The singer-songwriter talks creating highly-anticipated new single “Glitter” and forthcoming EP “Romance Me”.

Jamilah Barry
Jamilah Barry

Navigating her way through the perils of heartbreak with experimental R&B is newcomer Jamilah Barry with her new single “Glitter”. Showcasing oscillating bassline rhythms, Barry’s eerie and enchanting vocals glide over a dark sultry production. Teamed with heartfelt lyricism, “Glitter” represents the end of the picture-perfect stage of a relationship and captures the moment suspicions arise and unfaithfulness follows.

Opening up on the release, the singer said, “Hearing the eerie chords, the baseline – I knew this was gonna be a sexy one and I wanted to play around with not only my delivery but also my lyrics and wording. I started with “I heard that he’s a baller” and then decided to change it to “they” because we writing songs about non-binary babies too! I had a lot of fun writing and recording this record and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

Taken from her forthcoming four-track EP “Romance Me”, the London-hailed singer has been creating an eclectic blend of soul and R&B, infusing elements of Senegalese and Bollywood music. With the critical acclaim of her debut project Salix Babylonica throwing the singer into the spotlight, we caught up with Barry talking the creative process of the upcoming project, navigating her sound, and all the new material she has stored up.

Check out the single below…

Hi Jamilah – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
Hello! A lot better now that I’ve released some music if I’m honest. But no, it’s definitely been a highly testing time for me as I’m sure it has been for a lot of people. I’ve really tried to focus on practising my craft and spending as much time as possible making music, it’s one of the things that has kept me going.

Who are your musical heroes?
A few that come to mind are Ella Fitzgerald, James Blake, Frank Ocean and Viviane N’Dour. But, this list could honestly go on forever.

How would you describe your genre?
I mean, do any artists need to conform to one genre? Because I certainly don’t. I don’t think we need to at this point. A lot of what we do is inspired by people who have not only laid the groundworks but have also defied the genres they have contributed to. It’s so lovely to think about the music I’ve listened to over the last 25 years I’ve been alive for and drawn inspiration from. Stemming from Henry Purcell to Ella Fitzgerald to that from the Renaissance period.

Congratulations on your new single “Glitter” – what was it inspired by?
Thank you! “Glitter” started with Midnight Phunk playing me a loop in the studio and me vibing to the chords and bass. “Glitter” represents the part in a relationship where the infamous “honeymoon stage” is long gone and you’re feeling some distance from your partner. You suspect something or someone has taken their attention and that they are no longer fully committed to the relationship. “I heard that they’re a baller, that better than us babe?” Is that who you’ve been calling? Heard it in the worst way.”

And it’s taken from your new EP “Romance Me” coming up, which navigates the emotion and conflict of love – what do you think the project says about you?
I think the project shows that I have the ability to evoke emotion through wordplay and melodies, to put it boldly. We go through relationships throughout life and it’s nice to have something to listen to that represents all those different stages and emotions. I think I expressed that quite nicely with this EP.

How do you think your sound has progressed since your 2018 debut project Salix Babylonica?
I’d like to think that my sound is ever-evolving but particularly in the last 2 years I’ve really worked on my vocal dexterity and experimented with my lyricism. I love hearing things that make me screw up my face, and hope that is the effect my music has on others!

You’ve had performances with Nile Rodgers, Roy Ayres and serpentwithfeet – with shows at iconic London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Royal Festival Hall and The Jazz Café – what’s been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
You know what, I actually performed at Ronnie Scott’s when I was 19 which was a dream of mine and I didn’t know I’d have been able to tick that off my list so early on. Off the back of that, I was invited to perform at a private Christmas party hosted by Sally Greene, the owner of the Old Vic in front of the likes of Bob Geldoff and Ronnie Wood himself. I could not believe it. They all came up to me afterwards saying my performance was incredible and I definitely had to pinch myself multiple times throughout the night. Since then, being able to say I’ve performed with or on the same stage as some legends in the game has been so heart-warming and I’ve also consequently learned so much about myself and how others perform/hold a stage.

What do you want fans to take from your music?
The main thing I want fans to take away from my music is being able to listen to it and feel heard, feel seen. I want people who look like me to feel represented and like someone out there gets what they’re going through and has even been through it themselves. I want people to feel inspired to make whatever music they want and that they have it within them to execute it and push themselves sonically.

What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
What I’m looking forward to most is pushing the boundary within all the genres across music. Pushing myself in all avenues creatively, oh, and the music I’ll be releasing! There’s a lot more to come…


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