THE terrific Iyamah…
has been telling me about Silver Over Gold and shooting its video. I ask how important her hometown of Brighton is and what sort of music she was exposed to as a child – she recommends some great rising artists worth some time.
I ask what comes next for her in terms of gigs and material and whether there are a few albums that are especially important to her; how she spends any time away from music – Iyamah provides some handy advice for musicians coming through.
Hi, Iyamah. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’m great, thank you. Just busy. I’ve been at home finishing off some songs and getting ready to go on tour next week!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I’m a Soul singer; lover of Hip-Hop and Jazz. I try to combine all my musical influences into my own genre, which also includes Reggae and live sounds. Really, I’m a hippy kid from the sunny seaside town of Brighton.
Silver Over Gold is your new track. Is there a story behind the track?
Definitely. The song means a few things to me really. It’s mainly about what influenced me growing up and my surroundings; being by the sea and diverse cultures and representing sounds from around the world.
But, it’s also about the value of things and how we carry memories with us in different ways like jewellery - but it doesn’t always have to be the most expensive or valuable that mean the most. It can be a place, or a person; those things come for free.
What was it like filming the video in Brighton?
It was honestly the best day I’ve had in a long time. Everything was perfect. The sun was shining and my whole crew and team were happy to be there! I was proud to call it my hometown and we managed to get exactly what we hoped for the video. It’s something about the energy and the vibe in Brighton during the summer.
How important is your hometown of Brighton? Did you grow up around a lot of music and local sounds?
100%! I think it’s the reason I love music so much. My mum was always playing music at home, but it was also all the parades and festivals; the festival attitude of life that you end up taking on and the travelling mind-set people have there too. I was encouraged to travel the world and explore sounds from around the world.
Will there be more material coming next year do you reckon?
Next year! Sooner; sooner than you think.
In terms of music; who do you count as idols and influences?
Oh, I have many. I’ve always naturally been inspired by empowering women. Maybe it’s because I was raised by my mum but there’s something about female singers that gave me strength. I have my queens that definitely had an influence on my sound; maybe because they’re ‘woke’. They speak the truth.
I’d say they’re Erykah Badu, Jill Scott; Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill; Sade and, of course, Amy Winehouse. I’m sure a lot of singers of my generation would say those people! But, I also love the ones who influenced us all: Etta James, Whitney and Aretha.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
If I’m able to keep up the momentum, I’ll be happy. People have responded so positively to my music and that’s all I hoped for. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve had so far.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I loved shooting the video for Silver Over Gold. That’s probably the most proud I’ve felt of any of my work so far because I had a vision and Dalia captured it so well. It was the best feeling when we were able to share it!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Oooohh; probably the albums that take me back!
Kanye West - Late Registration; Sona Jobarteh – Fasiya and Bob Marley – Exodus.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Erykah Badu! And my rider would have halloumi and sweet potato fries…some hummus and pitta bread AND some Mount Gay Rum.
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
Yes! So excited to be supporting Masego next week for his Europe tour. You can catch me at the London, Manchester; Paris and Amsterdam shows.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Just be honest and real with yourself - that’s all you can do. But, make sure you always follow your gut! It’s always right. You got to take every lesson as it comes and only allow it to make you stronger and more powerful.
IN THIS PHOTO: Isaac Waddington
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yes. There’s a couple people coming through at the moment you might not have heard of who definitely deserve more recognition. Isaac Waddington. If you can see him live he’s probably got the best male vocals I’ve heard in a long time. Sam Wills is incredibly talented. Also…Raveena. Her music’s super-sweet and very chilled.
IN THIS PHOTO: Raveena/PHOTO CREDIT: @raveena_aurora
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I try to, even when there’s so much I have to do. I make sure I give my mind a break for at least ten-fifteen minutes a day to meditate! It helps me to focus and set the day right. I also make sure I eat good food - that helps break up the day. Some days I don’t do music at all because if I feel uninspired and I can’t force myself to be creative. I’ll go off and do something else, then come back to it. That way I know I’ll do a better job. Whether it’s going for a walk or seeing a friend.
But, those days don’t come often: I’m always doing something to do with music even if it’s writing notes, making plans for the week or recording ideas on my VoiceNotes. I like to be organised; it’s kind of addictive.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Oooh…Sampa The Great - Rhymes To The East (edit). She’s amazing.