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Amorphous Interview: Going Viral For Decades-Spanning Mashups

Jimir Reece Davis is having a big week. In fact, the last five days have been so hectic, he can barely catch his breath. The soon-to-be 23-year-old, who is known as Amorphous online, has seen an uptick in engagement and reactions on social media, thanks to his mashups of big radio hits that span decades. His most recent mashup, which mixes Rihanna’s 2016 smash “ It Better” with Vandross’ 1981 classic “Never Too Much,” has already accumulated over 80,000 likes on Twitter in its first week. And the numbers on all of his videos continue to rise. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Davis says he developed a passion for music and filmmaking at a young age. He’s been playing with music and film since he was a toddler, but he started taking it seriously over the last six or seven years. Like his mashup of Rihanna and Luther, many of his mixes combine music from different decades. Some of his most popular mashups to date are Rihanna’s “Work” with Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat” and Megan Thee Stallion’s new single “Body” with Travis Porter’s “Bring it Back.” He credits his brother and father in helping cultivate his love of different genres and eras of music, from Aaliyah to Luther Vandross to Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Over the past few years, Davis has attracted attention from major recording artists and fans around the world. He gushes about LL Cool J, MC Hammer, and Life actors who have either shared his content on their platforms or reached out behind the scenes. This week, he shared a conversation he had with Missy Elliott, in which she gave him advice on having patience and staying focused. “She’s been so supportive,” he says. “You hear so many horror stories about the industry and how people can be, and I’m sure that’s true, but there are always going to be genuine people.” 

Beyond his mashups, Davis is also a budding filmmaker and producer. His portfolio includes documentaries on stars like Aaliyah and Rihanna. This year, he also received production credits on dvsn’s new album, A Muse In Her Feelings, an acknowledgement he wasn’t expecting in the slightest. “I figured they were going to credit me in some kind of way, like, ‘Hey, this was inspired by Amorphous,’ but to be credited for additional production on that…” he says, sounding stunned. 

Davis admits the love and support he’s received is still sinking in, but he is genuinely appreciative of every DM and repost. While he won’t disclose what he has in the works next, he ensures that his next moves will be monumental. “Since everything’s happening now, I don’t want to name-drop anybody,” he adds. “But, I will say my contributions to the industry are going to be really good. I think I’m going to be involved in a lot of different types of stuff, not just with music, with film, and editing. There’s a lot of stuff on the table, and it’s the most incredible thing. So, I’m really, really excited.”

Building on the momentum, he will appear on Complex’s new Twitch show, The Daily Drift, at 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 3. You can watch it here.

In conversation over Zoom, Davis spoke to Complex about his viral mashups, documentary aspirations, and more. The interview, edited for clarity, is below. 

Can you give me a little background about yourself? 

My name is Jimir Reece Davis. I also go by Amorphous in the creative world. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I grew up in a household that loved music, whether it was old school, ’70s or ’60s. My dad was born in the ’50s, so his childhood nostalgic memories were in the ’60s. And my brother, he was a big Aaliyah fan, Selena fan, Beyoncé fan, a big Destiny’s Child fan, TLC, and LL Cool J. He loved everybody. And me and my brother are super, super tight. We had a full cry-out session just now because it’s pretty obvious, I’m a big fan of Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Luther Vandross.

Since I’m so young, a lot of people question, “You weren’t around when a lot of that music was out.” Or, “How were you there?” We were talking about back in 2000 and 2001 when I was three, four years old. But when Aaliyah was actually still here on this Earth, I was sitting on the porch beatboxing to “We Need a Resolution” and stuff. So, those memories are back there for us, and it was just an incredible moment to share with him. But from what I remember, those were my first musical memories. I used to wear my cap on backwards and rap like I was Jay-Z. I love Jay, too. I always knew ever since I was a kid that I wanted to do something creative, whether it was music or film. My favorite film was Titanic. It is my favorite movie of all time, and not even because of the story, but the scale of it all. It’s just a beautifully crafted film. So, I always said I wanted to be part of something like that one day, and be able to tell stories, because stories can inspire so many people. And I want to draw from my own life, and make a change in the world.

