Iman is like a breathe of fresh air that America ain’t ready for.
I first became hip to Iman last year when I got my hands on an
advanced copy of Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers compilation.
Her track on the compilation (No. 8) “Who Was I Trying to Fool” quickly became one of my favorite tunes.
I did my homework, as I always do, and was able to connect with the
23 year-old her on Myspace.com which eventually led to us getting
together over the phone. In the interim, she sent me her demo album and
it was on.
All I have to say is that while I’m a little late in bringing the good news to ya, ya’ll ain’t ready.
Her sound is a cross between Jill Scott, Amy Winehouse, sprinkled with a bit of the pre hip-hop Nelly Furtado.
Her lyrics are well written and fresh. “Who Was I Trying to Fool,”
speaks of the sad realization that you can’t make someone change their
ways and sooner or later reality sets in. Her demo album shows off her
song writing and vocal flexibility, from the sexy acoustic tracks
“Owning Me” and “I Don’t Know” to the jazzy and sultry tunes “Tell Me”
and “If I Knew How to Tell You.”
While there are no immediate plans for Iman here in the States,
with any luck it’s only a matter of time before she becomes the next British
sensation taking over our airwaves.
Get ready and remember where you heard it first!
So who is Iman?
I’m part Sudanese on my father’s side and Yemini on my mother’s
side. I have one brother. I was never allowed to go to school for
I started trying to break into the business at sixteen.
Someone helped me get a demo together and with two songs I started
approaching other producers. Since my demo’s been completed I have been
approaching bigger producers.
My parent’s can’t believe how far I’ve come. I show them articles
and they’re in shock but I’m still an unsigned artist so I work part
It’s like climbing the mountain literally.
What to date has been your biggest accomplishment?
I won a national music award out of 2000 people in outstanding
achievement in song writing for an unsigned artist. Also getting down
to the last three out of thousands in a Diesel U -Music competition.
So how did you end up on a Gilles Peterson compilation?
Through Yam Who who has done official remixes for Jill Scott, John
Legend, Joss Stone, and Pharrell Williams. They played it for Gilles
and he said I’ll have it. And that’s how that happened.
Who have you worked with?
I’ve written for Incognito, Galliano, Shep Soloman and written for
an Italian artist named Kelly—she’s well known in France and Italy.
I’ve opened for Omar, with my own band and played at London Jazz
Festival’s Ladies Unplugged alongside Shola Ama and Keisha White.
So you sing and write your own songs?
Yes. My songs are like my babies. Hand in hand. Don’t see myself singing other people’s songs
I’d have to really be feeling it or it would just be like karaoke for me.
Nas, Prince, Just Jack, Kate Nash, Wiley and strong independent females like Jill Scott, Indie.Arie, and Lauryn Hill.
Whose hot in the UK right now?
Corrine Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash,Lily Allen, and The Arctic Monkeys. Really great music is coming through right now.
Who do you want to work most with?
Salaam Remi would be a dream come true.
What’s next for Iman?
I am going to continue believing in myself. I believe my time will come. I’ve been doing this for seven years now.
On the Web
Iman’s Official Myspace Website
Cornell West, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, Rhymefest and Jill Scott with Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations out Aug. 21st
Ledisi with Lost in Found out August 28th
Little Brother with Getback out September 25th
Jill Scott with The Real Thing out September 25th
Zap Mama + Erykah Badu, "Bandy Bandy," Ancestry In Progress (2006)
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL – L.A. EDITION
Aug. 14 – Van Hunt @ The Temple Bar – Cancelled
Aug. 17 – Res + Nya Jade @ The Mint
Aug. 18 – The Rebirth @ The Temple Bar
Aug. 19 – Esthero + One Trick Pony @ The Roxy
Aug. 23 – Van Hunt @ The Temple Bar
Aug. 26 – Macy Gray + Zap Mama + Brazilian Girls @ The Hollywood Bowl
Aug. 26 – The Brand New Heavies @ The House of Blues
Sep. 6 – Soulive @ The House of Blues
Sep. 15 – The Roots @ The House of Blues
Aug. 18 – City of Compton Summer Jam featuring Angie Stone and more
Aug. 18-19 – Sunset Junction featuring Deniece Williams, Medusa, The Emotions, Mille Jackson, The O’Jays, and more
Aug. 19 – 3rd Annual Serafemme Queer Women of Color Music Festival featuring Stacyann Chin (HBOs Def Poetry Jam, Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe) along with Hanifah Walidah (Brooklyn Funk Essentials), Miss Money, Skim, Gia, Jade Ross, Neb Luv, B.I.G, Aries, Miki Vale, Kandi Cole, DJ Nova Jade, Melange Lavonne, Red Summer, Shana and more.