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Video Exclusive: Sandflower’s ‘Wannabe’

Wednesday 13 September 2017
Words Alice Bell

Sandflower’s magnetism and artistic spontaneity never ceased to amaze me since the first time I’ve heard of her. We sat down and wax lyrical on what has led this Brooklyn artist to re-interpret the all-time 90’s classic ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls.

First and foremost: How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it before?

When people listen to my music I want them to know that they can be themselves. They can take their masks all the way off and enjoy what I’m performing. I can’t make generic music. I really can’t.
I feel like that’s a skin that I’ve shed and I think that more doors are opening now because I stopped forcing myself into this very small square of what I thought I was. Or what I was trying to conform myself to.

So, what shape are you now?

I’m not even a circle! I’m this crazy shape that hasn’t even been named yet! I have a very clear vision of what I want for my personal life, but also with my musical life. The everyday goddess is all about propping up feminine energy and it doesn’t necessarily need to be in a female body or whatever we think that is. You have to have a really strong sense of who you are and what you will or won’t do and what you want to say as an artist.

When did Spice Girls came into your life? And more importantly, which one were you?!

I was like: ‘I’m Scary Spice’. Before that I was more, ‘I’m in the Jackson 5, you know?’
I love the way that she was carrying herself. I got where she was coming from, she was just being unapologetic about whoever she was and still is.

You must have been at school at that point?

I grew up in Brownsville, but I went to private school in Brooklyn Heights when I was eight. I come from an educated artist family from the hood, and then all the sudden I found myself in this very affluent space as the “other”. I was working with this identity thing all the time. My teachers were amazing, but I definitely experienced some things that are hard to really talk about unless you know what’s like being the only person that looks like you in any community. Seeing Scary with her friends, smiling, laughing, and dressing in ways that were really ahead of her times. It made me feel a little less alone, you know? She was just living her life. All of them were just living their lives! All the girls featured in my video clip share the same feeling about Scary spice. All of them were the unicorn in their group of friends at some point. It was really cool that we got to do this together.

I can see that this cover is incredibly personal to you. I am also aware that the places that you filmed video for the song were also meticulously handpicked. Do you want to share the symbolism behind it?

We shot the video in SoHo, Manhattan. For me, SoHo is one of the fashion capitals of the planet. We started out at Iconic Magazine shop. Iconic represents the underground of fashion to me. It was really interesting for me being there this time around! Before, the fashion world was this unattainable thing, but I’m part of this culture now. When you look at the covers you see people that live in Bushwick, people from SoHo, people from Harlem. They are the ones that are pushing culture forward!We circle around to ‘La Esquina’, which is of my late nightspots. We finish the video at San Remo, which is a new art cafe curated by Nemo Lebrizzi. I have always felt welcome there because they love to include real artists.

Do you feel that people’s mentalities have changed over the past two decades?

We all have way more power than we think we do. The kid that I was in school, I thought that I was all by myself. We live in the time where we have the Internet and we can articulate how we feel, so we can unite people from all around the world to create a platform so that people can express themselves. Questions like: ‘I’m not black enough, I’m not white enough, or am I not this enough’. In the future, I hope that nobody has to think about those things. This is what my mum hoped for me. And what I hope for the younger generations! The times have lined up somehow where I feel that there is a lot more people on this tip than when I used to feel like I was all by myself. I love that!

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