I had an opportunity to interview thrilling London based singer/ songwriter Iman , who has been doing amazing things in the world of music. She has worked with Rudimental , Kanye West’s producer Mike Dean and recently released Naive. Iman gave us the lowdown on where it all started , her determination to succeed and what she has planned for the coming months.
Hello Iman , How are you ?
Hey! Yep all good thanks! ☺
When and why did you start exploring music ?
Ever since I was little I was always singing , dancing and facsinated by singers and was definitey that kid with a hairbrush in the mirror. My parents though were never really on it and didn’t want me to go into music but it was something I couldn’t ignore and I was and still am so totally devoted to it. It’s definitely what I’m meant to be doing.
What was the turning point for you ?
I think whats happening now is my turning point people are starting to take notice of my music. I’ve worked so hard and been commited to developing myself vocally, writing and performance wise behind the scenes and have held back for ages from uploading my songs because I knew it wasn’t the right time, I knew I still needed more growth. It was frustrating doing that but I’m a firm believer in timing. I’m glad I waited because my voice and songwriting etc is the best it’s ever been and I’m only going to work on making it stronger. Once somethings online its there forever so its best to make sure you only put up what you’re 100% certain of. I’m appreciative of the great reviews I’ve been getting and I can’t wait to share more of the music and videos I’ve been working on.
What was it like working with Mike Dean ?
He was a chilled out guy really humble. He was playing a few beats and I was like send me that beat I wanna try and write to it. He was cool he let me get on with my part and really liked what I came up with. He kept playing what I’d written a few times too. He was dope.
What has been your most memorable moment to date ?
Playing to a sold out crowd of 5,000 people at Brixton Academy was insane. I was with Rudimental and I remember all these lights flashing and the beat dropping and as soon as I came in with the verse its like the crowd went nuts. The energy was electric. I was buzzing for days after!
I heard through the grapevine that you directed the music video ‘’ Naive’’ and is this true ?
Yep I co- directed and edited the video. While I’m cool to let people do their thing and it’s always interesting for me to see their spin on it, when it came to the visuals on that song I had a pretty firm idea of what I wanted so yeah I did my thing. Wildstag the guys I shot the video with were super cool and supportive with me taking charge on it.
What was your approach to creating Naive (the song) and the visuals for it ?
Naive was written about the way I was feeling at the time. I wanted to keep the production in that Massive Attack/Zero7 vein and I knew I didn’t want the video to distract from the lyrics. Naive is all about innocence and so it made sense for me to be all in white and make it minimal. I wrote the song quite quickly, it took a while to find the right producer and team to do the video with but it all came together and flowed nicely.
If you could collaborate with an established musician , who would it be and why ?
Lauren Hill – She has music running through her veins.
What else do you have in the pipeline over the next 12 months ? Any new gigs lined up ?
I have loads going on! My gigs so far are:
May 7th I’m headling at Surya in Kings Cross with support from Rumours and Junior Williams
June 1st The Bedford
June 20th IluvLive
I’ve just wrapped up filming the video for my 3rd release due June/July and am getting all the bits I need together for that as we speak. Also rehearsing with my band, working on my guitar skills, a few studio sessions lined up and hopefully securing a really cool feature with an act releasing singles under Sony right now.
As an independent artist , what are your challenges on a daily basis and what helps you overcome them ?
Budgets can be challenging but it’s cool, it’s made me understand the business a lot more. I’m way savvy with what I will and won’t agree to fund. I think artists should see them selves as entrepreneurial, because while it is an incredibly rewarding passion money of course like in any other business has to be generated in order to keep creating.
I reckon self belief is a massive factor in helping me overcome the not so good times. I believe in what I have to contribute to music because I still remember being that girl that couldn’t really control my voice or write a song and its self belief and passion for music that made me perservere and grow into the artist I am with now the songs I’ve been able to write.
Do you have a routine / or approach to tracking a record in the studio ?
I tend to record the lead vocal then edit it alongside whoever I’m working with. Once my lead vox is set I get to work on figuring out the harmonies and stuff. That’s the way I usually do it. When it comes to how I write, I don’t tend to have any ideas beforehand, they usually tend to flow once I start hearing a few chord sequences and it’s like the music tells me the feel of the song. Only a few times have I gone in and been like I’ve got this verse etc that I wanna work on like with ‘Naive’.
Lastly , if you could pick a musician to perform for you in your living room. Who would it be and why ?
Nas would be cool. I’d get all my friends round make it really chilled and then everyone would have to write a few bars about whatever they wanted and we’d pass a mic around and rap with the man himself all night. I get the feeling he’s a cool cat and would be down for a casual jam like that, just vibes!
Thank you for speaking to me and really hope that all your hard work pays of in 2016 !
Stream the Brand new Naive Remix