ILAM Talks Identity In Exclusive Interview

To say that ILAM is an artist whose confidence is as great as his talent is an understatement, but the skillful ILAM of Senegal, currently residing in Montreal, is a new artist who should leave a sizeable reading on your radar just for his spirit. Blending all sorts of different music genres from blues, to soul, to reggae, ILAM synthesizes together a cool and refreshing brand of music that is sure to soothe your soul.

In an exclusive interview with 24Our Music, ILAM gives us a little bit of his life leading up to now before giving us a taste of who he is as a person. Hearty in his words, and rightfully so, the artful ILAM makes it clear that it is only by being a self-made person can an artist truly enjoy genuine success. “Identity and my personal imprint can only make the difference,” he states. “One cannot leave its own footprint if you follow other people’s path.”

It is clear that ILAM is a firm believer of blazing your own trail. After recently headlining the closing concert of La Vitrine des Musique Locales Métissées’ this past October 25th, as well due for an EP out later this season, it seems the path is lit luminously for the gifted artist.

24- Hey ILAM, in 140 characters or less, let our readers know who you are and what you do.

I- I’m a full time artist and I create Afro beat -crossover- pop music.

24- I understand you started music at a very young age. What’s your story with that, and how did things begin to change when you arrived in Canada?

I- Indeed, from a very young age (9-10 yrs old) I started singing as well as some Beatbox. After that I discovered my voice and the abilities to develop a singing career. However, it was not easy to convince my parents. More of less secretly, I founded my first hip hop group “Beneen Squad”. After that I decided to embark on a musical career and to go the Conservatoire des Beaux Arts a Dakar.  

Once in Montreal, I was fortunate to meet with some great people and musicians in order to develop my artistic goals. Soon after my arrival I participated in a local showcase (Vitrine des Musiques locales Metisees) where I was awarded with several prizes both from the industry and public.  From that moment on, things developed fast. Management, production EP, various festivals (Francofollies, Mundial Montreal…)  

24- I ask this question to a lot of artists from Montreal a lot, but it’s got such a diverse and cosmopolitan music scene. Even New York and my hometown Scarborough in Toronto are very multicultural, yet Montreal’s got this feel that is just so different from either city. How much did this identity that Montreal has influence your music?  

I- Not that much. Already before my arrival here, I was listening and very much aware of the various styles that I like and would eventually apply into my music (blues, soul, reggae…)

24- Is there a mash up of artists you think you could use to describe the type of sound you have?

I- It’s not easy to mash up just a few artists here, because I listen to so many genres of music, but if I have to name a few ….
KEZIAH JONES, Gary Clark Jr., Baaba Maal, Alli Farka Toure…..

24- Closing for Vision Diversité is pretty significant, but I think you totally deserve it. I think we’re in a day and age where artistsare not only really starting to mash up all types of sounds and influences that they have, but be recognized for it. It’s not just straight up Rock or Hip-Hop or Soul or Country anymore, it just seems like everyone’s experimenting, everyone knows about it, and overall the health of the music scene just seems really vibrant and exciting right now. Can you comment on this?

I- I agree with all this but vision, identity and originality remain paramount. 

24- What’s the writing process like for you? Does it feel natural and easy to pull elements of music from all your influences, or are there moments where you feel like there’s a certain sound you want to achieve so you really push yourself to go into that direction?

I- There is nothing wrong with having musical influences but again identity and my personal imprint can only make the difference. One cannot leave its own footprint if you follow other people’s path.  

24- How important do you think it is that the world recognizes just how diverse and ever growing our music is? 

I- The world will always consume and endorse great music.  

24- What are your goals for the next three years, and what kinds of challenges do you think you will encounter?

I- To be able to continue doing what I do best….writing and performing. 

To be able to play in all continents and connect with people and fans. 

Stability, freedom of speech, possibility to travel and peace. Peace is the key to all challenges for me. 

24- Are there any artists, past or present, that you would like to collaborate with?

I- Unfortunately from the past, Amy Whinehouse

Probably Bob Dylan

24- Finally, and this last question is really serious, so just brace yourself. If you were a dessert, what would you be?

I- Chocolate fondue, because it’s just absolutely delicious

24-  Thank you ILAM for your time, it was a pleasure to speak to you!

I- Thank YOU !



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