Halima has a refreshing approach to music, intimacy and unconditional love

Halima Artist Photo by Bellamy Brewster

Photo by Bellamy Brewster

Halima’s sincerity shines through her music with a subtle but unmistakable power, in soulful vocals that take their time, stretch out and feel comfortable throughout her songs. Halima uses space and solitude in her recordings, as she did growing up as an introverted only child, born in New Jersey and raised by a mother between Lagos and London. With a guitar she bought with pocket money, 9-year-old Halima began writing songs for hours every night. She later returned to the United States and has since lived in Brooklyn with curiosity and compassion, expanding her work in fashion, music, design and community. Today, Halimah released the new single “Talk” from her upcoming album along with a stunning visual.

The visual for “Talk” — directed, shot and edited by Bellamy Brewster — was created as intuitively as the song itself, with styling and creative direction by Zainab Babikir. Halima recalls that the shoot was a product of collaborative and purposeful minimalism. “We knew it was going to be a black and white song, because it’s not necessarily a flashy song, but it’s energetic, and the contrast of black and white shows that juxtaposition. We decided that my skin would be the element we focused on to represent vulnerability and bareness,” she said. Halima’s fist and sharp black acrylic nails tap a drum in the video, symbolizing the natural urgency of the moments of clarity and choice that Halima explains take place in the lyrics: “Everything was said in that one movement.”

“Talk” is a lyrical anecdote about how love disarms the ego and encourages growth. Halima shared with grace and humor the inner dialogue behind her writing the song. “You know those arguments that start and stop and pause and start again and go round and round until you forget what you’re arguing about?” Halima said with a laugh, explaining the lyrics of the single. She recalled negotiating with herself after an argument with her partner, deciding that her top priority was loving them, and changed her perspective. “I sat and thought what the hell was thatshe said. “I was so fixated on proving myself. When I stepped away from that for a second, I realized how much of it was my ego. So I immediately started writing this song.”

Halima used phrases like “come to” and “bend to listen” as she revealed her thinking when she wrote “Talk,” which is about both internal communication and external communication, and the human ability to reframe disagreement from a point of view. clarity and love. (“When I crossed that line / And I realized I’d lost my mind”). “The ‘conversation’ is concise, minimal, with few words, so the visuals have to reflect that,” Halima explained. “It doesn’t need additional distractions from the simplicity of the message. It’s bare for a reason, it’s bare, and it’s an opening for new conversations that I want to have in this project.”

“It’s bare for a reason, it’s exposed, and it opens up more conversations that I want to have in this project.”

The instrumental underpinnings of “Talk” are intentionally sparse, yet edgy and passionate, with a foundation that belongs to a percussive djembe and Halima’s signature vocals. “After I wrote ‘Talk’, I sent it to my friend, Mikey Freedom Hart, an incredible producer who invited Oludare, who added djembe embellishments and so much soul to the track,” said Halimah. “For me, drums are a heartbeat, an internal rhythm, it seems extremely intimate. I also wanted to make sure the vocals were very present, so that it felt urgent, like you were leaning in to listen.”

Halima’s voice is an instrument she likes to experiment with. “With my voice, I like to do things that are wrong or right. I like to sing and harmonize in my low register to take up the space in the low frequencies that would normally be filled by the bass or kick.” Halima has made a habit of following her instincts in creating her art and following her heart’s impulses towards movement and voice. “As a child, my biggest concern was my voice because it didn’t sound like most people who looked like me physically,” Halima said. “So it took me a while to get used to my own vocal identity. Now I want to emphasize that element of my music because it’s my voice, you know, I’m telling a story with my voice and I don’t need to be traditional in my delivery, and that’s something I realized recently.” Halima said with a smile, “Genres are created by the music industry.”

Free from creative constraints, Halima exists in her relationship with music the way she learns to exist in a love relationship—with introspection, humility, and no facades. Her new album is due out later this year, and she’s leaving plenty of room for growth and transparency in her music. “I learned the importance of being honest about where I’m at,” she said. “My art is a reflection of where I am in my life.”

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