A couple lying on the bonnet of a car

Rimon Bahere

In May, the Eritrean-born, Netherlands-raised singer released her new EP and accompanying short film, tackling questions of identity, self, and reclaiming her name

By Jess Kelham-Hohler    Portrait by Joe Cruz    Images courtesy of Rimon

For the music industry, this year proved to be one of challenges and opportunities. While pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel restrictions put live performances and touring almost entirely on hold, the time spent stuck at home meant a new dependency on our music library. For many, this allowed them to discover new artists – one Billboard and Nielsen Music study in May found that 43% of Americans were listening to new music from artists they’d previously never listened to. This was the landscape into which 22-year-old Amsterdam member and artist Rimon released her second EP, I Shine U Shine.

The six R&B tracks, which the singer had originally written in 2019, offer an exploration of love and the surrender that it demands – a narrative arc that Rimon only realised once she gathered them in a collection. ‘What I tried to explore were the two feelings of fear and love, and trying to love someone but being fearful – and coming to the realisation that fear and love are not best friends in a relationship, so you have to surrender to love to truly love.’
A collage of a woman's face and a two portraits of her

'The concept of name is strange. It’s handed out at birth and you’re supposed to carry it with you for the rest of your life'

People dancing bathed in a red light
Yet it is perhaps her track ‘What They Called Me’ and the accompanying 17-minute short film directed by BLEUNUIT that is the most startling. The film opens with a Rimon – who as a toddler fled with her mother from their home in Eritrea to Europe – reflecting on her name. ‘Back home in Eritrea, it was given by my father. The concept of name is strange. It’s handed out at birth and you’re supposed to carry it with you for the rest of your life. Rimon was given to me but I never accepted it.’ What follows is a journey of the singer’s different personas through a series of scenarios that take inspiration from Bonnie and Clyde, her personal life, and the EP’s narrative. ‘It was the most intense, but also one of the things I’m most proud of.’ 

The film culminates in a rebirth that takes her back to the very beginning, with a new acceptance and knowledge of who she is. ‘Losing everything made me realise what it’s all about. The only one I ever loved and hated, the only one I ever abandoned and protected, the only one I return to, is me.’ Together, it offers a poignant and provoking exploration of identity and self-love.

While the making of the EP and accompanying film undoubtedly gave Rimon a space to explore and understand herself and her identity, she also found that opportunity during the enforced time in solitude at home. The result is a renewed energy and focus on what’s next - especially after hitting 13.9 million streams on Spotify this year.  ‘I’m trying to take my time and show the world the next levels of this thing.’ 

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