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Halima redefines Nigerian artistry in music

todayMay 6, 2024

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Halima redefines Nigerian artistry in music
Halima, photo by Bellamy Brewster

HYFIN Verified artist Halima, with roots from Lagos to London to Brooklyn, is shaping what it means to be a Nigerian artist in the modern music landscape. Her sound draws from diverse influences, including early explorations of folk and piano and later studies of jazz and R&B. 

Halima’s music is not just a showcase of her versatility. It is a profound exploration of self-discovery, community, and the intricate web of life’s connections. Her songs are an invitation to embark on a journey of personal growth while also underscoring the significance of the relationships and communities we forge.

In a recent interview, Halima delved into her musical journey, her challenges as a young black woman in London, and the inspiration behind her upcoming EP, “EXU.” The project, named after the Yoruba deity of change and unpredictability, reflects Halima’s reckoning with identity and her place in her lineage.

From her bio, HALIMA explains that “EXU’s five tracks offer a glimpse into the universe and point of view of an artist discovering their intrinsic powers and embracing change, simultaneously at peace and in constant evolution.” This sentiment is echoed throughout the interview as she discusses her creative process and the importance of staying true to oneself in an industry that often prioritizes commerciality over artistry.

When asked about the production on “EXU,” Halima credits her long-time collaborator Ben Shirken (now known as Ex Wish) for helping bring her vision to life. “Ben and I, who is the co-producer on this project, started writing together when we were 18, so this is almost 10 years ago,” she reveals. The duo’s shared sonic directive of “analog sounds reimagined in a modern context” is evident in the EP’s lead singles, “Awaken” and “Ways,” which masterfully blend elements of soul, R&B, and electronic music.

Halima’s passion for storytelling and her commitment to using her platform to share important stories shines through when discussing the role of artists like the man behind AfroCharts, who champion music from various African countries. “I think because of what you just said there, because he’s telling a fundamental story, and it’s not for that story to be accessible, and it makes itself dress so that an American market can understand it. That’s not the purpose of the story,” she explains.

The interview also touches on Halima’s musical influences, with the artist naming David Bowie, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, and Sampha as the four figures who would occupy her personal Mount Rushmore. When pressed to choose a final influential artist, Halima admits, “I think I’m just gonna say Beyoncé because, do you know what also, I remember as a kid, people would be like, who’s your favorite artist? And the first person you’re just gonna say is Beyoncé.”

With “EXU” set to release in the coming months, Halima stands poised to leave an indelible mark on the global music landscape, one that celebrates the power of change, self-discovery, and the unifying force of art.


Written by: Element Everest-Blanks

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