Words by Lexis: Montreal-based DJ and the founder MusicIsMySanctuary.com and 24 Hours of Vinyl.
Like most discerning Soul music heads out there, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Fatima’s second album when the first singles were shared a few months ago. I just didn’t expect to be treated to such a memorable advance listening party a few weeks prior to its street date.
I was due to host a talk at Dimensions Festival in Croatia on September 1st with the legendary Steve Spacek and the outdoor tent was full of hungry music heads anticipating the interview. After running a bit late, two unexpected changes came up at the last minute. As the talk was about to start, the organizers whispered in my ear that instead of “just talking” to Steve Spacek, it was going to be an Eglo takeover also featuring label-boss Alex Nut, rising producer Shy One, and miss Fatima herself! Curveball #2: five minutes into the event, a thunderstorm with huge lightning strikes started coming down which forced about a hundred music lovers to huddle under the tent away from the rain. After touching on crucial subjects like artist empowerment and creative independence in an era of corporate-sponsored underground culture, the gathering slowly became an unofficial advance listening party for Fatima’s second full-length record “And Yet It’s All Love”. In far from optimal conditions, the improvised set-up actually fit with the overall message of the record: you gotta roll with the punches.
The new album from the talented Sweden-born / UK-based songstress is an extremely personal one that chronicles her journey for the last couple years through the highs and lows of the acclaim of the debut album on Eglo (“Yellow Memories”, 2014), getting an EP signed to Blue Note in 2016, and also tougher times in her personal life. As the singer-songwriter mentions in a recent interview “I write from experience most of the time, so I have to go through life to have something to write about, you know?”
The second take away for me is: where the first album felt more like a pure London Soul record inspired by her younger days of hanging out at the legendary Plastic People club, this second album feels like a (Neo) Neo-Soul record at the crossroads of American and European influences. This probably has to do with the choice of collaborators.
One of the absolutely underrated qualities of a singer or rapper is having an ear on who to collaborate with on production or guest features. Fatima, on top of all her flawless voice, songwriting and performing is just a pure music head with shrewd taste on who to entrust with production. For her sophomore album, she called on a few familiar names and a lot of first-time collaborations as well: MNDSGN, J.D Reid, Purist, Kirkis, Taz Arnold, Swarvy and regular collaborator, Natureboy Flako.
Credit Eglo and Fatima for always have a razor sharp idea of the music and artistic direction. As she sings on the Roc Marciano featuring ‘I’ll Take It All’, “You can say what you want about me but I’m won’t compromise my vision for anything… the day I get my chance I’ll take it all”.
“And Yet It’s All Love” is one of the best soulful records you’ll hear this year no doubt. It’s an ode to self-worth, romantic life cycles when one is in a relationship with a partner that has the “attention span of a cookie”, but most of all resiliency.