soul singer fatima is the real deal

Get ready to fall in love with Fatima.

by Nick Smith
27 July 2014, 6:55am

The melodic vibrations of London soul artist Fatima elicit a captivating sense of synesthesia with their colour, power and beauty. Her lyrics are compelling, delivered oh so delicately but with such warmth and devotion. Having recently released her debut LP Yellow Memories, the Swedish born artist is bringing an entirely new rawness to the world of soul, collaborating with some of the most talented beat-makers in the world and performing a string of spine-tingling, awe-inspiring live shows. Get ready to fall in love with Fatima.

Hi Fatima, how are you?
I'm a bit tired but the sun is out, so I can't complain.

What are you up to today?
I'm going to do the shoot for i-D with Hunter Ryan. We're meeting up by St. Pauls Cathedral, I think it'll be cool.

Yellow Memories is an amazing album, congratulations. How long was it in the making?
The whole process took about 2 years.

Empowerment seems to be a theme within the record, was there a particular message you were trying to convey or was it more of a personal journey?
I took inspiration from what I was going through at the time but didn't really set out to write songs about anything in particular. When I wrote Do Better I was working in a sneaker shop and felt totally uninspired. I started to become really negative and feel trapped. I kept thinking, "What am I doing here?" It's a song about looking at yourself objectively and realising that you are the only one that can change your life and take the next step. Most of the tracks on the album were written from a personal point of view.

Where are you based currently?
Right now, at this very moment, I'm in London. I've been living here for almost eight years but my boyfriend lives in New York so I've been going back and forth a bit. so much so that people have been writing that I live in New York City.

What's life like for you right now?
I feel good, really happy to have the album out finally. The guys at Eglo Records and I were working on it for quite a while. It's my first big project so I'm glad to have it out there and I've been able to do more gigs with the Eglo live band, which is really cool. I'm also able to travel more now, I get to go to different places, keep it moving and see some contrast. I get bored so easily.

What's the most exciting place you've been to?
Every place I visit I see something new, but really, I love going to the States. And I loved the trip to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. That was really dope because I'd never been to that side of the world and it was so different.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Stockholm in the 80s. I grew up there with my mum, brother and sister. My mum's from Sweden and my dad was from Gambia/Senegal. At the end of 2006, when I was twenty one, I moved to London.

You collaborated with some really amazing producers on the record…
I feel really lucky to have had them work with me on this project because I'm a big fan of all their music. Each producer has their own individual style. Floating Points and I have been working together for a while, I think he's extremely versatile - lots of soulful melodies. Oh No produced the track Technology, he makes bangin', crazy, smoked-out beats. And KNWXLEGE, I think he's amazing! He creates these warm beats that are still real raw. He's also got excellent taste in rappers, the best marriage ever. I wish that I could be the hardest rapper and rap over some smooth, raw beats, but I'm not a rapper.

Can you rap?
Nah [laughs]. Sometimes I just say I'm "talking to the beats" but I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a rapper.

People have been making comparisons between yourself and Erykah Badu recently.
I think we both just make soul music. I don't think we sound the same at all but I'm definitely really inspired by her. She's amazing. I've been listening to her music since I was a kid. She always has a fresh approach to soul and brings something different. It's hard to not be influenced and inspired by people who you grew up listening to. People always like to compare artists though, especially new ones. They like to categorise things to sort them out and make sense of them. For me it doesn't matter, I take it as a compliment if anyone thinks I sounds like Erykah, but I'm not trying to sound like anyone else. I just do me.

What makes you happy?
[sings] When I can be myself.

Are you going to break into song?
[laughs] I might actually. But seriously, what makes me happy is love and light. My family, my closest friends, music, all of that is love. And light, I really love the sunshine. The warmth. I think those are the things that make me truly happy.


Text Nick Smith
Photography Hunter Ryan