JG: I feel like ‘Blackness’ is something that is inherently part of our story as black women, but it doesn’t necessarily need to define us or the work that we make. What sort of effect would you say that blackness, in terms of experience and culture, or even just energy has had on you and what you do?
PM: I think it plays actually a larger part in my life than I ever thought it did. I’ve grown up in a very white area, in a separate box to all these people that I’m surrounded by, and that has felt quite strange to sort of realise. And even now, so, my boyfriend is mixed Indian and white, and comparing our experiences at school, he suffered a bit of racism and I did too, but it always feels a bit deeper when you’re partly black, for some unknown reason. I don’t really get it.
But the effects its had are good in many ways. My inspirations in music have been black musicians mainly. All the stuff my mom and dad were listening to when they were together, like Bobby Womack, Lauryn Hill — artists along those lines have been a massive influence, and feel like a very big part of me. There are certain albums from those black musicians that are always going to be quite nostalgic. It’s quite a weird one to describe, but sometimes when you listen to certain songs, it can almost make you feel at home in your dark skin. And I think that’s also how I was trying to write ‘Like it Like that.’ It’s about me beginning to feel at home in my own skin, and with my own Afro hair.
JG: What are some aspects of you that have helped to characterise you, your way of life, your desires, your goals, your feelings?
PM: I try my best to be calm, and rational, peaceful, and forgiving. I think I have to live by those things just to keep my head together, because the world is pretty crazy. Especially when I’m writing, I can get so emotional with it, and I have to sort of step back from it and look at it as if I was someone from the outside looking in. I have to know how to explain, keeping on a certain level. I like to go deep, but then assess it all, and keep a certain frame of mind with it, and not become too overwhelmed. I try to be supportive of myself and the people around me.
JG: Yeah, there needs to be a bit of balance, I guess. Sometimes going too deep too much, yeah, you can get lost.
PM: Finding balance is what it is. I live my life trying to find the balance between everything.