“At this point, writing my music has become an emotional outlet for me, a way to accelerate my very own healing process”, says Berlin-based pop artist IUMA. With her heartfelt and unapologetic songs about toxic relationships, heartbreak, sexism, and liberation, she inspires others to follow suit and heal themselves. After checking out her powerful latest single “sex ist”, get to know this magnificent artist in this article.
IUMA began her musical journey in primary school when she first expressed her wish to become a singer in a friend’s autographed album (Poesiealbum). She first pursued her passion for music in a children’s choir, then learned to play the piano and began to sing. “I basically tried singing anything, as much as I could. I filmed myself and watched YouTube tutorials to learn”, IUMA remembers. She wrote her first original song at the age of sixteen, amid heartbreak and teenage emotional turmoil. Quickly after, IUMA debuted her own songs on stage in “some basement” in her hometown of Karlsruhe, Germany. The night marked her first performance of a self-written song in front of an audience: “Rote Glut” (red ember). From that night, she did not only learn that she did belong on the stage - she also first faced the emotional intensity of sharing something as intimate as a personal song about one’s feelings and experience. Today, she takes more time with songs before releasing them into the world, feeling their impact on and meaning to herself before she releases them into the world.
“I love writing down and singing a new song full of new ideas, new motivation, and thought processes - especially when I realize, ok, this one is kind of for me, this one can help me help myself.”
Since “Rote Glut”, IUMA has taken a step away from exclusively pouring romantic heartbreak into her songs, but her songwriting still sprouts from a very intimate place. Whether she writes about freeing herself from an emotionally exhausting partner (“gutgut”), reflects on misogynistic behaviour (“sex ist”), or quarrels with a liberating yet painful break-up (“u-bahn”), IUMA’s songs always start introspectively, reacting to the world around her from a unique, unfiltered point of view. Each release offers a glimpse at raw feelings, making her musical universe a place of authenticity and unapologetic self-expression. Not everyone might be able to relate to her music - but those who do feel a sense of emotional kinship that conventional pop songs tend to lack. “I feel strengthened by writing songs like these, by nailing the expression of my feelings”, IUMA says. “The fact that others relate to that and feel just like me, empowering me and supporting me and each other - that means empowerment to me.”
“Working with women] gives me a strong sense of support, and I find it very important to encourage more female collaboration in the industry.”
Musically, IUMA is inspired by the greatest R&B artists of all time, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Holiday, and Aretha Franklin - and the most innovative pop vocalists of today, FKA twigs, Doja Cat and Pink Pantheress. Her voice is crystal clear, yet thoughtful and melancholic - an unfiltered serenade of desires and inner thoughts. Despite her love for rhythm and blues and having studied jazz music in Cologne, artistically, she feels most comfortable within the pop genre. Going with the flow, she writes songs whenever inspiration strikes - on a piece of paper, or the notes on her iPhone, if necessary. Starting with the first verse or chorus, she sits at the piano and develops the melody further. Finally, she takes the song into a co-writing session with Berlin-based producer Novaa, with whom she hits the studio often recently. “It’s a great safe space, working with her”, IUMA says about their collaboration between two female musicians. “I realized, it feels completely different working with her and I feel seen and understood on a whole other level.” Her latest release, “sex ist”, the third single of her upcoming debut EP, is accompanied by a predominantly FLINTA*-produced music video.
However, even when collaborating with producers and co-writers, IUMA’s authenticity and self-determination remain a common thread in all of her music. Whether she wants to shoot a melancholic music video in the Berlin subway or have a playful 3D-animated character of herself, IUMA always follows her guts. Her universe of self-expression ranges from the badass tragedy of Uma Thurman’s iconic movie characters and the playful hyperpop spheres of Hatsune Miku. And it is just this all-encompassing authenticity and unpredictability that surprises, empowers, and engages her audiences - and inspires them to live their most authentic life in return.