Delivering an emotional and powerful new single with 'Naive', Iman is an artist we should all be keeping our eyes on and ears pinned back for. Fusing together a handful of genres rather than conforming to stereotypes that a single one may ellicit, this young star looks set for an incredible bright future, having already written with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Rudimental.

'I'll always go with my gut feeling on if it feels right.'

'I'll always go with my gut feeling on if it feels right.'

We got the opportunity to chat to Iman all about her music, creativity and much more in a new and exclusive interview. Read on to find out what she had to say...

Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process behind your new single 'Naive'?

Initially, 'Naive' had totally different production behind it and even at that early demo stage, I felt it needed something else. So, I held back uploading it for a good while hoping I'd meet the right producer for it. I did, in Robert Rosiji and he got exactly what I was after. I wanted a Zero 7/Massive Attack vibe and Rob was able to tap into that and work with me in bringing it to life.

You also co-directed and co-edited the music video for the track - what was that experience like?

In the beginning, I found it tricky finding a team to help me bring it all together. I always find though, as soon as you meet one person they know another and so it goes.

My hair and makeup lady Bunny Allen is always my go-to girl, not only is she a talent but she is a great energy to have around. She also stepped up and took on the role of assisting on the day which was so cool of her.

I had the outfit made by a friend who is an incredible up and coming designer, Aleksandra Niestrzeba, and we shot in a little studio in Brighton. It took a day to shoot and there were only three of us there. So, it was quite chilled and rewarding just knowing that after weeks of planning it was finally coming together.

For the editing process I travelled to Brighton again. We only had a few hours to go through takes and piece it all together and it was challenging because the computer kept crashing! But somehow we did it.

What was it like working with producer Robert Rosiji and directors Wildstag Studio on the visuals?

Wildstag from the go were great to work with and we only met on the day of shooting. They took on board all my ideas with so many calls and emails and were keen to make sure the video represented the song the way I envisioned. At first we were going to shoot in a forest, we had a storyboard for it and a whole different look in mind. I however woke one day and my gut was telling me the whole forest thing wasn't going to work logistically and maybe even visually, it's a bit too distracting from the song, it just didn't feel right anymore. So, when I called to tell Dave we had to scrap it and do something much simpler, he was amazing about it and totally understood where I was coming from. So easy and cool to collaborate with.

Watching Rob work in the studio was inspiring. He truly is one of the most talented musicians I've come across and works so hard. He really got me and understood what I was after musically. I think that's the key to a great artist-producer relationship; they've got to tap into the artist and draw out what they need from you to then come up with a great record. He taught me loads about production and is pretty much the coolest guy I know. I could wax lyrical about him all day so yeah, he's basically stuck with me for life and he knows it!

How important is it for you to maintain a creative control when it comes to your work?

I'm open to ideas and trying new things but in the end I'll always go with my gut feeling on if it feels right. I'm not sure I'd do well at being told what songs to sing, etc. If I was cool to do that no offense, but I'd probably just spend time auditioning for something manufactured because most of the time, I know that in those types of set ups, it's usually the case that songwriters and visual branding etc., has already been decided and I'd just sing.

Where do you draw inspiration and influence from for your music?

From conversations, personal experiences to random words I'll read or hear on TV. One time I was half asleep and the TV was playing, on it was a couple arguing and at one point she said, 'Sometimes I wish you would!' and I remember suddenly just waking and being like, 'Hmm, interesting, that's going to be the title of my next song.' And yes, I now have a song called 'Sometimes I Wish You Would', and it's about something that was actually happening to me at the time and the title happened to fit perfectly.

If you could work with anybody on new material going forward, who would you choose and why?

Two producers spring to mind... Dave Okuma - I like that his work is a bit out of the box, it sounds fresh to me. The other would have to be Joel Pott who's from the band Athlete. He co-produced one of my favourite songs ever called 'Touch' by Shura. I reckon I could do something really cool with him.

What do you make of the modern-day music industry?

I think right now if you're a musician you can't afford to see yourself as just that. It's important to have an entrepreneurial head on your shoulders, especially if you're self-releasing your music. The internet is saturated with new acts so to stand out and be heard you've got to use your creativity to think in ways that can allow you to help build a fanbase that will sustain you. All the while, doing it in ways that is true to who you are and the music you make.

That's exactly how more and more musicians are handling their business through the use of social media today. Artists are taking control of how they release their work, creating their own teams around them independent of labels and making their own rules. A classic success story of this is Ed Sheeran, who built a strong fanbase and was selling merchandise and CDs at gigs way before a label finally invested in him.

There are numerous musicians out there that mainstream aren't necessarily aware of too, that are creating comfortable income streams through touring, for example. When an artist is able to consistently create great music, do so with a good business head and a deal is eventually offered, the artist is in a stronger and much wiser position to negotiate terms.

I also think that perhaps for a label the prospect of working with an artist that's already laid down their foundation and knows who they are, as well as being aware of the business side, it's likely to be refreshing and exciting for them too because a lot of the groundwork's already set.

Who are you currently listening to?

I've been listening to Sam Sparro's debut album which, after all this time still sounds fresh! I've also been listening to a lot of Lianne La Havas lately, she is one classy lady.

Do you have any definitive aims or goals for your career?

I want to grow more as an all round artist with my writing, vocals, performance... I only started playing the guitar properly a year ago so that's something I'm focused on. I really just want to make sure that whatever I put out is of a high standard and that it connects with people.

Should we expect to see you on the road soon?

Yep, I've a few London shows booked. I have a gig at The Jazz Café for April 12, and a few others that I'll be posting on Twitter (@ImanMusicUK), Facebook ( and on Instagram (@ImanMusicUK).

What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?

I'm working on the video for my next release and bringing all the bits that go with it together. I want to do some collaborations and get more gig dates around the UK too. So stay close to me, more music's coming!

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