Who The Funkineven Is FATIMA?

For those who have yet to discover underground electro/soul artist Fatima, her debut EP Mindtravellin is getting a lot of buzz on the London scene right now. A combination of Floetry-style vocals and alternative electro production, Fatima is carving out a unique and intriguing sound. Working closely with producers Funkineven, Floating Points and Alexander Nut, Fatima’s style has developed organically and has been allowed to develop at Eglo Records, the independent label set up by Alex Nut and Floating Points to which she is signed.

On the live scene Fatima has been performing at various underground clubs including Cargo and Plastic People. At one such gig in Rotterdamn recently, Fatima was invited to perform with Hip Hop super group Slum Village. “That was really an accident. I was in Rotterdam with the Eglo guys doing a gig at a club and they were there. I did a little set of my own and afterwards I was just standing by the stage to watch [Slum Village]. During their set they were like, ‘Where’s that girl who was up here singing earlier?’ and then they asked me to come back on stage and do a freestyle. It was really cool, but totally unplanned.”

Fatima’s debut E.P Mindtravellin was released this year and includes “Soul Glo,” a track that has been generating a huge amount of buzz online. The track features the slick downbeat production of the Eglo family and acts as a perfect backdrop to Fatima’s smooth and effortlessly soothing voice. The accompanying video for “Soul Glo” further endears the audience with its light-hearted humorous play on the ’70s hair product of the same name.

“When you watch the video there’s a pretty obvious reference to the hair product Soul Glo” she tells us. “At first it didn’t actually start off being about that. We were just in the studio and liked the way the words ‘Soul Glo’ sounded and basically built the track around that. Later on we thought it would be fun to make the Jheri curl connection, especially in the video which was so much fun to make. We had a lot of our good mates come down on the day of shooting the video. It gave it a really nice feel to be sounded by people who you know and can come and have a good time instead of paying actors to come and pretend they were having a good time. The video was directed by The Boy King who’s a good mate of mine as well.”

When asked how Fatima thinks her vintage neo soul fits in with the current musical landscape she displays a refreshing sense of nostalgia for her own experiences with music as a child. Releasing her E.P on Vinyl, it seems Fatima is trying re-create the music listening experience that she remembers from her own childhood.

“I remember when I was a kid and buying an album was a big deal that you used to look forward to. The way people listen to music has changed a lot. Like, a lot of music was created with the intention of being played on sound systems that could really do the music justice. Not a pair of earphones, and I think with the whole MP3 thing you lose a bit of that. I’d say there are definitely positives and negatives to it.”

With a mix of musical influences that include Aaliyah, SWV, Destinys Child, Charlie Wilson, Minnie Riperton and Jay-Z to name a few, Fatima’s sound is a compelling melting pot of styles. Already at work on her next EP and planning a series of live dates, Fatima is one to watch for 2010.

For now though, check out the rest of our interview with Fatima:

SoulCulture: Describe your writing process. What inspires you to make music?

Fatima: Well in terms of my writing process it’s always different. A lot of the time we’ll be in the studio and when I hear a great instrumental or beat I’ll know I can write to it. I love just being in the studio and collaborating with people, that’s what inspires me. Sometimes I’ll already have lyrics that I’ve written previously, sometimes it’s just the vibe of the track that will influence where the lyrics go and what the songs about.

SoulCulture: You’ve been performing a lot around London particularly at venues like Cargo and Plastic People. How important is the live side to you and what is your live setup?

Fatima: I really like playing live. As much as I love being in the studio and writing and recording, when you’re doing the live stuff you’re connecting with people. When you’re performing and there’s a great vibe in the room everyone feeds off it and that feeds you as well and that can lead to a really good gig. It’s more instant because you see the reaction in the crowed.

SoulCulture: You’ve worked closely with producers Funkineven, Floating Points and Alexander Nut who founded the Eglo record label. How did that all come about?

Well we were all friends before, so it all started pretty naturally. I’d go to a lot of nights around London and those guys were all DJing there and eventually when you’re going to the same place you end up knowing everyone and eventually they started getting me to do stuff on the tracks they were working on. When it came time to release my own EP [Mindtravellin] it just made complete sense that we do it through Eglo. As a smaller label you feel much more like everyone is on board with the music and gets what the project is all about. There’s a real family vibe to Eglo so it’s the perfect label to be working with.

SoulCulture: What’s next for you in 2010?

Fatima: A lot of recording! I’m working on my next E.P so I want get working on that. We’re also gonna be doing a few gigs around London so make sure you check out my MySpace for those. I’m hopefully gonna be doing a lot of traveling as well this year so yeah, should be a busy one.

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