Cosima on the Emotional Power of Brazilian Music

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AN41 Cosima
Self-portrait by Cosima

The Peckham-born and based musician shares her long-standing admiration for South American singer, Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira

This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine:

“Brazilian music has always been very important to me – there’s so much expression in the melodies and Brazilian singers have incredible, distinct vocal tones. When I was younger I read a Quincy Jones quote that described Simone as one of the world’s greatest singers, and I had to find out who she was and why her voice was so special. When I was growing up, my voice didn’t really fit with other people’s around me, and listening to Simone gave me confidence in that. There’s one song of hers called Jura Secreta, which is just her and an electric piano. I was sold from then on – I love production but vocals are really what move me, and her voice is the emotional anchor of the song. Whenever I need to really sit with my feelings, that’s the track I put on. It made me think about what I could do with my voice and unlocked the possibility of letting my vocals do the work. It’s something I always think about. Every time I make new music, I listen to that song at some point in the process.”

Cosima launched South of Heaven Records in 2019. Through her label, the Peckham-born and based musician makes art on her own terms, and hopes other young artists can take note. “It’s realising that you can come from a normal, working-class background and still retain ownership,” she says. Previously signed to a major label, she cherishes this freedom. She has had a busy year: in February she released the EP The Fun Is Here? In July she performed at Valentino’s Autumn/Winter 2021 haute couture show in Venice, and her EP What Kind of Summer Are You Having Without Me? is newly out. The musician mines life’s complexities in her emotion-led writing process, her soulful, bittersweet tracks making for a striking listening experience. Much like the artists she admires – women such as Janis Ian, Cindy Sherman, Nina Simone, Anaïs Nin – Cosima is writing her own rules.

This article appears in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine which is on sale now. Head here to purchase a copy.