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Words Liam Cattermole (Liam_Cattermole)

Photos not captioned by Rio Blake

Pausing to take stock of her favourite things in the universe, here, Safiyyah talks Nottinghill Carnival, her love of Cleo Sol and the best places to grab a bite to eat on Portobello Road.

Photography: @bramwaybramway

There’s something in west London’s waters that’s producing a wealth of the capital’s most compelling voices. Born and raised in Ladbooke Grove, singer-songwriter Safiyyah is part of the motley crew of musicians popping up in the area. Reaching for the transcendental qualities of her voice, and fusing them with kaleidoscopic instrumentals, the hotly-tipped artist bridges the gaps between R&B, neo soul and jazz. Fusing these genres has helped her leave an indelible mark on a scene that includes luminaries Finn Foxell and Nikhil Beats, who she’s collaborated with previously.

Of Portuguese and Moroccan descent, you can hear transatlantic influences all over her latest EP, Motions. Safiyyah is at her most candid, producing butter smooth harmonies over shuffling latin rhythms, boom bap minimalism and crystal clear melodies. On the project highlight ‘No Pressure’, she combines with New Jersey rapper Doov for loquacious rhyme schemes and comparably velvety hooks. It’s been three years since the vocalist’s last EP, Third Eye, but it would seem Motions has been worth the wait, and will undoubtedly propel her closer towards stardom.

Pausing to take stock of her favourite things in the universe, here, Safiyyah talks Nottinghill Carnival, her love of Cleo Sol and the best places to grab a bite to eat on Portobello Road.

Your new EP, Motions, has been out for a month or so now. What’s your favourite track on there, at this moment in time?

At this moment, I’d say 'No pressure', featuring Doov. It's just a whole different vibe.

One of our favourite tracks is ‘Lisbon’. Being part Portuguese, what’s your favourite thing about Lisbon?

My favourite thing about Lisbon is my family, the atmosphere of the people there and just the beauty of the town as a whole.

Motions is about the different stages felt during a breakup. What’s your favourite post-break-up anthem?

That’s tough. One that I go back to a lot is Jhene Aiko, 'Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle).' The lyrics just hit different.

Doov features on the amazing ‘No Pressure’. What’s your favourite production of his that you aren’t personally a part of?

Definitely 'Still' by Doov. Production-wise, it’s really sweet and vibey.

Photography @bramwaybramway

Being born in Ladbroke Grove, we can only presume that you’ve been to carnival a fair few times. What’s your favourite thing about the street party?

I don’t even really see it as a street party. I mean, yes people come there for a party but I’ve been born and raised and the history of Carnival is definitely my favourite thing about it, and everything it represents culturally.

Where’s your favourite place to eat out in London? And/or your favourite place to go for a drink?

I’m loving La Mia Mamma in Portobello at the moment. It’s an Italian restaurant. In terms of a drink, I would probably say the Electric diner.

What’s your favourite venue that you’ve performed at and why?

So far, that would be Hootananny Brixton but I also loved Cloud X Festival.

What’s your favourite gig you’ve ever been to?

Probably Half Moon Run at the Roundhouse.

What’s your all-time favourite album? Or, which albums have you found most inspiring during your music career?

Definitely Cleo Sol's Rose in the Dark. I love everything she does. Hive Mind by The Internet too, there are so many others as well.

Who’s your favourite artist at the moment that we may have never heard of? Can you recommend a song that all our followers should listen to?

A song at the moment would be 'If You Had a Soul' by Movie Monroe. But my favourite artists that you may have never heard of would be hard to say without them being somewhat known, but probably Half Moon Run.

Listen to Motions below:


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