June 24, 2021
Culture & Music
Born and raised in Peckham, South London, Cosima has been gaining admiration through the fashion and music communities for her impeccable style and soulful, smooth take on R&B music. Her new EP, The Fun Is Here? is full of hope and sadness, a mash-up of the feelings of our current times. She’s faultlessly independent: from her creative input in photoshoots to her lyrics to running her own record label, everything she does has the Cosima check.
India Hendrikse: Your new EP, The Fun Is Here?, is amazing. Congratulations!
Cosima: Oh, thank you. It’s really nice that it’s out in the world and exists now.
IH: Was it a really long process, making it?
C: It kind of was in a way, because some of the songs I’ve written in the spur of the moment recently, but there’s also some songs on there that I wrote over a period of time. I had a nice long editing process to see which songs stood the test of time.
IH: What does the EP mean to you, and what themes do you feel are really apparent throughout it?
C: For me, it’s a project with a lot of sadness, because it’s how I dealt with the loss of someone’s presence in my life. But it’s also a lot about me looking for other avenues, looking for escape, looking for release. When really, sometimes it’s not about finding release, it’s about dealing with the truth and what’s in front of you, but sometimes it takes us a long time to do. You’re just like, ‘No, I think I just want to escape. I don’t want to deal with it’.
IH: I get that. It’s really hard.
C: I’ve always done that. When I was 18 I was going through some stuff. I was like, ‘Okay no, I need to leave and I need to go and stay with my grandparents in Germany’. I’ve always been someone that takes my problems somewhere else, and then I get to that place and I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t know how this problem got in my suitcase!’ But I brought it with me.
IH: Wherever you go, your ‘stuff’ goes with you.
C: Exactly. I’ve learned over the years that if you have sadness in you, you’re going to take it with you everywhere you go, and no place can make it disappear. Only you can figure out how to deal with it or how to live with it.
IH: So moving to Germany, do you feel you were looking for distractions or looking for external ways to heal?
C: Yeah, I think I was looking to be away from the places that I associated with the pain that I was in. I think in a way it was good because I went looking for escape, but then I had to really sit with myself for like a year, because I stayed with my grandparents. I wasn’t there long enough to build friendships or have social time, so there was a lot of time by myself thinking about and confronting a lot of stuff.
BEAUTY: CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Baume Essentiel Golden Light, Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 110 – Chance
JEWELLERY: Pétales de Cam lia Necklace in 18K yellow gold and diamond by CHANEL Fine Jewellery
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Fleurs de Printemps Exclusive Creation Blush and Highlighter Duo, Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Les 4 Ombres 372 – Bouquet Ambr , CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 110 – Chance, CHANEL Le Vernis 883 – Pensée
IH: And with the EP, are there any songs that stand out as really resonating with where you’re at right now?
C: Philly is quite recent, and that one’s a bit more playful as well. Like every song has undertones of anger and sadness, but that one’s more playful. I wrote that one super quickly, some songs take a really long time, and you have to uncover how you’re going to work on them and translate them, but this one just fell out.
IH: You’ve collaborated with a number of designers. Does the glitz and glamour of the catwalk, performances and photoshoots ever feel surreal?
C: Yeah. It’s really interesting because where I grew up was quite rough. I grew up in Peckham, before the gentrification. But then in a way, I’ve always been an escapist. I’ve always watched films that are worlds away and I’ve always watched musicals and Italian films, anything that has Claudia Cardinale in it, I’ll watch it because I want to escape with her. It’s almost like stepping into the fantasy world. I didn’t really go on holiday that much as a child, except visiting my grandparents in Germany, but I’d travel through art. For me, art has always been so important in terms of discovering new places or new things. So I kind of feel at home everywhere because I’ve watched a million films or read a million books or listened to lots of music.
IH: You must be really close with your grandparents, to have gone and chosen to live with them at 18. Have they been a big support in your music career as well?
C: Oh my gosh, completely. My granddad used to drive me to my singing lessons every Thursday. My grandma paid for the first one because I didn’t have a job yet, so she paid for it so I could start it. My singing teacher was actually found by my grandparents because she was in the same walking group as one of their friends. It’s interesting because they’re not from a generation where you just go and become an artist. So it’s interesting to watch them support that even if they don’t understand it at times. They were like, ‘This is crazy, you mean you want to do the most uncertain thing that you can do, and do that?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah’.
