The way Norwegian-Kenyan artist Lil Halima sings about love makes it sound as if she’s lived a thousand lives, but at 20 the singer says she is just as naive about the subject as we are. Discovered on Instagram, Lil Halima grew up surrounded by music in various genres — from Norwegian, indie folk, RnB and salsa — evident in her EP, released in October, ‘love songs for bad lovers’. The EP is fuelled by fanciful percussion pop, making it the perfect soundtrack for a first heartbreak.
However, music isn’t the only medium Lil Halima practices — she is also an avid painter (just check out her Instagram) which translates over to her songs resulting in seven colour-soaked tracks. After chatting to the artist, it’s apparent what she creates is a reflection of who she is and that is a self-aware, empowered savant.
Did you grow up wanting to be a musician?
Not really, I never really thought about being an artist. Just turned out so that if I was to be something else, it would be a lie and wrong.
What did you listen to when you were young? Were there a lot of music in your house?
We had a lot of music in our home! My grandmother used to sing more traditional Norwegian music, I started playing the violin and got interested in indie folk. My mom and my dad played a lot of RnB and hip-hop, and danced salsa to Spanish music.
I read that you can see music in colours, can you tell us more about that?
I don’t think its as extreme as it is in many cases, its just intuition. Like the other day, I saw a fountain with different colors and it looked exactly like the drums in train. Its just music being very visual. And I connect colors to everything, like a method of learning and remembering and sensing.
What is the one genre that had the biggest influence on you as an artist?
I can’t really choose one. The combination of them all more so.
How were you discovered on Instagram?
I was posting some videos of me singing, painting and just being me and somehow they found it, liked it, and wanted to work with me.
What is your writing process like?
It depends. I wrote train, on the train. Other times, I write in the studio. You might see me mumble things into my voice memo on my phone on the bus as well. Also, tip! Whenever you feel an emotion strongly, go to your notes on your phone! Write it down in the present moment. I’ve been doing that for a year, and not only does it remind me of how I was feeling (because we tend to very easily forget) but is also such an honest and true place I can go back to when I´m writing songs.
Since you’re an illustrator and painter when creating music do you already have a specific idea of what the visuals for it will look like?
Not visuals, but the music is very visual, in the form of colors. When it comes to other visuals, I see them very clearly after a song is finished.
What was your main goal when creating the EP ‘love songs for bad lovers’?
I didn’t really have a goal, it’s just a collection of songs that I made over a period of time, and I called it what it felt like: love songs for bad lovers. Kinda ironic as well, you wouldn’t call someone bad at something they never tried before. Yet, all my friends are “bad lovers.”
How did you begin to make ‘love songs for bad lovers’?
I never really make music with too much intention in the form of how it is going to be released, so it’s just a collection of songs I made throughout the year.
What is about romance that intrigues you?
All the emotions, learning about my own ego, getting to know myself and someone else better.
What are you looking forward to at this point in your career?
So many things! Already so much fun coming up, and I know the key (manifesting and believing in law of attraction), so I know there’s a whole lot to come as well!
What is one piece of advice you would give to teenagers going through their first major breakup right now?
Hang in there, you’re not going to die! Far from it. I always thought I could change people, you can never change someone else. Your ego is probably the only thing holding on to what’s left. Let it go, be free!