SSoul - Hi Mariama (Frida Mariama Touray), thanks so much for taking time to chat with us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Mariama - I was born in the more northern part of Sweden, in Sandviken. But I was brought down south from the age of 10, to Landskrona. I'm 22 years of age but have the spirit of an 8-year-old and the energy level of a 60-year-old, haha! I always work and play with a sense of feeling sleep deprived. Creative minds work while others sleep.
How was it growing up there?
I had always been a very hyperactive kid, growing up in a small town. But when we moved down south and the tempo was a bit faster and rougher around the edges, I think I calmed down. Until I hit 18, of course. But I love Landskrona. I'm always gonna call that my home, even if most of my family is up north – and plus, for a creative kid that I was, I loved the music scene down there. More vibrant!
How long have you been singing?
I'm gonna be really cliché and say I believe I came out my mama singing. But I’m gonna have to take her word for that. Had terrible stage fright as a child and teenager, so most of my singing took place in the safety of my own room.
What were your musical influences growing up?
My first album I ever bought was a R&B compilation album when I was 8. And that was it. Aaliyah & Destinys Child was played frequently, and still does. I firmly believe that Beyoncé is a superhuman and out-of-this-world in all areas. Later on Old school Soul captured my heart and it was not until very recently I fell deeply in love with jazz. I have always loved various types of music, and I think if someone were to sneak-peak into my iTunes collection, they would think I had a split personality.
You're friends with the band S.T.I.C.S as well. Did you grow up with them?
I did not grow up with them, but they saw me singing at an event in my hometown in 2006 (I think?) and contacted me shortly after for a collaboration. They’re close friends of mine; they have guided me and have always had my back in whatever I do musically. One of the songs on the EP is also a co-write between me and these lovely people.
You're currently in London. What took you there, and are you enjoying it?
I came to London two years ago to study music at a tech music school, where I am currently studying to get my Bachelor degree in popular music performance. It didn't take me long to understand that this is the place I wanted to be and create. It is the most wonderful place for a musician to be: full of music, culture and people from all around the world. That expands your creative vision, whether you like it to or not!
And you're currently working on an EP/ Album?
Yes! My EP, 'Mamas Fiestis,' is in the works as we speak and I am enjoying the process of getting it done. It's a bit nerve-wracking to put it all out there as this is the first thing that I have put out there of my own, but I am so excited for people to hear it. I’m working and have been writing with the most amazing people and musicians.
You can expect to hear influences from various different genres. I don't like to label my music too much, because I think the best music is almost non-genre-based, but influences from Soul, Jazz, Folk, Afro and Blues can be heard. That’s thanks to the people I have been working with who have put all their own musical backgrounds into the process of writing and arranging together with me. Expect chilled-out grooves!
We can't wait!