IN-SPIRE MAGAZINE - 1 2Watch: Singer/Songwriter Iman

Posted on Friday, 7 October 2011

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1 2Watch: Singer/Songwriter Iman

Team Inspire October 3, 2011 0

It’s not often that I get to cover someone that I am absolutely blown away by, but singer/ songwriter Iman did just that. I do the usual bit; read the PR blurb (yeah she sounds interesting), follow her on Twitter (she’s got some things to say) and then I YouTube her. OMG, this girl is amazing!!!

Her vocals and vibe set her aside from your typical ’off the shelf’ female artist. And guess what… She is from the UK so gets points straight off the bat in my book.

Drawing inspiration from Lauren Hill, Akala, Adele and Joni Mitchell, you can kind of take a guess at the vibe that she is going with.

Not only can she sing, her song writing abilities have seen her pen tracks that have been cut by artists worldwide; one of them even making it to number one!

I caught up with her in the hope that you guys would be just as excited about her as we are at In-spireLS.

How did you get into songwriting?

I just knew that if I wanted to get up on stage and do my own thing I’d have to write my own songs. So in the very beginning I was totally winging it. I remember being in the studio for the very first time with the producer who was playing a few chords and saying, ‘Ok write a song to these chords if you like them’ and me being like ummm…Ok, better get on with this and do my best. So, I just got my pen and note book out and I found myself writing. I remember being very mindful of trying to make it as catchy a possible. For my first go the song was ok. Haha

Are there any songs that you have penned that we would have heard?

Other than the ones on my YouTube I have found that there is another of my older songs. That was released by Giles Peterson called ‘Who Was I Tryina Fool?’ on Spotify and on a few other peoples YouTube channels. It’s on a neo soul vibe and I was experimenting with that sound at the time.

Who are your favourite song writers?

Micheal Jackson, Lauren Hill, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Rox, Ed Sheeran, BabyFace, Dionne Warwick and Gary Barlow are also pretty prolific to me.

What makes a good song?

Honesty in the lyrics and vocals.

Writing VS Performing?

Performing! But I guess it depends on who I am in the studio with. Sometimes you can be in a session with someone who you always catch a vibe with and everything flows out just right, other times it can be a little awkward. But being on stage and connecting with people, seeing their reactions and feeling the energy in a room full of music lovers is what I love the most.

What has been your biggest success so far?

Writing the majority of my album already which I’m really proud of, having great management and musicians around me, teaching myself how to play guitar and having a Number 1 song on Italian X Factor and a song on a number 1 album in Germany.

If you could pen a track for anyone who would it be?

Beyonce, I’m in love with her!!

So you taught yourself to play the guitar, tells us about that?

That is one crazy story. Ok well I always wanted to play the guitar but used to tell myself I could never do something like that. One day though I was walking past a guitar shop and I just decided I was going to go in and buy one. So I did and I got on and taught myself the very basics. My managers called me one day and said listen Iman we’ve just been to see one A&R and they’d really love to meet you and we told them that you play guitar. So, do you reckon you could learn 3 of your songs to play to them at their office in two weeks? I was like huh!!!

I love a challenge though and I wasn’t upset with them because that was exactly what I needed to really step up on my playing. My managers totally believed I could nail it so they weren’t stressing too much. For those two weeks I locked myself away and taught myself how to sing and play three of my songs at the same time. My very first performance with it was for a head A&R. Since then I’ve kept on with it and now I use it in the studio for writing too.

How lucrative has your songwriting career been?

Pretty cushtie. lol

Which UK artists are you feeling?

For me I would say all the UK artists in the charts right now are definitely reppin and bringing something fresh to the table. They are all so diverse and authentic. If I had to name two though it would be Katy B and Ed Sheeran.

What is your favourite genre of music?

Can I say two…? It’s hip hop and pop music for me at the moment.

Does your writing skills extend beyond music?

I used to write stories as a kid but haven’t gone there in a while.

What are your plans for the coming year?

Right now I am busy rehearsing with my band, writing and recording new material and working on spreading my music out there. I have a single release of ‘Only You’ that we are also working on so that’s keeping me busy.

Do you have any song writing rituals

No, I just make sure I’m going with the flow really. But I do find that I write better on laptop rather than with pen and paper. I guess it’s because my handwriting is so messy. There’s actually been times when I’ll go back to recap what I’ve written and I can’t even read my own writing!!

Any talents outside of music?

I make a mean apple crumble!

How important is image to you as an artist?

Not as important to me as the actual music. As an artist you do have to play the game and make sure you stand out visually as it’s definitely part of your act and whole vibe. I love clothes, dressing up and shopping but I wouldn’t say I follow fashion or trends. I do my own thing.

What’s the last song you heard that you wish you wrote?

Oh I have many!! One off the top of my head right now is ‘Melt My Heart To Stone’ by Adele.

Are you signed to a label?

Not yet.

If you wrote an autobiographical album, what would you call it?

I have written an autobiographical album and you’ll know the name when it’s released!

To you success would be?

To be grateful at all times even when shit’s hitting the fan. Happiness is absolutely successful living.

Any advice for anyone that wants to get into singing / song writing?

Be true to you, don’t try to be like anyone else just do you and express yourself through your music. The best music always comes from this place I find. Mind who you keep in your circle of friends, make sure they are real and supportive towards you. More importantly always strive to grow daily with yourself, grow your talents by practising and being open to learning. Have fun with it!

‘Only you’ is the track that I have been playing since I first heard it. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, to me it is the definition of a long song. Even the video (made by Hibbert Ralph) sets the scene for a beautiful love story.If you like what you hear you can catch Iman on the 27th October with a full band at Hoxton Underbelly in London.

or on Twitter


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