INTERVIEW: Get To Know Singer-Songwriter IMAN

IMAN is a singer-songwriter based in London, UK. She has worked with Ed Sheeran, toured with Rudimental, been in writing sessions for Kanye West‘s album and having two songs on Wilkinson‘s album, she has secured tracks on No 1 albums around Europe.

Even more, she has written songs for major label signed artists, which were placed on triple platinum and gold status albums for German, Italian, Australian and UK based artists. We can tell she learned her way and made a name for herself in the music industry very quickly.

However, IMAN is not an ordinary artist – she had to make her way totally alone, without having anyone behind her back and had to strongly focus on her dream. IMAN’s love of music was not encouraged by her parents. They viewed the music scene differently than their musically gifted daughter, so she couldn’t go to them for advice. Still, IMAN chose to pursue her burning ambition to write music and follow her dreams.

Then she grew even stronger in the face of rejection. During those moments when the phone rang less or even stopped ringing and she wasn’t doing as many music sessions, IMAN’s background had her equipped to tackle those moments of uncertainty.

IMAN is now no longer unsure of her ability, namely her latest single “Wishing”, mixed by Brett Shaw, has just been released. This track is an infectious dance-floor smasher with its tropical-pop styled synth hooks and the driving kick drums.

Get to know IMAN with our interview, in which she talks about singing, songwriting, her past, her upcoming shows and much more!

First off, how would you introduce yourself and your music to those who haven’t heard about you yet?

“Hello! My name is IMAN, I’m a London based music artist and sometimes direct and co-edit my own music videos. I guess my sound could be described as having electronic, R&B influences merged with pop sprinkled with soul vocals.”

How did you get into the industry?

“I started by turning up at talent shows and gigs. You tend to find musicians that will go not only for the music but also to network. That was definitely my first step into it all.”

Your family didn’t support your path at first. How could you still keep fighting for your dream?

“I had an overwhelming desire to follow my heart and singing and performing always came naturally to me even as a child, it’s pretty much all I would do. With that amount of passion and focus, nothing really could get in the way. I think it was this that kept me driven regardless of what anyone else said.”

What do they think about your musical influence now?

“My mum really enjoys listening to my music and she has a really good ear. As far as getting involved with the where I am at they tend not to ask and I am very much OK with that! Haha”

Did you have any fears when you left your home? As a teenager, it could be the toughest decision.

“Honestly, by the time I had made my decision, I was certain in my heart that it was the right thing to do. What was hard was the guilt I felt knowing it would hurt my family. As soon as I left every bit of my time was spent knocking on doors,  immersing myself in music and I became an absolute sponge; hungry to learn all I could about the industry. I knew it wasn’t a time to mess around because I believed 100%  that a window was given to me to use wisely.”

So, how do you look back on your time at home?

“I look back on it with lots of different emotions, mainly gratitude that I am now a strong woman because of my experiences.”

Tell us when and how did the battle with your self-doubt start.

“I think not having my creativity supported as a child maybe didn’t help. I understand though how odd it must have been to have a child that wouldn’t stop singing! I’m literally the only musical person in my whole family so it was all a bit new for them. My self-doubt carried on for way too long and I take responsibility for that because so many times people would tell me how much they loved my voice and my default way of thinking to that was always ‘they’re just being nice’. Then I started to question why I thought so low of myself and open up to the possibility that it’s not a bad thing to believe in myself and gracefully accept true compliments you are given. I think though for many people it’s something we all go through and cliché as it is it’s just a matter of growing and gradually learning to love and accept yourself.”

How could you stand up after this hard time?

“I think I’ve always had a fighting spirit and I am optimistic. My friends are definitely very special to me in that when I couldn’t go to my parents for support, I always had them lifting me up.”

Now we would like to congratulate you on the release of your new single “Wishing”! Could you tell us what inspired this track?

“I was a little bit in love with this guy. He had a girlfriend so I stayed well away, never contacting him. And to be honest I’m glad I did! Ha”

The sound of “Wishing” is a bit different from your previous songs. Why did you find this change important?

“I’m not sure I would describe it as a change because my next few releases aren’t all going to be in the same vein as “Wishing”. I’ve come to embrace the fact that I’m just the type of artist that doesn’t really like to write the same song twice. Some singers who are still my absolute favourites will sing the same tempo song and for them and their fanbase it works perfectly. For me, though, it’s not my vibe. Also, I’m lucky enough to have a vocal that sits well over different tempos and genres and I want to explore that making every release fresh and exciting.”

Something’s telling us that the inspiration behind “Naive” was your own way to singing – you never gave up, never heard what doubters said. Is that right?

“I like that you have gotten this right about me but I’m afraid in terms of the meaning behind the song it’s not so much the case. It’s a love song! Loving your analogy, though – Very outside the box! Although I have a song called “Nothing To Fear” that’s about that.”

We are curious how it is to work with Ed Sheeran!

“He is an absolute gentleman and one of the finest songwriters of our time. I have no doubt his music will remain timeless.”

What about touring with Rudimental?

“That was my first touring experience. It was an eye opener on what life can really be like on the road and was something I will always remember.”

Could you tell us about your songwriting process?

“I tend to let the chords tell me what the song is going to be about. I write in different ways, my single “Golden” was an a cappella I had already written. I sang it to my genius producer Robert Rosiji and he created the production around it. “Wishing” was born after a few chords were played then the melody and lyrics came to me, about this guy I was crushing on. Originally “Wishing” was a ballad and the chorus was different. I took that version to Robert because I felt it needed more. He heard it and together we made it what it is now.”

Do you have a favourite lyric from the songs you’ve written?

“I love the lyrics from my song “Golden”. I like the idea of describing someone and how they made me feel as “Golden”. I have another song called “Same Place” it’s about a girl I once knew who fell for someone that lived on the other side of the World. I decided to write about it and my fav part from that is ‘’So meet me there, under the London night sky, I’ll wear that dress, I’ll wear the smile you gave me, we won’t digress, nothing could change this baby, no nothing less, I’ll be there waiting.’’

You must be so busy and hard-working, namely, you write songs, direct and co-edit your own music videos. What is your favourite part? 

“I actually enjoy every part, even the admin parts! I think if you’re an artist, the creative process from conception of the song to releasing the music is really great and because it’s my art I have to sign off on it, making sure it’s all in alignment with my vision for each song.”

Who are your musical influences?

“Any song that has great lyrics carried by a melody I can sing to is what it’s all about for me. Most UK artists are by far my fav, though, always so diverse, distinctive and raw.”

You have several upcoming shows in London. What is the best thing about performing live?

“I LOVE to connect with people and one of the ways I manage not to freak out before going on stage is by telling myself ‘I love people and I love singing, this is my perfect night!’ Honestly, it works a treat for nerves!”

What can we expect from IMAN?

“This year I will be on a 15 date UK tour. It starts Feb 22nd in Bristol and I have more dates listed on my website. This tour will run throughout the year. My single “Wishing” is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and you can download it via Itunes and Google Play.”

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Do you have any message to our readers?

“Yes, thank you for having me too! I would love for your readers to join me on my journey and get a FREE DOWNLOAD to a song that’s never been released before. All that’s needed is to check my website and click on FREE DOWNLOAD

Did you like this interview? Make sure to tweet us at @CelebMix and tell us what you think about IMAN’s music!

Written by Alexandra Nagy

I'm Alexandra from Hungary, now living in the UK, and writing is not just my hobby - it's my passion. I'm a writer/journalist addicted to music, travelling, football, movies & books, proudly supporting Derby County Football Club.
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