Next Wave #1177: BIM

A soulful talent who is finessing her self-growth...

When we meet R&B and soul artist BIM, she is having a whirlwind of a week – having played a show as part of Chaka Khan’s Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in London, only days prior. Chaka Khan, being an idol of BIM’s, personally selecting her to play the show must have left her head in a spin but these seemingly abnormal, once-in- a lifetime, ultra special moments keep happening for BIM. In 2018, she was the co-ordinator of the gospel choir at the wedding of Harry and Meghan, no less, and has also been featured on tracks with Bastille – a band who she has been working with for years now – and High Contrast.

‘Superblue’ is BIM’s new single and, with it, she dismantles the romanticism around delusion. She brings to our attention a topic which is not covered in mainstream music in such a direct way, usually. The idea that sometimes delusion is the cause of heartbreak, when you realise you have been ignoring all those “red flags” and this applies whether in a romantic scenario or with others in your life. “That gap in between [delusion and reality]? Yeah, it’s a bit of a nightmare,” she says.

“I think some people call it delusion, some people call it faith…so in the right context, it actually really helps you and, I think, when it’s something to do with you progressing your life or you going after your dreams, then you do need a little bit of delusion, because that’s the bit that tells you that you are the exception to the rule.” BIM speaks about how a little bit of delusion can help you overcome fear when you are chasing your dreams even where you can clearly see “a hundred people have failed…”.

However, ‘Superblue’ is about trying to work things out when you feel like you are left with “nothing”. “The idea of having this really idealised vision for something and figuring this is going to be wonderful and brilliant and you’re just going to enjoy it and be able to just soak up all the experiences and then, as you go on, you realise that, actually, this couldn’t be what I thought it was going to be. I had some Pinterest version of this relationship and this is never going to [live up to that].” 

Such heartbreaking lyrics about feeling lost are in contrast with the otherwise really upbeat ‘Superblue’. “It has depth to it. I learnt from the best… Bastille. You have to put the sad stuff with a great beat,” she half jokes. BIM sang with Bastille when they played a special charity show at the Union Chapel in May 2017 and, since then has also featured on tracks ‘Joy’ and ‘Future Holds’ on their latest album, as well as performing with them at numerous ‘ReOrchestrated’ gigs, including a one-off show at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in January 2020. 

She tells us about working with the the ‘Pompeii’-hitmakers: “Union Chapel was the first show… They were like, ‘It’s going to be super easy, not many songs.’ I think that was on a Tuesday and then on a Thursday I found myself in rehearsal and they gave me 17 songs and said, ‘You need to learn all of these by Sunday…I’ve been singing on and off with them, ever since then.”

BIM’s debut EP, ‘Beauty In Chaos’ was released in 2022 and was a project very much focused on “self-growth” and “understanding your place in the world”. “This new era is really more about boundaries,” she says. It looks at “relationships with other people”. BIM shares that she has written songs where she celebrates the bonds she has with people in her life. She has written songs about “enjoying yourselves with your people.”

While BIM is happy to “sit” in the R&B and soul category, she doesn’t feel that this represents her fully. “I definitely am pulling from all the stuff I love and all the stuff I love includes rock, it includes funk, it includes jazz, it includes indie. I love a really wide range of things.” 

BIM has told us she has new music she will be releasing throughout the year, with hopes of an EP early next year. “There’s a lot of good stuff coming and I am hoping that people are going to enjoy it and come along for the ride,” she assures us. 

Speaking about performing as part of a festival curated by Chaka Khan, BIM says: “It was an honour to be chosen to do it. Chaka Khan is one of the icons and heroes, musically, for me.” She speaks about her love for Chaka Khan on so many levels. She adds: “If Chaka ever sees this interview, I am ready. I’ll pack a bag to come along with you, wherever you want me to go. I love her! It was such a highlight for me!”

Words: Narzra Ahmed

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