When did you start getting into production?

In 2013 or 2014, I started to take producing super seriously, not necessarily as a business, but just because it spoke to me. I love melodies. I love being able to create sonic sounds. Sound moves so many people, including myself. It’s such a powerful tool. So I begged and begged my dad for a gaming console, and for Ableton, which is a production suite, and he was like, “Sure.” He’s always believed in me, and he got me the full suite with a whole bunch of plug-ins. That opened the floodgates for creativity in me. He got me Final Cut Pro, and I was able to have all my editing fun with that. I didn’t watch any tutorials or anything. I sat and locked myself in the room and just learned, straight in and out, as much as I could, trial and error. You fail and you fail and fail until you think you’ve found something that you succeeded in.

Then my first big break was a remix of Azealia Banks’ “Chasing Time.” She had a remix competition. People will go right to look for it, but it’s trash. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s fine. I’ve improved so much, and that’s part of the journey. But, I did the “Chasing Time” remix, and I ended up winning $10,000 for that.  And my remix wasn’t nearly the best one. She probably only chose me because she knew I was a big fan. But it didn’t matter because that instilled so much confidence in me. I hadn’t shared my music much with anybody, so that’s around the time I really hit the ground, and was like: all right, producing, I can do this. That’s when I started to get into mashups. I have a turnaround time that’s pretty quick with producing, but my brain is constantly listening to music. Even right now, I have the Interstellar score playing in my brain right now. 

When did you start noticing your content blowing up? 

My first big mashup was I mixed Rihanna’s “Work” with Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” and that was 2017. That blew the doors off. They play that at every function. Oh my goodness! It’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever done, because it was so simple. I didn’t do any of the production engineering stuff. It’s just Aaliyah’s vocals over the beat, and it was just a way of showing had she still been here, how she could’ve sounded. They ate that up. So, then I mixed “Needed Me” by Rihanna with Aaliyah’s “One in a Million.” They ate that one up. I was only listening for myself, but with the power of the internet today, you can just upload anything. A month after that, just randomly, I woke up one day and said, “I want to make an Aaliyah documentary,” just because. 

What is your process like for mashups? Does it always come to your head or do you sit down and outline some of the tracks? 

The biggest mashups that I’ve done, it always comes randomly in my head, driving, or just listening to it. Sometimes I’ll find a song that I really love and I want to mash it up with something. So, I go through YouTube and search R&B instrumentals, and I’ll just go through a whole bunch of playlists and then hear something I love. But most of the time, it genuinely is in my head. That Rihanna and Luther Vandross mashup literally came to me in a dream on Thanksgiving morning. It was a dream of me with my father. He’s a big Luther Vandross fan. We used to play him on our boat when we were young. I’ll never forget the memories. We were driving in the car, and the radio was on, and it was Rihanna’s voice over that damn song. Now, I didn’t think it was necessarily going to be “Kiss It Better,” but it was Rihanna. So, when I opened up my eyes, I heard the electric guitar from “Kiss It Better” over it, and I thought to myself, “OK, that ain’t going to work.” They’re in two totally different keys. But, I told myself, there’s a reason why that came into your mind just now. Even just for myself, if I was able to send it to my dad, that would’ve made him so happy, to combine the old generation with the new generation. To get all the kind words and support and encouragement, I was on Instagram Live just thanking everybody. 

“That Rihanna and Luther Vandross mashup literally came to me in a dream on Thanksgiving morning.”

Aside from the mashups, you also have credits on dvsn’s latest album A Muse In Her Feelings. How did that come about and what were your contributions?

I’m going to tell you, they were very generous. I was out in L.A. last year, bored as hell, sitting in this hot ass room, nothing to do, can’t even get nothing to eat. Dvsn drops a new song called “In Between.” I have loved dvsn ever since they dropped their first track. From there, I mashed it up. As soon as I heard the track, I was like, “You know who needs to be on this track? Usher. And you know what he needs to be singing? “Nice and Slow.” So, I do a little mashup of it, and it slaps really hard. I love it. I didn’t put it on Twitter, but I put it out on my YouTube channel and on my Instagram.

