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Sometimes, if I’m tired of crying, I’ll just sing instead,” Cosima confides from across a table nestled in a slate grey studio, in the depths of Seven Sisters. “When I’m getting ready to go out is one thing, but if I really listen to music, I come for the lyrics, because I want to feel something, I want to cry to something. And I can’t just cry to the melody, I need to cry to the words.”

If there’s one thing that Cosima has proven in the snippets she’s let us in on so far, it’s that both lyrically and vocally, she’s a master of pathos. From the sublime R‘n’B- slash-dream-pop of ‘Girls Who Get Ready’, an ode to realising that the guy you’re busy changing small details about yourself for isn’t actually worth the effort, to the smooth dark depths of ‘Had To Feel Something’, so far the cohesive thread seems to be the sense of longing radiating from her vocals.

“I COME FOR THE LYRICS, BECAUSE I WANT TO FEEL SOMETHING, I WANT TO CRY TO SOMETHING. AND I CAN’T JUST CRY TO THE MELODY, I NEED TO CRY TO THE WORDS.”

That being said, it’s almost difficult to place those strains as originating from the same mouth. Both tracks are in totally different ranges; there’s some serious shape-shifting going on here. “That is everything,” she grins, “and that’s what’s going to happen from now until I stop making music. I listen to everything.” And she really does; Leonard Cohen, Jessye Norman, Solange, Kris Kristofferson, Jeff Buckley, The Smiths, even S Club 7 all get dissected during the course of our conversation.

“It’s been good to have time to understand the difference between the music that I love to listen to, and the music I want to make. How do I translate what I hear into something that works for me? There’s such a focus on finding yourself; owning your sound, forever.And actually, when you listen to a lot of really interesting artists, every record is different. It’s the person that’s the same.”

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Having spent her formative years in “real Peckham, round the corner from the North Peckham estate, not Dulwich Peckham”, Cosima credits her vocal diversity to a year spent in Germany after college. Staying with her grandparents, she took singing lessons with a retired opera singer. “Now that I look back on it, it was probably one of the most special times that I’ll ever have in my life. I didn’t appreciate it at the time of course, because what 18-year-old ever does; always ungrateful. It was just, I’ll go away and decide what I like in my voice, before someone else tells me what they like in my voice. It was really pure, I wasn’t in London, I wasn’t surrounded by what you’re supposed to sing like, what the cool thing is to do. It was literally, just disconnect yourself. Work out what music means to you. What you want to say through it.”

Cosima sounds very much like she’s figured out what kind of artist she wants to be, so can we expect to see an album in 2017? “I want to put it all out now, but apparently I can’t just throw everything out into the world,” she laughs, “I’ve written and recorded so much. I have enough. But I feel like an album, that’s like your big… ‘this is me now’.” You can almost see her visibly reign in the excitement, play it a bit more cautiously. “The main thing for me is to keep releasing music, every year I just want to be better at it than I was before. And get more notes in my top range. That G above high C, can we do that this year please? Let’s read this back in 2018, see if I did that. And I would love to play more shows, because I really love that. I think the big thing is just to have more people connect with my music, to be able to connect with people. Just to do that.”

Photos: Phil Sharp
Stylist: Rachel Grace Almeida

Styling Assistant: Charlie Simmonds
Makeup: Shamirah Sairally

NEW SOUNDS
OF 2017