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Halima Has a Refreshing Approach to Music, Intimacy, and Unconditional Love


Halima Artist Photo by Bellamy Brewster

Photo by Bellamy Brewster

Halima’s honesty comes through in her music with subtle but unmistakable force, in soulful vocals that take their time, sprawling out and making themselves comfortable on her songs. Halima uses space and solitude on her records like she did growing up as an introverted only-child, born in New Jersey and raised by her mother between Lagos and London. With the guitar she’d picked up with her pocket money, 9-year-old Halima began writing songs for hours on end each night. Later, she moved back to the United States, and she’s been living in Brooklyn curiously and compassionately expanding her work in fashion, music, design, and community since. Today, Halima released a new single “Talk” from her upcoming album, along with a striking visualizer.

The “Talk” visualizer—directed, shot, and edited by Bellamy Brewster—came together as intuitively as the song itself, with styling and creative direction by Zainab Babikir. Halima remembers the shoot being a product of collaborative and focused minimalism. “We knew it would be black and white because it’s not a vibrant song, necessarily, but it’s energetic, and the contrast of black and white shows that juxtaposition. We decided my skin was going to be an element we focused on, to represent vulnerability and nakedness,” she said. Halima’s fist and sharp black acrylic nails bang on the drum in the video, symbolizing the natural urgency of moments of lucidity and choice, which Halima explained have a place in the lyrics: “Everything was said in that one motion.”

“Talk” is a lyrical anecdote of the ways love disarms the ego and commands growth. Halima shared the internal dialogue behind her writing the song with grace and humor. “You know the arguments that start and stop, pause and restart, and go around in circles until you forget what you’re arguing about?” Halima said with a laugh, explaining the single’s lyrics. She remembered negotiating with herself after an argument with her partner, deciding her greatest priority was loving them, and shifting her perspective. “I was sitting down thinking, what the hell was that?” she said. “I was so fixated on proving my point. Having a second of distance from it, I realized how much of it was my ego. So, I started writing this song immediately.” 

Halima used phrases like “coming to” and “leaning in to listen” as she unpacked the mindset she was in writing “Talk,” which is as much about internal communication as external, and one’s ability to reframe a disagreement from a place of perspective, lucidity and love. (“When I crossed that line / And I realized I lost my mind”). “‘Talk’ is concise, minimal, with very few words, so the visuals needed to mirror that,” Halima explained. “It doesn’t need any additional distractions from the simplicity of the message. It is bare for a reason, it’s naked, and it is the opening to more conversations I want to have in this project.”

“It is bare for a reason, it’s naked, and it is the opening to more conversations I want to have in this project.”

The instrumental underlying “Talk” is deliberately sparse but sharp and passionate, with a foundation belonging to djembe drums and Halima’s distinctive vocals. “After I wrote ‘Talk’, I sent it to my friend, Mikey Freedom Hart, an incredible producer, who invited Oludaré, who added djembe embellishments and so much heart to the track,” Halima said. “To me, drums are the heartbeat, the internal rhythm, it feels super intimate. I also wanted to make sure the vocal was very present so it feels urgent, like you’re leaning in to listen.” 

Halima’s voice is an instrument she said she loves to experiment with. “With my voice, I like to do things that aren’t right or correct. I like to sing and harmonize in my low register to take up space in the low end that typically the bass or the kick would fill up.” Halima has made a habit of following her instincts in creating her art and following her heart’s impulses for movement and voice. “Growing up, my voice was what I was most insecure about because it didn’t sound like most other people who looked like me physically,” Halima said. “So, I really took time getting comfortable with my own vocal identity. Now I want to emphasize that element of my music, because it is my voice, you know, I’m telling the story with my voice and I don’t have to be conventional in my delivery, and that is something I’ve realized recently.” Halima said with a smile, “Genres are created by the music industry.”

Free of creative restrictions, Halima is existing in her relationship with music the way she is learning to exist in loving relationships—with introspection, humility, and no facades. Her new album is set to arrive later this year, and she is leaving expansive space for growth and transparency in her music. “I’ve learned the importance of being honest about where I’m at,” she said. “My art is a stamp of where I’m at in my life.” 

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