As soon as I posted it on Instagram, it must’ve been like five minutes, Nineteen85 messages me. He was like, “Yo, what’s up? Can we talk?” And I’m thinking he’s going to be like, “This track just came out. Chill out. Take that down, bro. What are you trying to do?” So, I’m scared to reply. It’s freaking Nineteen85, Grammy award-winning amazing producer that I love so much. Getting up the courage, I’m like, “Hey, bro, what’s up?” And he was like, so Daniel [Daley], the vocalist of dvsn sent him this. He was like, “Yo, this fucking slaps. We want to turn this into an original track on the album.” He’s so humble. He was like, “We didn’t want to just snatch your idea, go to Usher, and be like, ‘Can we get this sample?’ No, we want you to be involved.” So then, they just took the track and had a lot of fun with it. 

When it dropped, I didn’t even know Snoh Aalegra was going to be on it. The track dropping was a surprise for me. And then I checked the credits, and it was said: Amorphous. I figured they were going to credit me in some kind of way, like, “Hey, this was inspired by Amorphous,” but to be credited for additional production on that… Low key, some people are shady in the industry. They have used my stuff without crediting me, like on Australia. They’ve done some mashups of mine and haven’t credited me. That was a big win for me. And Nineteen85, huge, huge shout out to him, because like I said, he messaged me a whole year ago, and before all of this craziness this week, he has believed in me. I sent him my productions from projects and albums that I was working on that never came out. He was like, “Yo, you’re fucking it. You can produce. Wait ’till people really know, outside of the mashups.” That’s just something I do for fun. My passion is in producing and filmmaking. So to have people like that in my corner that genuinely gave a damn before all of this and still do just as much, it means the world to me. 

Besides dvsn, have you been in contact with any other artists or labels? 

Since everything’s happening now, I don’t want to name drop anybody. I do think in the future I will be having to sign some things and be quiet about that, and I know I be tweeting too much, so I’m going to get off of Twitter. But I will say my contributions to the industry are going to be really good. I think I’m going to be involved in a lot of different types of stuff, not just with music, with film, and editing. There’s a lot of stuff on the table, and it’s the most incredible thing. So, I’m really, really excited.

Have there been any reactions to your work that surprised you?

It’s been so many people. I just saw LL Cool J was playing that Rihanna and Luther Vandross mashup on his radio show. He had DMed me Friday, and was like, « Yo, man, this is only the beginning.” MC Hammer posted me all over his timeline. Earth, Wind, & Fire reposted me. There’s so many people that I’ve looked to have just genuinely shown me love. 

What about Missy Elliott? You two have also exchanged messages. 

She’s been so supportive. Over the years, when I was in film school, I messaged her. I was trying to get a Missy Elliott documentary off the ground. So, I edited this little concept trailer and posted on Twitter, and she saw it, and she was like, “Netflix should hire you.” This is what I said verbatim: “So, I was actually just sitting here in the lobby of my film school, kind of thinking to myself that I’m constantly creating, and people are noticing my work and such, and I’m very grateful, but I still feel stuck. But patience is definitely the key to everything, thank you.” She responded, and said, “Yes, have patience in having patience. It allows you to grow and become greater at what you do. Trust. You have a talent, and if you keep pushing out these ideas, someone major will notice you from the film business that will help you. And listen, it’s human nature, and don’t become discouraged.” She’s always done that. Ever since that, I can just be like, “Missy, I’m feeling down, I need a pep talk, pep rally. Come on, give me something.” That speaks to her character, because she’s done that with so many other people, mutual friends of mine that have said they messaged her, and she’s just so responsive. You hear so many horror stories about the industry and how people can be, and I’m sure that’s true, but there are always going to be genuine people. 

