Veröffentlicht am 7.10.2014 | von Naomi Clair0
NAOMI PILGRIM – Interview
Bei Künstlern aus Schweden oder anderen skandinavischen Ländern muss man als geneigter Musikfan sofort genauer hinhören. Zu gut waren doch die Exportschlager aus der Vergangenheit. Ein neues Licht an dem kalten Himmel Schwedens ist ‚Naomi Pilgrim‘. Diese vermischt ihre schwedische und barbadischen Wurzel zu feinem Neo-Soul. Kein Wunder also, dass sie am kommenden Donnerstag bei der Auftaktveranstaltung von der nordischen Partyreihe JAJAJA live zu sehen ist. Wir haben mit der Künstlerin ein Interview geführt, über ihre Musik, ihre Inspiration und ihre bisherige Karriere.
Name: Naomi Pilgrim
Band members: when playing live (Freja – back up vocals, Nathalie – back up vocals, Janne – bas, Calle . synth/sampler & guitar, Anders – drums)
Founding year: Debute singel Nov 2013
Current album: The album will come next year
Being a child of two vastly different cultures in this day and age, especially in the music industry, is a somewhat fascinating thing. What is your take on the influence of culture in music?
I praise it. I think it’s a very important thing cause we need a wider picture to grow. I can’t even imagine what The Beatles would have sounded like if they hadn’t studied Rhythm & Blues for example. Sades „Pearls“ wouldn’t be about a strong woman living in Somalia and Swede’s wouldn’t drink coffee. We need influences from different cultures in everything we do cause we would be bored otherwise. Mixing culture equals progress and it makes this world a more interesting place to live in.
Speaking about culture influencing music, what is the “Swedish” influence, and way of life? And how does it manifest itself in the bands coming out from Sweden?
If you talk about it in general many Swedes got two sides; a more closed way of being and that’s during the winter time. In the summer Swedes bloom and becomes more open and friendly. We are always lucid people and we freak out if the train is running 3 minutes late. We’re also very conscious and we follow trends. Since we stay inside 6 months of the year we have time to create and we have time to do it good. You can see that just by looking how many talented producers, writers and artists coming out from Sweden. It’s not a particular genre, we’re doing them all and we’re doing it great. Look at Beatrice Eli, Icona Pop, Patrik Berger, Kent, Max Martin, Noonie Bao, In Flames just to name few.
What were your original ambitions? And has your venture into music been some sort of a surprise?
I was waiting for so long to hear what my music sounded like and my main ambition was to figure it out. I’ve sang in many studios before I met with Fredrik Okazaki but finally someone got me and there it was. Yes, but I’ve worked hard for my surprises. Even tho I loved and believed in what we had created for example, I wasn’t expecting the response we got. It still stuns me, that’s how beautiful it is. Off course there been negative surprises too, I was feeling on top of the world when I asked Frank Ocean to do a duet with me so when he turned me down, it kind of slapped me in the face.
Another artiste from Sweden that immediately comes to mind with similar cross-cultural influences is Seinabo Sey. She mentioned that being a cultural ‘outsider’ was a creative blessing and a social curse. What do you think about that?
I think she is on point. We have to many stories to tell about this.
You’ve done backup vocals for Lykke Li and Agnes Carlsson, DJed and now you’ve released your first EP – how did you find the gradual process, and has it changed any perception(s) you might have about the music industry?
I love to learn new things and I’ve always been driven by lust for adventure and my passion for music. I didn’t have a great master plan but everything I’ve done led me here off course. I have seen my friends working in the business for quite some time, so when I actually took the step becoming a solo artist I had a good idea of what this was about.
You’ve mentioned that you have had some setbacks while you were still in music school. How did you manage to overcome it, and has that been an integral part of your music career?
Yea, I had a hard time understanding the good in grading my passion by the book. What happened was that I didn’t dare to sing solo in front of people- just the thought scared me and I couldn’t raise above that feeling. But I knew I had to face my fears eventually cause I love singing and I didn’t want to compromise that so I practiced and challenged myself by singing bv’s and getting up on that stage so many times it finally felt like home.
What and when was the ‘a-ha!’ moment for you to go solo?
I decided I should stop saying no to things my heart wanted, so when I met with Fredrik Okazaki and we vibed the shit out of each other- and the outcome sounded like me, I realized nothing was standing in my way except my own ghosts.
What are your biggest strengths (and weaknesses) in music, and have they been a problem for you in your musical endeavors?
I’m very ambitions and I want things to be perfect. I give a 100% in whatever I do. That makes it hard sometimes, especially when working under pressure towards a deadline. I can be thrilled and more then satisfied one day and the next day I hear a little something that just needs to be changed; or else the entire song is ruined along with my life. I’m super black and white in that sense. My attention span is low, I don’t like sitting still and I have to have my feelings involved in everything I do and I would say that’s an asset for me (except the attention span thing) but since I don’t have an on/off button to push, it might be harder for the people around me.
How did the inspiration for your debut EP come about? What is it based on?
I was high from creating and I wanted to do something that really spoke to me. I listened a lot to Massive Attack, Solange and Miguel at the time.
With the influx of many electro R&B songstresses like FKA Twigs and SZA in this moment, what do you want your audiences to remember you by, and set you apart?
My goal with music is to create moments and even tho I’m very flattered by being mentioned in the same sentence as these great artists; we are creating out of our own space and time.I could never tell FKA Twigs story as good as she does, instead I’m trying to do music I like and I can only hope that others will like it too. This phenomenon is so interesting tho, I never hear people say there’s many men playing rock at the moment, you know what I mean?
Any hints of upcoming plans?
I have a new single coming out very soon and I’m working on some real suggestive songs that I’m planning to unveil in the form of an EP in 2015.
What are you doing when you’re not making music?
What did you learn in 2014?
Anything is possible. Peace in Congo and equality for example. We just need to work on it.
Your Top 3 records (songs) of 2014? Why?
– Future Island Seasons (waiting on you)- I choose this song cause it always makes me feel good. The first time I heard it was live on The Letterman Show and I had to watch the clip over and over again cause the performance was so brilliant.
– Beatrice Eli „Moments Of Clarity“- This song is blowing my mind away every time I put it on. There is something very nostalgic about it but at the same time it’s very fresh and progressive.
– Vanessa Falk „Hurt“- Vanessa, who is a childhood friend of mine, wrote this song in memory of her younger brother, after his sudden death last year. It’s heartbreaking.
Which song would fit to your actual situation?
Which song makes you dance independent of your situation?
How would your “Bedroomdisco” look like?
It would be minimalistic with kelims, cushions and candles on the floor and tiny disco balls would hang all over the ceiling in different heights. Champagne would be served 30s style and only slow jams would be aloud.