We catch up with Swedish songstress Fatima, to talk about her love affair with London and her soul-jam that’s slowly bubbling its way around the world
It might be a drizzly June morning In New York city when we catch up with Fatima, but the summer vibe that is so infectious in her music is clearly part of her character too. Her debut album ‘Yellow Memories’ was released at the beginning of May and is already garnering global attention. Put together over “two years-ish” and recorded in both LA and London it is an album of sun kissed soul. “So far I’ve had a lot of people hit me up and tell me they like it,” says Fatima. “I’ve received a lot of really good reception; you never know what people are going to feel when they listen to your music.” But despite her growing fame, Fatima is humbled by the reception she has garnered so far. “I feel like I’ve got a lot of love for it, which makes me really happy because that’s all I can ask for” she expalins.
On first hearing her music we were completely unaware of her Swedish roots and were intrigued about what took her from picturesque Stockholm, to London but she soon explained. “Stockholm? It was totally different. I don’t know exactly where to start,” she says. “Compared to London it’s pretty small. It’s a pretty city, surrounded by water and it’s clean, London is really dirty,” she laughs. But despite it being dirty, she appreciates London’s dynamic. “It’s one of the go to cities of the world,” she says. “It’s got a different tempo, it’s a bit crazier in a way.”
Having come to London for a weekend with a friend back in 2006, Fatima has never looked back. “I really liked it,” she says. “I was really intrigued and I wanted to find out more about the city.” So, immersing herself in the capitals thriving club scene, she soon met Alexander Nut of Eglo records, who then persuaded her to put an Eglo house band together. “I had been doing loads of gigs with him along with various other club Djs for a some time,” she explains. “He said: “Look you should switch it up and do your own live thing now”, then he spread the word, contacted a few people and a bunch of musicians came down and just played with us.” Overwhelmed by the variety of people who were keen to be involved in this venture, Fatima soon expanded her horizons. “We had to just choose people who were on the same vibe,” she continues. “It was Alex’s idea from the beginning, it wasn’t that I didn’t want it, I was just in my comfort zone”.
So stepping outside the walls of said zone, Fatima’s dynamic progressed and despite not appearing on her album, performing with the band gives her shows a different energy. “It’s so much fun to perform with them because the music comes to life in a different way,” she says. Speaking of her most recent London gig as part of Mr Scruff’s all dayer at the infamous Camden round-house, Fatima tells us that she enjoyed the fun all day vibe you find at many of London’s hot spots. “People were there from pretty early and they were just dancing around, drinking,” she enthuses. “I’d been there before but never to perform. It kind of looks like a spaceship! I hadn’t looked up, but when I did I thought we were going to take off.”
Giddy on life, Fatima’s summer has only just begun and judging by her festival line-up so far, both her and her audience are in for a treat. Heading out to Croatia to perform at both of the Adriatic’s most loved summer festival main-stays – Outlook and Dimensions – in amongst mainland performances and a string of boat parties with the Eglo crew, she’s also set to open the latter festival with Lauryn Hill. “I’m a big fan of hers so hopefully that will be fun!” she says with unfaltering enthusiasm. Careful not to give too much away about the rest of her year, it’s apparent that the seductive Swedish songstress’ soul-jam is slowly bubbling it’s way further and further afield; and with Stockholm, London and Croatia already ticked off the list, we can only wonder which country Fatima is going set her sights on next.
Words: Siobhan Frew
Photography: Sebastian Hallqvist