Calm Amid The Chaos: RIMON Interviewed

“I really want to see if I can go deeper into my personal experiences…”

To experience RIMON’s music – the dioramas of love, hardship and self-acceptance, often feels like a beautiful mirage. A creative sanctuary, a battle against anxiety and a soothing catharsis which bleeds into her entrancing interlacing of experimental R&B, neo-soul and dancehall. 

RIMON sits across from me on her tour bus, nestling herself deep into the comfort of her hoodie. It’s an early Saturday evening and she’s just finished soundcheck ahead of her London show where she’ll be opening for R&B crooner GIVEON on their second tour together. Like a heady mix of lavender essence, RIMON’s presence soothes even the most frenzied minds. Deliberate in her words, she weighs out each syllable uttered with such care that the pace of the conversation flows effortlessly, feeling neither rushed nor sluggish. 

About 50 yards from the tour bus is a winding queue of excited fans – a contrasting atmosphere to the tranquillity inside her temporary home for the next month. This latest tour has been a learning experience she tells me: “I feel like I have grown into enjoying the performance side of things more. And that’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past because I tend to be more in my head and anxious”. As we speak, pieces of her personal history and philosophical disposition fall into focus. Born in Ethiopia to Ethiopian-Eritrean parents, raised in Amsterdam, and now working on her debut album from her London studio (which she is due to finish in the US), the 26-year-old has always known how to adapt to her surroundings. 

Before moving to London, RIMON’s childhood occurred in an ever-shifting environment. Having fled Eritrea with her mother at a young age, the two were left to navigate several Dutch refugee camps before settling in a quiet village on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Her intrepid tendencies expand beyond the stories of her past however, much of RIMON’s soulful sounds embrace genres with ease, which becomes infused with this inherent ability to redefine the meaning of home, seeking out solace amidst the chaos. Her 2022 single ‘Build Me A House’, acts like a documentation of the strength found in a period of such upheaval. The record is equal parts smooth and sinewy, with a bluesy synth ambience throughout. She finds “comfort in the discomfort” as her lyrics suggest, a reminder that change creates space for self-discovery, hope and inspiration. 

“I used to live in a temporary housing situation on a boat when I first arrived in Holland. And I remember us being in this room, me, my mom and a lady with her daughter that also fled their country,” she recalls. Here, RIMON created some of her earliest memories of music she tells me, “there was this tiny TV screen in the corner and I saw a song from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, ‘Lady Marmalade’ [ft. Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya, P!nk]. I remember watching and thinking oh my god, they are so beautiful and badass… As I got older I would burn CDs or my uncle would burn CDs for me. I still have them all. The music was everything from reggaeton, or Chamillionaire to 50 Cent,” she adds with a laugh. 

Instead of bottling up her thoughts and emotions, RIMON refocuses them in her art. Her latest single, ‘I Choose U’, featuring RINI, became the first song she made remotely. “When my producer (Samuel Kareem) sent me the beat, it gave me a warm feeling and I knew it had to be a love song. I wanted to challenge myself to explore what I think true love really is,” she explains. “That feeling where, if you really love someone, you want to spend the rest of your life with them, but also the life after, and again, the life after that.” Here she mixes her imagination with the wistful instrumentation as it bubbles to the surface and the spotlight on her heartfelt delivery intensifies. The music video, directed by long-time collaborator Yavez Anthonio (who started his film career directing videos for RIMON), expresses the sugary sweetness of this concept perfectly – placing couples from different walks of life and capturing them in blissful moments on the streets of NYC. 

“There’s a hint of a lesson in almost all of my projects, they often end on a conclusion, like a storyline,” she muses as we delve into the themes behind her catalogue. Across her last EP from 2021, ‘Digital Tears’, crunchy synths, ethereal beats and emotive lyricism mesh into a patchwork of rich textures. Over it all, her voice floats like a loose silk thread moving through the air. She describes the album as a quest to purge herself of digital dependency, a personal account of how she is navigating an era dominated by social media and technology. “At the end of the EP, there’s a song that concludes with the idea that we have to be in touch with nature more, and we’ve been far too distracted by constantly seeing life through our phones,” true to her style of moralistic endings. 

“I really want to see if I can go deeper into my personal experiences, as someone that is in her mid 20s, I’m dealing with a lot of things and I want to dive deeper into that conceptually,” she briefly explains as we encroach the subject of her forthcoming album. As she matures, RIMON is starting to feel both feet on the ground, survival mode is no longer a necessary default and she is learning to thrive as she explores and asserts herself within her artistry. As I watch her perform later that evening, she radiates a remarkably endearing tenderness, a rare kindness that fills the room, leaving the crowd transfixed and craving for more. 

Words: Sophia Hill
Photography: Zahra Reijis
Fashion: Kate Housh

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