IH: It’s a hugely courageous thing to go down the path of an artist. You’ve also founded your own record label, South Of Heaven, which takes courage but also a sense of rebellion…
C: Oh yes, I guess I’ve always been a rebel and always been very much myself. I’ve always been true to myself, because I’ve seen so many moments in my life where I’ve had the option to whittle myself down to something that someone else wanted me to be. And people always promise you the world when they ask you to change who you are. It takes a lot, I think, to be able to walk away from that promise, because the promise is usually more intoxicating than the reality, because nobody can really give you the world. I think I get that from my parents, my mum and my dad are both very individual and very rebellious. But it’s not like I don’t compromise, because life is about compromise. Like if I work with a photographer, how can I enter their world and them enter mine if I’m not willing to compromise? But being compromised, being put in positions, where especially as a woman, you have to give parts of yourself away just to be allowed to do things that other people have control of or access to, that’s something that’s not in me to do.
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Les 4 Ombres 368 – Golden Meadow, Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Stylo Sourcils Waterproof 810 – Brun Profond, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 140 – Alive
BEAUTY: CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Fleurs de Printemps Exclusive Creation Blush and Highlighter Duo (on eyes and cheeks), CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 128 – Magic, CHANEL Le Vernis 883 – Pensée, CHANEL La Cr me Main, CHANEL Body Excellence Firming And Rejuvenating Cream
JEWELLERY: Bouton de Cam lia Necklace in 18K white gold and diamonds by CHANEL Fine Jewellery
IH: Everything you do kind of feels very accessible. You’ve got your own label. You share public playlists for your fans that they can add to. You don’t have to go through anyone to get to you.
C: Exactly. That’s how I like to operate because I’m so hands-on with everything. So if I’m doing a shoot and I’m working with a stylist and there’s a lot of styling pickups, I will go and do the half that needs to be done, if that would make the stylist’s life less stressful. Or if I’m working with a photographer, I want to speak to the photographer directly, because I’ve been in situations where people have tried to build a wall around me. And I think people do that a lot, especially with female artists, they’re your mouthpiece to the world.
IH: Speaking of style, how would you describe your personal style? What are you wearing at the moment?
C: Ooh, that’s a good question. My style is very mixed up. It has the toughness of where I grew up, so I love clothes that make me feel safe, like big boots, tough pants and stuff, but then also, it’s quite classic and also very escapist. Like if I could dress like an Edith Head character, I probably would all the time.
IH: And finally, what are some things that you do, or hobbies that you love, that fill up your cup?
C: Honestly, it’s very interesting because all of my hobbies are connected to music and making music. So I find it really difficult sometimes to find things that are completely outside of it, because say I’m watching a film, I’m like, ‘Oh, I like this set up!’ or ‘I like this costume design’ or ‘I like this hair’ and then I have to go and research it and put it in a vault so that next time I do something visual, I can look at it and see if it still resonates with me. But then I kind of love that because as a child we were part of a community theatre and we’d do dress rehearsals; it was this mini experience of what it would be like to be part of a creative process, like late night fittings and the stress before everything. For me, that’s what I’ve always really wanted. I’ve wanted life to be one long dress rehearsal or fitting.
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Baume Essentiel Golden Light, Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 118 – Radiant, CHANEL Le Vernis 883 – Pensée
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Baume Essentiel Golden Light, CHANEL Les 4 Ombres 372 – Bouquet Ambr Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 110 – Chance
BEAUTY: CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Fleurs de Printemps Exclusive Creation Blush and Highlighter Duo, CHANEL Les 4 Ombres 372 – Bouquet Ambr , CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 118 – Radiant, CHANEL Le Vernis 883 – Pensée
JEWELLERY: COCO CRUSH Earring in 18K white gold and diamonds (from a set), COCO CRUSH Earring in 18K yellow gold (from a set), Camélia Précieux Earring in 18K white gold and diamonds (from a set) all by CHANEL Fine Jewellery
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Baume Essentiel Golden Light, CHANEL Stylo Sourcils Waterproof 810 – Brun Profond, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 118 – Radiant, CHANEL Le Vernis 883 – Pensée
CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, CHANEL Fleurs de Printemps Exclusive Creation Blush and Highlighter Duo, CHANEL Les 4 Ombres 368 – Golden Meadow, Le Volume de CHANEL 10 – Noir, CHANEL Stylo Sourcils Waterproof 810 – Brun Profond, CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom 140 – Alive