There were a couple things that were happening this whole month. I did an Ariana Grande mashup of “motive” with Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.” That went viral, but had I known it was going to go viral like that, I would’ve put my face in there, like I’ve been doing now, because people were trying to take all types of credit for it. Then I did a Megan Thee Stallion “Body” mashup with Travis Porter’s “Bring it Back,” and that went super viral. I made a and was posting stuff all over there. And Victoria Monet noticed a mashup I did of her. I think I was just dropping stuff really consistently, because I already had a back catalog of five years of mashup stuff. Even just to backup a little bit, in 2018, I did a mashup, of Aaliyah’s “One in a Million” and Normani’s “Waves,” and she saw it, and ended up performing it for a year on Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour.  

What was the process like for the Aaliyah documentary you made?

That was an incredible experience as a big Aaliyah fan, because I didn’t do it with any type of intentions or any type of agenda. I was in film school, and this is no shade to Full Sail [University], they were a great school to me, but as an editor, there weren’t enough editing classes. I loved all the other classes. It’s great to learn all that stuff. It makes you more versatile in the hiring process, but I love to edit, and I’ve already taught myself this stuff 10 years ago when I was a kid. When are we going to get to the big leagues and be able to use the big programs like what my teachers are using?

That opportunity didn’t really come. So, I said forget it. I’m just going to do my own project. And I woke up and edited a good 40 minutes of that documentary while in a lecture class. I think it was two seven-hour lecture classes. Then I went home, and I would narrate it, do all the research and notes. I wasn’t going to put it out. It was genuinely just going to be for myself just to watch and remember on anniversaries. Then my friend was like, “What are you working on?” I was like, “I’m just practicing, doing this little documentary.” And he sat there and watched that doc and said, “This is good. Put that out.” At first, I said no because of her family and all that. I didn’t want to disrespect anybody. It’s just me doing this for fun. And so, I edited a little trailer for it and I showed it to my teacher. So now people are anticipating it because I posted the trailer on Twitter. I still have those messages. People thought it was real. They were like, “When is this coming to theaters?” Or, “I’m going to get Netflix for this.” And I’m like, “It’s coming out on my YouTube channel, because it wasn’t supposed to be anything. »

While I was working on that in June of 2017, randomly on a car ride home, I was listening to Jay-Z’s “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” and I heard “Formation” over top of it, just randomly in my head. It was on the radio, and I just heard it in my head, and I started, “Okay, ladies, now let’s get in Formation,” with those little plucks. So, I put it together, put it on Twitter, and that blew up. For the rest of the night, ideas were coming to my head, like, “Wow, I actually have enough Beyoncé and Jay-Z mashups at this point to make a little tribute mashup project.” I didn’t know at the time, but I found out that Jay-Z had supported mashup albums, and somebody had done a mashup album with Jay. So I edited a little trailer with my trying-to-be-professional self. I put it on Twitter, and I went to sleep for the rest of the night, and wake up, and it’s everywhere. It was on Complex Music. It was on Billboard, BET.

I’m so grateful, but I was like, “Wait, I have class. I’m not going to say anything.” I go into class, sitting down with all my other friends and students. I will never forget this, the teacher’s talking, he’s telling a very important lecture, and I’m listening very intently. My friend stands up in front of everybody and says, “Yo, Jimir, you’re on frigging Complex and BET?” After class, everybody’s coming up to me, like, “Oh my God, Jimir.” I was like, you all were not saying that 20 minutes ago. So, that was amazing. I’m pretty sure that got to Beyoncé’s camp. The mashup that I had done of “Can I Get A” by Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s “Partition” was on the working setlist for the On The Run II tour. There was a video of her rehearsing it. These fans were standing outside of the stadium, and you could hear the mashup being played in the stadium. And then a whole year later, somebody from her team posted a picture of the actual working setlist at the time, and it listed the same exact name, “Can I Get A Partition?”  else thought about that but me. That means Beyoncé and her team know who I am, and that was very gratifying. That did a lot of things for me, in a way, because a lot of people caught on to my musicality. 

