Last year proved to be a big one for rising soul artist Iyamah. After releasing her debut single “Cryptic Love” in February she supported fellow stars on the rise Mahalia and Masego, performed at festivals around the world and picked up a fast-expanding fan base in the process. The UK-born artist shows no signs of slowing down in 2019. Later this month will see the release of Iyamah’s debut EP before festival season strikes again. We catch up with the honey-voiced singer/songwriter to find out why it’s her time to shine.

What’s your earliest memory of falling in love with music?

I remember my mum would always play reggae first thing in the morning on the weekends. It was such a happy way to wake up, I’d always stay feeling positive throughout the whole day when it started like that.

Which musicians and songwriters inspired you the most to create your own music?

I was always very inspired by empowering females who were fierce and strong, such as Alicia Keys and Jill Scott, Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé. I think fitting in is difficult sometimes when you’re young, especially being the only mixed-race girl in my high school, I was insecure for having different hair and skin than my friends, but having idols like these gave me confidence to appreciate the things I couldn’t change about myself. I’ve now learnt to be proud and embrace who I am.

Last year was big for you - first tour, first headline show - how do you feel that you have evolved as a musician and performer?

I definitely know a lot more about who I am and what I want to put out there as an artist, and although I’m still adapting and changing every day, there’s still so much to do and learn. But the support I’ve received from my fans and followers this year has been so crazy, I haven’t even put out my first EP yet and there’s already people that know the words to my songs! It just goes to show that I’m doing things right, and that’s the best feeling ever knowing that people are relating to my music.

What message do you want your music to have, and what do you want people to feel when they hear it?

I always hope they feel empowered. I often turn to my queens when I’m feeling down or negative about myself, so I hope that people can feel a surge of confidence and strength like I do when I listen to my favourite artists. However, that’s what’s so great about music, it resonates differently with everyone.

Who is your style icon and how important is fashion to you as a performer?

I’ve always loved chunky silver jewellery because it represents Brighton, where I grew up, but also my mum has always worn jewellery like that too. There are a few people such as Erykah Badu and FKA Twigs who I think always look great, but it’s definitely important to have your own look, and it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you know it feels authentic to you. For example, I know I’ll never like diamonds, gold or pink - but I couldn’t explain why exactly!

What are you most excited about this year?

I can’t wait to finally get my first body of work, Truth EP.1, out on the 21st of March and be able to share some newer songs with everyone. I’m also really excited about touring again and getting some festivals in this summer!

It’s going to be a big year for us all.