Iman Fandi has surpassed a great number of experiences, not all 23-year-olds would have. Already a model and athlete, she is now carving a career as a singer-songwriter alongside some of Asia’s most talented artists at Universal Music.
Her enthusiasm is firmly visible but there is an antiquated sensitivity to us all who see her for the first time – that this is not her first gig. Calm and composed, Iman Fandi introduces herself with a nonchalant poise that truly defines her art. In every sense, she is gracefully talented and exquisite in manner.
In retrospect, she is not really that of a newcomer after all as she’s been in the public eye most of her life as the only daughter of Singapore footballer, Fandi Ahmad. In many ways, sports play a huge part in her life. While she was attending the Singapore Sports School, she trained in Track and Field, categorized under the sport of athletics. For about 3 years, she trains every morning and afternoon.
So, what’s it like to grow up with brothers and a famous footballer dad?
“The adventures and love for the outdoors, being sporty and healthy come naturally. It is just how we are being brought up.”
Music on the other hand isn’t a stranger to the household either. Iman remembers some of the greatest songs being played on the radio and also trips in the car. Being the youngest in the family, there must have been music all around. But what exactly foreshadows her creative output?
“Music has always been a huge part in our lives. Dad would listen to anything from rock to rap; from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Eminem and my brothers love R&B and hip hop. Mum loves anything by Siti Nurhaliza and Rossa as I would for pop music.”
Moreover, it was dance that framed her cognitive approach to music. She is no longer just intrigued at how music is performed and received, but with something more perceptibly creative, even abstract.
“In dance, we’d incorporate music to enhance the performance. Curious about how someone can produce a song from start to finish, I wanted to find out how my love for writing lyrics and tunes could manifest. Now that I have them, let’s see how I’d sound. That spurred me to find a producer online to record my debut single “Timeframe” “.
Music has opened up a more intimate and personal side where she could tell her stories. In “Timeframe”, Iman expresses the modern sentimentality of loneliness felt by the absence of someone special. In her third single “Love Me Little More”, she collaborates with co-writer Amanda Liedberg and mixed by 13-time Grammy-winning engineer John Hanes.
“Every song has a story and I wanted to tell a story of my very own relationship trouble; of wanting to love and be loved. It is a 2021 love song with a slight tropical beat to it. More importantly, people can relate to that,” Iman added.
At the height of the pandemic, her confidence continued to soar. With canceled live performances and dismal fan connection in the real world, the young artist took another step to ink connection with the outside world using the virtual stage. Like many others, she launched an NFT in collaboration with Kristal Melson in Curio. And when the world opened up, she released “Want”. An inspiration she found through Harley Quinn and the Joker that she feels “empowers people to speak up about their own experiences surviving toxic relationships.”
“Top Bop” saw the doubling up on trap beats, where her pop diva identity merges with rap. Produced by RIIDEM, the song also saw a collaboration with Tengyboy. In her latest single “Baseball Bat”, she unveils the silent rebel in her amidst the glitz and glam of social media. Iman tells us how to deal with it. To fight back, of course.
Iman isn’t the pessimistic romantic we sometimes see in ourselves now and then. But one who knows what she is getting into. While the world may be moving fast, it is social media that makes it overtly competitive. In many ways, being competitive involves risk. In this respect, she has no reservations, but to persevere.
“It is worth taking the risk to not be afraid and fail. I wanted to write songs and tell amazing stories. If I fail, at least I’ve done it. Not regretting anything and move on.”
Understanding that not everything is in her control, Iman seems willing to brace the future with great trepidation and guts. So how is she enjoying the process so far?
“I get to learn how to be a better singer every day. So, having the intention of trying and be better are good steps forward. Although I find writing music a challenging process, it is incredibly fulfilling at the same time.”
Like many artists in Asia, the topic of identity is always a thunderous topic here at Music Press Asia. Artists and professionals in the music industry in real life lead ambassador-like roles that look increasingly fulfilling poetic quests. When speech is expressed in songs, we look up to those who look like us, “I’m proud to be Asian because that gives me character. I’m also uniquely a Singaporean Javanese because of my Indonesian heritage. Complimenting that, I also love my South African/German side.”
Born of R&B and bred on Pop, Iman Fandi draws inspiration from singers including Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Post Malone and Tate McRae. The singer was featured on Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE Singapore and has worked with Louis Vuitton, adidas, Estee Lauder and more.
Edited by Monica Tong and Benjamin Zulkifli.