We spoke to rising Berlin-based singer Ivohé about her highly anticipated debut album Goldita y Despeinada.
Goldita y Despeinada playfully illustrates scenes reminiscent of both London and Berlin, the dynamic of leaving home and the externalisation of our own internal dialogue. Ivohé's unmistakable blend of lo-fi infused textures between layers of smooth reverberating vocals and a carefully balanced space creates a richly cohesive and welcoming sound. The listener finds themselves immersed, floating through a poignant journey of reciprocated affection, peace, purpose, and a flourishing overcoming of self-doubt...
Ivohé finds it easy to switch between styles, fusing singing and spoken word into deeply satisfying riffs - and more than her impressive versatility - an intertwining of Spanish and English enables her to illustrate elements of the narrative in ways that expand the cultural reference points, keeping it moving in constantly unexpected directions.
Read on below for our exclusive interview with Ivohé...
Tell us about the concept behind the album?
The idea was born in the first lockdown, to keep distracted from the dooming isolation everyone was feeling around the world. It was important to me to tell the story of a young adult struggling with mental health, exploring and experiencing the city through drugs, sex and creativity and how the idea of living in the city is so glamorised (and the mental breakdowns that would come with it).
During my time living in Hackney I tried keeping up a facade of 'all is well' to my family and most friends, as I didn't want anyone to worry. When in reality I was having breakdowns every other day, an invasive and creepy landlord, three jobs, a rat infestation in my house and barely any time to sleep/afford rent and food. So we tried to emulate a feeling of grittiness for the album through production and vocals.
'Goldita', Spanish, translates to an endearing word for "chubby" and 'Despeinada' means "uncombed/messy hair". I was trying to emulate the comfort I would remind myself of, when I was with my grandparents and my mothers side of the family in Venezuela, the warmth and the love that I felt, to sort of combine my childhood with my early twenties. That's when you're under the illusion of being a 'grown up' but your twenties are sort of your first try at things, and you start feeling incredibly nostalgic for your past selves, like you never appreciated the comfort of being a child or a teen and not having to be responsible for yourself.
What other artists have inspired your creative process for the album?
SZA's 'ctrl' was incredibly prominent in my life when it was released back in 2017. That was the year where everything turned to shit for me and where my life really hit the deep end. I loved her honesty, something I've been struggling with in my songwriting because of internalised shame especially regarding sexual lyrics. I will never forget the moment I heard her lyrics in 'Supermodel' - 'I don't see myself, why I can't stay alone just by myself, wish I was comfortable just with myself but I need you, I need you, I need you.' I never consciously heard such brutally honest and vulnerable lyrics in a song before. It made me love and appreciate her artistry so much more.
What was your journey in becoming an artist - did you study music?
I went to music school for 2 years before moving to London but I didn't graduate because of my mental health and undiagnosed ADD, following many years of inconsistency and not being able to keep up. Moving to London has been my dream ever since I visited for the first time on my 18th birthday. I wanted something new, a city that sparks inspiration everywhere I go, and that it did. I've always been a highly creative person and I couldn't decide what art form to pursue for the longest time until finally deciding to take music seriously. For me it's the perfect art form because I get to combine so many mediums; painting (artworks), acting (music videos), writing and conceptualizing a creative vision without any limits.
What inspired you to travel and live in London?
My mum gave me a trip to London for my 18th birthday and I fell in love with the city. I started working as an au pair to get a footing in the city, but my first experience doing that wasn't so great. I slept on my friends couch for a few months and finally found an amazing family in Hackney. I worked at a little cafe and one of my coworkers asked me to come to a dance performance of hers, which turned out to be a monthly art collective event, showcasing lots of different artists. I spontaneously ended up joining, performing a little set. I wanna give a shout out to my favourite Open Mic I religiously attended every Sunday for over two years, Noteworthy Open Mic at Paper Dress Vintage. That place was family. Attending every week really nurtured my stage experience. Unfortunately, they stopped their weekly event, but everyone who's ever been known that there was no better Open Mic in London.
One of our favourite tracks on the project was "Inside" feat Nicki Knightz. What's the story behind how that track came to be?
We wanted to have a song on the album that was proper wavey. An anthem for going out, something I'd do a lot with my housemates. 'INSIDE' paints a picture of a house party, getting hyped up with your friends and just having fun. It's also quite sexual, because a lot of the time, going out will make you feel incredibly confident and sexy. Our reference track for this was 'Shade' by IAMDDB.
What does your creative process usually look like?
It really depends on the day. Usually I'll play around with some chords and improvise a bit over the piano and then build my base off of that. Sometimes I'll produce the rest myself around it or I'll send it to a producer to finish. Other times I get started with a beat I'd get sent and improvise something over that. I love improvising because it shows you your subconscious mind. A lot of the time I wouldn't know what a song was really about until I'd finished it. I'm trying to push myself out of my comfort zone though, by trying to have an idea what the message of a song should be first and what I want my listeners to feel/take away. But at the end of the day, creativity is something very intuitive for me so I try not to restrict myself too much.
The album has a resounding feeling of conquering self-doubt. Any words of advice or inspiration for people who are trying to overcome their self-doubt?
Try to do the things you want to do for yourself first. Not everything has to be capitalized on, especially if it's early days. Wanting or needing everything you do to become a success can be very damaging and even hold you back from even trying. Also, try letting go of the idea that talent is everything. Describing people as talented can make those people rely on their talent too much, in turn never improving, I speak from experience haha. If you put enough time and love into what you do, you can become as good or even better than someone with talent. It truly is just 'Never give up.' lol.
Goldita Y Despeinada is available on all streaming platforms:
- PSYCHIC GARDEN