first moved from Houston, I used to stay in Indiana, and I just had some local friends that were doing YouTube, and they’re like, “Hey, you should do it too.” And I said, “Okay.” I actually dropped out of college and gave it a try. And ever since then I have just been dropping videos, and I’ve been doing it for the past two years.
That had to be a really interesting conversation. “Hey, mom. Guess what.”
“Hey mom, I’m going to start doing these videos.” She was definitely — it took her like a good week, but then she was on board. And, next thing you know, she was helping me come up with video ideas. So she’s been a great supporter of everything that I do.
With your music career taking off, will your YouTube channel change at all? Will it allow your fans can follow along or are you going to try something different?
I might calm down a little bit on the pranks, but I can never be so sure. You know what I’m saying? Because it’s in my blood. But I actually, with my YouTube I want to do some more behind the scenes as they go on this journey with me because I wouldn’t be here without my supporters.
So I do want to have some more content of when I’m in the studio, my upcoming projects, my music, when I’m touring or when I’m just around the Rich Forever family or meeting new celebrities and influencers and stuff like that. I still plan to be active on there so that way they can go through the process with me, as we’re all growing and learning together.
“No Permission” is now streaming on all major platforms. This interview has been edited for clarity.