We had a brief conversation withShetlandic alternative R&B artist philomenah, who recently released her debut EP white dove.
As it’s International Women’s History Month, we thought we’d cover unsigned and emerging women who create music that we love throughout the month. First up is Scottish singer-songwriter philomenah, an alternative R&B artist who was introduced to us on Twitter by Kohla towards the end of 2021.
Born in Shetland, and now based in Edinburgh, philomenah independently released her stunning debut EP white dove last week. A collaborative effort with producer RJ Cherry— the 6-track EP explores emotional abuse, toxic love, heartbreak and sexual empowerment.
“For me, “white dove” draws a line under a particularly painful and challenging chapter of my life. Writing was one of the only ways I was able to dissolve the despair and disillusionment I was facing. Despite this, the relationship in question taught me lots about myself and my sexuality which I wanted to express in the lyrics and the cover art. We lose so much through abuse, I think it’s important to celebrate and cherish the aspects of ourselves that continue to thrive and overcome in spite of it all.” – philomenah.
Despite its dark themes, the EP is brilliantly put together. philomenah’s hauntingly beautiful vocals effortlessly flow over RJ Cherry’s moody beats— a match made in heaven. Read our brief conversation with the amazing philomenah below.
How did you get into music?
I grew up hearing all types of music, my dad is as fanatical about music as I am, so that definitely piqued my interest in it naturally. I got piano lessons from primary school age, then learned guitar, then got vocal lessons at school and studied music as far as I could. I started writing songs on guitar at 13 and never stopped.
How would you describe your EP to a complete stranger?
A psychological analysis of narcissistic abuse set to a backdrop of alternative R&B.
What’s your favourite song on the EP?
That’s a difficult question! My relationship to the songs has changed now that the EP’s finally out. At the moment it’s“virgo venus” — it’s the song that took the longest to get “right” and I’m really proud of it. The soundbite in the bridge is my favourite spiritual teacher Teal Swan – so it’ll always feel very personal to me.
What’s the R&B scene like in Edinburgh? Do you think you fit in?
I don’t know if there is one, haha! There’s certainly people who make R&B, and I’m sure many people I’ve yet to discover, but folk and indie seem to reign supreme in this part of the world. I’d like to think that my sound is welcomed but I’ve always felt a bit of a misfit, even when I was in Shetland. But as I’m getting older, I’m beginning to see that as a strength.
What’s next for philomenah?
More music! I’m currently finalising my next single with RJ Cherry on production. I just want to stay as consistent as possible and continue honing my sound. I’d love to put out some music videos when that becomes financially viable for me and then hopefully some gigs towards the end of the year. Thanks for taking the time to speak to me.