So we all binge-watch our favourite series from time to time, but how about binge-listening? Imagine listening to the thirteen songs on Faces and never wanting to stop. Each song is like a little episode, and each song will soon have its own video coproduced by Irma. She’s an artist who has grown up in the digital age and deeply understands how technology can help culture. In this, the age of internet, sounds cannot exist without images, and vice-versa – their dialogue is a new language. Faces is a musical vision, a view of the world enlightened by sharp melodies, shaken by powerful, telluric rhythms and carried by the frank, intensely precise voice of Irma.
Just 25 years old, she conceived this, her second album, from A to Z, deciding to write it during an 18-month stay in New York, alone. As she explains, “With my first album Letter To The Lord, everything happened so quickly. After the tour – which was amazing, mind-blowing – I felt the need to be alone for a while. I didn’t want to rest on my laurels and go all soft. I hate feeling secure. I had to get away.” OK, but why New York? “Because it’s a city where people go when they’re looking for something, trying to find a dream.” Holed up in a tiny studio in the East Village, she started an astonishing writing process, bought a small camera, walked around the city a lot, filmed anything that inspired her: “The leaves, the trees, red lights, passers-by…” What interested her the most was people, anonymous individuals, chance encounters – talking to them, filming them, listening to their stories. Every evening she went back and looked at her films, transcribed what had been said, filling notebook after notebook… And then, finally, she would pick up her guitar and put the words to music. “I was already thinking about playing concerts. An album should be performed, you have to feel the physicality – you have to breathe life into the songs.”
Once the writing was done, Irma started handled the recording as both engineer and artisan, playing all the instruments, beating out the rhythms and getting deeply involved in the programming. “I like to do everything to the max,” she explains. The result is a visceral, demanding, buoyant body of work with incredible maturity. For “Hear Me Out”, the first video from the album, she chose director Raf Reyntjens who created Stromae’s video for “Papaoutai”, and the next video will take her back to her native Cameroon, something she’s delighted about. Continue reading