IMPACT 0269: A SELF-TAUGHT MUSIC PRODUCER
Amir Bin Mohamed Noor, 23, is a self-taught rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and aspiring guitarist who goes by the name Ratmir Johnson. With no prior background, he started making music seven years ago and has never looked back. He was recently one of Singapore’s top 20 finalists in the Vans “Musicians Wanted” 2021 competition.
Today he shares more about his craft.
Tell us more about what you do.
I’m a rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, and I’m currently aspiring to add “guitarist” to that list! I started making music with zero music knowledge seven years ago. I’m also one of the top 20 finalists of the Van’s “Musicians Wanted” 2021 competition!
What inspired you to take this path?
My mum once told me that when I was a baby, I cried a lot. When she was busy with her chores, she would turn up the volume of the radio, and that somehow made me stop crying. So, I guess music is just in my blood.
I would also say that it’s my curiosity that pushes me to act on what I find interesting. When I’m curious about something, my brain is in “go” mode till I do something about it.
For example, I might hear a song and think: “What if the artist had sung another melody instead?”, which might result in me rearranging the song and writing a variation of it. That’s how I started in music – by trying to emulate the artists I liked back then.
Have you faced any challenges so far, and how did you overcome them?
Being an independent musician, every step I have taken has been a challenge. At 17, I started learning about digitally making music on GarageBand through YouTube. With zero music knowledge and no prior experience playing an instrument, I first worked on understanding the concept of notations and how they work together to form a pleasing sound. It took seven long years to attain a decent level of skill and I would say I’m still learning.
Getting support from listeners and other artists alike has also been a challenge. This has resulted in some self doubt, wondering if what I am doing is worth it. But I overcome that by reminding myself that the thing that matters most is whether I am happy doing what I have chosen to do.
If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?
Be willing to explore new things and do what you like. Everybody has something to offer this world. Don’t get bogged down by negativity and fuel the energy you have into your goals.
What are your hopes or plans for the future?
The ultimate goal for me is to one day make music with Tyler, the Creator, and Avenged Sevenfold, but first, I’m releasing my new song, “Uncomfortable” on November 19, 2021. I’m also working on a full length album, which will probably drop some time next year.