Since moving to London from her native Stockholm eight years ago, singer-songwriter Fatima has become synonymous with Eglo Records, the label run by Alex Nutt and Sam ‘Floating Points’ Shepherd. Her formidable talents have been established via a steady stream of solo material and contributing vocals to the cutting-edge productions of Funkineven and Scratcha DVA.
Her debut LP Yellow Memories, released earlier this year, was a triumphant realisation of her potential, with her honeyed voice traversing Floating Points-penned RnB and soul. More recently Fatima has split her life between London and New York, and has been performing with the Eglo Live Band providing the perfect platform for her unique raw expression.
A true character, Fatima eschews the typically understated look of many of her peers in dance music for a style that is as bright, warm and inviting as the delicate sincerity of her sound. Nurturing a timeless look, Fatima’s style draws from the elegance of 60s soul and the freedom of the 70s as much as it does the bossy conviction of 90s RnB.
Our shoot with Fatima paid homage to these influences, and we were thrilled when her boyfriend and photographer Sebastian Hallqvist agreed to step in for some shots. Taking place in London on a day off from her Yellow Memories Tour and styled in Meadham Kirchhoff and Maxine Beiny, this month’s Aesthetic indulges in Fatima’s refreshingly sunny demeanor.
Can you describe your personal style?
Whatever I’m feeling in the moment. I like changes. I get inspired by the 60s, 70s, 90s … I’ve always loved dressing up, ever since I was a kid. Although it’s fun to be pretty, sometimes what’s on the edge of ugly can be more interesting than the predictably beautiful.
Were there any musicians whose style you admired when you were growing up?
I watched a lot of MTV plus other Swedish music shows and through the videos you always clocked mad styles. I remember Missy Elliott’s videos having the coolest inspirational clothes and Hype Williams videos with popping colours and crazy costumes. But I always loved second hand shopping and used to do my own thing so it didn’t matter what the source was; sometimes I looked like a child from the flowery 60s and sometimes I had baggy camo trousers and tees or long dresses and turbans.
Do you have a favourite record sleeve?
One of my favorites is Ohio Players – Honey.
Some recent press has described the end of ‘peacocking’ in fashion. Do you still feel drawn to bright colours?
I don’t really care about fashion. Although you can get inspiration from it I’m more into style and whatever feels good to me. I think I’ll always love playing with different colours; it helps brighten up my life. At times I might feel like wearing something that really stands out but sometimes I might be feeling all black everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re Yayoi Kusama or Wednesday from The Addams Family, as long as you’re doing you.
There are plenty of collaborations on Yellow Memories, were there any experiences that stick out to you for being particularly inspiring?
One moment I loved was when I was in LA recording with ScoopDeVille. We took a break from the studio and went out in the sun and I saw hummingbirds flying really close to us. I’d never seen hummingbirds before so that was pretty magical.
Can you tell us about the inspiration for the song Ridin Round (Sky High)?
I think I was on a cloud while writing that one. The song is about loneliness; being stuck in a daze. Riding down the freeway dreaming of a future moment accompanied by something higher and larger than yourself, being showered by psychedelic coloured sunrays and getting saved from the mundane.
You touched on the rise of narcissism on social media in your track Technology – how do you feel about using social media as a medium to express yourself?
I think it’s all well as long as you’re not getting too deep into it without being able to view yourself objectively within it. It’s not a crime to document your life and take pictures of yourself and it’s amazing how you can get updates from all around the world within a second. But I think it becomes problematic when you’ve become addicted to certain aspects of it and you’re getting more and more narcissistic. You got to find some type of balance out there.
Brought up in Sweden and living between London and New York, is there a city which you identify more with style-wise?
Since growing up in Stockholm, Swedish design has always had a big influence on me and been a natural part of my life, the clean shapes and the simplicity. My mum loved taking me to antique stores to observe different styles; she used to have a shop called Boutique Afrique where she imported textiles from West Africa (mainly Gambia and Senegal), jewellery and drums. I grew up sitting on piles of textiles while my mum was haggling in the markets of Serrekunda and Banjul. All those prints and colours snuck their way into my brain.
London has got a lot of dope styles too; I like the slicked hairstyles, golden jewellery and the simple looks. New York’s got hip-hop breathing through the city, sneakers on point, fresh combinations of colours and laid-back characters being stylish without trying too hard. I feel like a lot of people are real free there and aren’t afraid to be themselves. A lot are stuck in time machines too, which is pretty amazing.
If you’ve got some time off from touring, what would your ideal day in London/ New York be like?
In London, maybe going to the Tate, I’m not there very often but I really do enjoy it. I might get some good Vietnamese food and maybe see some live shows and chill. In New York I’d probably be walking around town just looking around and taking it easy, and definitely eating some fantastic food, either Mexican at LA Burrito or Ethiopian at Bunna Cafe or Arepas at Caracas. There’s way too much delicious food in that city that’s not to be missed out on!
Photography: Dean Davies
Styling: Charlotte James
Prop Stylist: Sarah Gobourne
Make Up: John Maclean
Photographers Assistant: Hannah Coorg
Stylist Assistant: Abigail Hazard
Yellow Memories is out now via Eglo Records.