Indie + alternative music culture depends on dedicated artists who create diversity & drive innovation in all aspects of songwriting, production & performance. We constantly feature new & notable independent acts on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: MA R I AM
Mariam is a singer/songwriter and self taught guitarist hailing from South London. Described as ‘atmospheric soul’, her music is the perfect blend of soul, folk and pop with thought provoking lyrics. Mariam has always had a strong passion for words, writing poetry and creative pieces at a young age. She was quick to understand that she had a natural gift to combine rhythmic melodies with meaningful words, an ability she credits to her Nigerian heritage. She adds “Nigerians are natural story tellers, it is an art that is passed down and learned within the family and community, hearing stories has been a prominent fixture in my life just as strong as music. Music is such a powerful way to tell stories and relate to others, and I love how words come together to paint pictures”.
We recently talked with Mariam to get her take on alternative culture. Read on to find out more about your next favorite artist.
Comments From The Curating-Editor
Addictingly effervescent soulpop is what you get from South London’s own Mariam, a sound that is on full display in her latest Heart To Heart EP. A perfect introduction to her artistry is her debut lead single Be There For Me, a feel-good anthem that showcases Mariam’s alluring vocals. The foundation of steadily driving piano-drum combo, subtle frenetic guitar groove, and slight mod electropop effects add up to a layered “radio-worthy” hit, as one SoundCloud comment suggests. We have no doubt that Mariam is going places with this incredible lyricism and passionate atmospheric soulpop.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder and Southern Hummingbird by Tweet.
What are your fondest musical memories?
As listener it would be watching Lauryn hill perform, and as an artist, I would say singing with ‘The Kingdom Choir’ in Redding California in February, it was such an incredible experience.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
At the moment I would say lately old school soul music, I’m finding a lot of new music has hints of it, so its taking me back.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
My process varies, sometimes it’s like songs come straight from heaven, other days you have to sit for a long time with a melody or lyrics, it is such an interesting, exciting process, especially when you are on to something that sticks.
I write about life, and the various events and emotions in that, but I love to add something hopeful and encouraging to share with people.
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
I agree, my city is London and there is so much music in London–it’s great. It reflects the various cultures and backgrounds that are all over the city.
I think it has helped me to listen to styles that are new to me and always seek for ways to blend them all together, so that they can relate to the various kinds of people in London.
How would you describe your visual aesthetic, in terms of album artwork, music videos, and artistry? How does the music you create contribute to your visuals? Does this extend to your live show experience?
I think it is very natural, warm and simple. My music is atmospheric soul, so I try to keep the visuals and artwork connected to that, even in my live performances to create a vibe that is warm and inviting.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
Social media and online streaming are so central to music now, I think it’s great as it allows music to be found and heard with or without a big label behind you, it makes music accessible, which is necessary as there is so much music out there, so I think it has great place for rising musicians, there are pros and cons to everything but I think it encourages artist to get out there and make it happen.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
My dream collaboration would be with Stevie Wonder, but probably more to just sit and listen to him play and hear his thoughts on music.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Currently loving Solange’s new album and the song ‘Cranes in the Sky.’ It’s such a beautiful piece.
I would recommend checking out Lanre, Abimaro and Alice Watts (who are currently on tour), and Bianca Rose. There are so many, but that is definitely a great place to start.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
Just my EP Heart to Heart. I’m focusing on getting it out there and releasing some videos.
Buy Heart To Heart EP on iTunes