Dance with grace

Rimon: fronting Amsterdam’s soulful new sound
Music | 14 April 2018
Text + Photography Undine Markus

Rimon’s story is one of a kind. Having relocated from a religious community in Eritrea to Germany – and later the Netherlands – she spent most of her childhood moving from one place to another, eventually settling in Zandvoort, a beach town a few miles from Amsterdam. It was here that Rimon decided to take a serious stab at music. After all, she had nothing to lose.

Dropping out of school at seventeen, a chance encounter saw the young musician meet her perfect sonic match, producer Samuel Kareem. Their first collaboration? Rimon’s soulful debut track Grace. Continuing this fruitful working relationship, these days Rimon has relocated to Amsterdam where she alternates between laying down tracks in the studio and filming videos for her upcoming string of singles, all of which are set to drop this summer.

Undine Markus: How old were you when you started making music and where were you at the time?
Rimon: I’ve always been singing, but you know how teenagers always get insecure about certain things. Back then I thought that singing was something reserved for very few people in the world, the ‘lucky ones’ that get a shot. I was no Beyoncé so I just left it. But then it changed and I realised that I could just do me, there seemed to be so many opportunities, especially with the accessibility of the Internet – I thought I could have a shot.

UM: What was the first song you ever wrote?
R: I was ten when I wrote my first song, it was called Friends and it was a very corny song about my friends – but I even burned it on a CD and still have it at home.

UM: Have you always gone by Rimon?
R: My official name is Rimon but it’s a boy’s name, so everybody would call me Rimona. I decided to use Rimon as my official name, I want to keep it as real as possible. It’d be fucked up to have a whole different identity connected to that name.

UM: Do you feel like having a traditionally male name has influenced your character?
R: I feel like there are two sides to me, I can be boyish and very girly at the same time. I used to be a tomboy when I was younger but as I grew older I got more in touch with my feminine side. I’ve always seen myself as two polarities, either left or right – but now I’m trying to find a balance.

Photography by Undine Markus, fashion by Caitlin Moriarty, make-up by Sogol Razi, hair by Yuuki Yanase

UM: Where does Grace tie into that?
R: It’s the more feminine side. The next song is very different, I even have some tracks where I’m rapping. There are so many aspects, so I’m not trying to put it all under the same label. I feel most comfortable in a hoodie with no make-up on.

UM: And have your roots influenced your sound at all?
R: Not really, but I have been listening to a lot of Ethiopian jazz, like Mulatu Astatke. Ethiopia is very traditional and religious, it’s less open and free than West Africa. It’s definitely a lot more religious, so there’s a lot of church music, but that didn’t really inspire me.

Photography by Undine Markus, fashion by Caitlin Moriarty, make-up by Sogol Razi, hair by Yuuki Yanase

UM: What have been some of the most influential books that you’ve read?
R: This is going to sound quite corny but…It was The Alchemist. It made me change my perspective. It was the reason why I pursued music, made me believe that anything is possible. And Maya Angelou.

UM: When it comes to Amsterdam, what are some of the most exciting things coming out of the city right now?
R: There’s this fashion label called Reconstruct and it was started by these five girls, which is quite crazy.

Follow Rimon here.

Make-up by Sogol Razi; Hair by Yuuki Yanase

Read Next