Fattima Mahdi is a multi-talented author, rapper, award-winning freestyler, professional roller-skater and youth mentor with one message – “There are no limits, only challenges”. She has released two EP’s to date, using her love for writing and music to address socio-political issues, contemporary culture and mental health problems prevalent in society today. When it comes to the mic, she always brings more heat than you can handle, proving her lyrical mastery over and over again.
What inspired you to begin a career in music?
In this day and age, music production has become more potent but in some cases the lyrics are lacking substance. As a female rapper, I wanted to marry the artform of poetry with the permeating vibration of a slick production, whilst keeping the message intact.
What differs you and your sound from other upcoming artists in the music industry?
I don’t sound like the typical female rapper and cannot be pigeon-holed into one genre. I often switch between genres – from world music, hip hop and grime to trap and afro-electronic fusions.
Your latest release ‘Life’ is out now. Can you please describe the creative process and explain the meaning behind the single?
During lockdown I had the pleasure of working with Alias 1, an upcoming electronic producer in Malta. We wanted to produce an upbeat, feel good song to lift people’s spirits through these testing times. “Life” is about being present, realising that we all have a calling – a purpose – and that now is the time to really do the inner work so that our outer-being can shine.
Everyone experiences good days and bad days, as a musician, when you have a bad day, what motivates you to keep moving and look ahead to the future?
Last year I performed at Afrobar in Catania, Sicily. What no-one knows (until now) is that I was really ill just before I went on stage and was vomiting. I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to perform and was really upset about it. I poked my head whilst backstage to get a look at the crowd, had a few words with myself, took a deep breath and made a decision to overcome it and get up there and do the best I could do. As I started performing I felt my health come back and it turned out to be one of the best performances of my career so far. Lesson: The battle only exists in the mind.
In your own opinion, what is the most meaningful song you wrote? What makes you say that one?
I would have to say “Mama”. I wrote this song as an ode to Africa, to pay homage to my Nigerian and Somalian roots. Upon reflection I came to realise that “Mama” is about much more than Africa, it’s about Mother Earth, it’s about faith, it’s about praise, it’s about my own mother. I will always have an emotional and spiritual connection with this song, the same way I do with Africa.
Throughout your musical career, have you experienced any ‘wow’ moments? Those moments that you stop to reflect and can’t believe you are where you are?
Last year I organised and managed my own tour. I performed 11 shows across Slovenia, Norway, Malta and London. I was humbled by the experience and it really made me appreciate how far I had come.
What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Keep writing, recording and perfecting your craft. Get as much feedback as possible. Certainly don’t give up and make sure you know about the business side of the industry so that you don’t get screwed over in terms of royalties etc.
What does the foreseeable future hold for you as an artist?
With the current travel restrictions affecting my tour plans, I’m using the next year to build my discography and setting up meaningful collaborations with like-minded artists.
Did you learn any new skills during lockdown?
For sure. I took some time to learn a few songs on the piano and used my mornings to deepen my yoga practice and condition my body to do a handstand.
‘Life’ is available now via all major platforms.