Swedish-Barbadian newcomer Naomi Pilgrim has fast become the kind of songstress who entices you into her dreamy world and enraptures you with her unique sound, leaving you hungry for more
Fusing soulful affecting vocals with melodic R&B blended electropop, the former backing vocalist for artists including Lykke Li and Agnes Carlsson, is now on her own ‘Pilgrim-age’ towards spiritual enlightenment through her forward-thinking music. Here we talk her Swedish state of mind, protesting for peace in the Congo and premier the remix of her latest single ‘House of Dreams’ by Togetherness.
When did you decide you wanted to go solo after those experiences with artists like Lykke Li?
It happened because I’m an adventure junkie and I love new experiences. Going after a solo career was a decision for sure, but primarily it was too big of a “hell yes” to overlook when I met my team and we first started working together in 2013.
How would you describe your music and overall vision?
My vision is to stay true to myself and my dreams and to keep releasing music that comes from an honest and sincere place. And to me, that´s what my music sounds like.
There is also a soulful signature to your vocals – which other artists / performers have inspired you?
There are so many but to name just a few: Nina Simone, Sade, Al Green, Lou Reed, Lauren Hill and Michael Jackson.
Your lyrics are deep-routed in personal emotion and experiences – what would you like people to take away from listening to your songs?
They are, but whatever is right for the listener. One of the best things about music is the many ways you can connect to it and even I find different meanings in my music on different days, so who am I to kiss and tell?
How do you think the music scene in Sweden compares to London in terms of embracing new artists?
I feel Sweden is less competitive then the UK, mainly because the music society is smaller. And that shows when you’re a new artist. The bigger and more established acts are there for you, helping you to move forward. I get the vibe that the UK is much more of a business and harder to break into.
Your sound cloud bio reads “I am music. I am a whistleblower for peace”– tell us more about what that means?
I use the whistle as a symbol of protest, it’s a vote for peace in Congo. In the last three years I’ve been active in a non-profit organisation called Falling Whistles.
I also read that you’re “all for love and equality”– are you in love at the moment?
There is always room for love.
Being half-Barbadian half-Swedish – how does Scandi melancholy and that laid-back Caribbean vibe influence the mood of your music?
I think my roots influence me in more ways then I can imagine and that’s why this question is so interesting but also impossible to answer!
Your father used to play in a reggae band – I imagine there was lots of hip-winding in your home growing up?
Gosh yes! I learned at a early age that there is never a wrong time for dancing. As a kid it first rubbed my Swedish “lagom” state of mind the wrong way, because none of my friends’ families behaved that way, but I think coming from a loud home has given me a lot of ups in life.
Your fan base has really accelerated since the release of your debut EP – how are you dealing with being in the spotlight now yourself?
I am just excited and grateful!
What’s been the best experience you’ve had so far on this musical journey?
My best experience as a singer is probably when I started to do my own thing because suddenly I reached my own potential, but I mean, everything I’ve ever done has brought me here, so even the failures are a well needed learning experience – my first note is just as important as me getting into music school. Brick by brick.
Tell us about the new EP?
It’s called the ‘House of Dreams’ EP – it’s the first time the songs I’ve released so far will be pressed on vinyl!
Is there a debut album coming and any other exciting projects you can tell us about?
Yes, my debut album will be released in 2015. There are some collaborations coming too but they are a surprise!
Naomi also plays the following festival dates this Summer 2014:
Trailer Park, Copenhagen, 31st of July
Way Out West, Gothenburg, 9th of August
Øya festival, Oslo, 7th of August
Words: Kate Lawson