Then I finally finished the Aaliyah documentary, and that was a lot, because I wanted it to be an honest and genuine story. I’m obviously a big Aaliyah fan, so I was like, maybe the way I can tie it all together is it being about the new generation of fans, which would be me, going to visit her grave site, and then you can explain about her life and the legacy. So I got my brother to fly me up to Philly in April, and we went to go visit her grave site, and we filmed some stuff for it. That was a really incredible experience. It meant a lot to me. It was a full hour and 45 minute documentary that I edited and narrated, and did the sound design for. Obviously I used other people’s music, but in terms of audio levels and engineering, that was all me. Many people that knew her, some of her really close friends, reached out to me, messaged me, and were like, “Yo, you genuinely touched me. This is the most incredible tribute anybody has ever done for her.” And obviously there were some issues with her family, which I totally understand. I’m not bitter about that. So, they took it down. 

And then, two months later, I had a knack to edit something else again. I didn’t want to do Beyoncé, because I feel like they might take my stuff down again. So, I was like, who else do I love? Rihanna. Rihanna hasn’t had a documentary done. I think she’s working on one, but who knows when that’s going to come out. It won’t have to be as personal as the Aaliyah documentary, but the Rihanna documentary would be really showing her genuine career. You remember those old behind the scenes, the Behind the Music episodes? That was the inspiration behind it. And so, I edited that all throughout December and January while I was in film school. And it got to Rihanna. She literally sat and watched it with her team. She didn’t let me know personally, but I heard it from a mutual friend.

You’ve mentioned music and film and production, but what is your ultimate goal? 

I’m going to keep speaking this into existence until it happens, because I haven’t signed anything yet. Nobody’s reached out. Beyoncé, love you. Rihanna, love you. I have to remember, too, I’ve kind of spoken many things into existence already. But Beyoncé? If I have not proven it already, I think I will be really dope and valuable to anything that you want to do, whether it’s editing with some Parkwood stuff or tour stuff. I would love to do some mashups and transitions on her tour. The ideas that I have in my head, child, my notes, on my iPad, I am prepared. And the same goes with Rihanna. I would love to help out with Savage x Fenty shows, and maybe even produce for these people in the studio. That’ll probably be a couple years down the line, but I would love to be able to spread that, because those are the people I genuinely look up to. I would love to direct, too. I’m going to genuinely try to get this Missy Elliott documentary off the ground. I don’t know if she’s 100 percent down for it or not. I will have to talk to her, but I know since I’ve reposted it, everybody’s been like, “Why has this not happened yet? This looks freaking professional and incredible. Netflix, get on this.” It doesn’t have to necessarily be with Netflix, but they might want to jump on it now. So, I would love to do that. There’s so many stories of Black legends that were so important to the culture. So, if I could just help in any kind of way, I’m open.

What do you think differentiates you from other creators in your lane? 

I think it’s the way that I am able to incorporate everything, whether it’s music in productions, whether it’s just my ear for sounds in general, whether it’s my timing in terms of editing and being able to tell stories, or the graphic design stuff I do. I do all of that. And I also think it’s just because I have been through these struggles. Everybody has, but I’ve gone through some hardships in my life, some traumatic stuff, dealt with loss, seen it firsthand. I also think my turnaround time [makes me stand out]. I can edit a kick-ass trailer in less than a day. A mashup, I can do that in five minutes. That comes from also having produced original stuff and learning how to do that. With the production stuff, I’m able to sometimes incorporate the mixing and mastering into that. There’s a couple things I think that differentiates myself. I hate to say it, but I feel like I am capable of doing it all. 

What’s the most important thing people should know about you right now? 

I’m super thankful and super blessed for everything. That’s all I want people to know, genuinely. I am so thankful for all the kind words, whether you had just discovered me this week, or you followed me from the jump. Words cannot explain how much that has inspired me creatively to give back in any way that I can. They genuinely changed my life. Yes, I’ve done the work, but you won’t be anywhere without that type of support. So, that’s all I want people to know. I thank them so much.

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