British singer-songwriter Juneteenth im black every day but tiday im blackity shirt. Cosima’s voice echoes a delicate blend of Sade and Tracy Chapman—she’s the smooth 90s-esque crooner you didn’t realize you were missing in your playlists. She released her first EP, South of Heaven, in 2016, and has been busy ever since. In 2017, she performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
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This year, she walked in Paris Fashion Week for designer Marques Almeida Juneteenth im black every day but tiday im blackity shirt. She’s also taken the last couple years to work on an album and create her own record label, South of Heaven Records. “I wanted to have ownership over all of my music. I didn’t want to give up the art that came out of my brain,” she says. Her latest single is rawer than ever. In “R U Lonely 2?” she sings, “The independent woman is a very lonely girl. Freedom is the hardest check to cash” over a bare backing of keys and strings. On stage, the natural beauty shimmers and shines, always wearing her hair “bigger and extra” because, as she says, “it makes me feel powerful.” But embracing her power certainly didn’t come without its challenges for the rising star. Growing up, she says, “people thought I was ‘scary’ because I have curly hair, I’m tall, and have a deeper voice.” Cosima’s parents never allowed her or her siblings to wear makeup, paint on nail polish, or straighten their coils growing up, though she felt pressure from the kids at school to look a certain way. “People always feel like they have ownership over your looks,” she says, remembering an instance where her sister helped straighten her hair with a clothing iron as a last resort. “My mom busted into my room and said ‘it’s concerning that you’d rather have an iron in your face than accept yourself’.”Reflecting on it now, Cosima has a deeper understanding of her mother’s words—revelations of self-acceptance shine throughout her music. “Would you still take me out barefaced? Could I still feel carefree, in a heel you like? I can’t play beauty queen if I’m not…” She sings in her unapologetic single, “Girls Who Get Ready.” “I look up to women who embrace their natural look,” she says, naming Diahnne Abbott, Judy Garland, and Dovima as inspirations, “and that’s what I try to do now.”