Many musicians like to speak of versatility, but Nabihah Iqbal has better grounds than most. She boasts an MPhil (focused on African history) from Cambridge, experience working in human rights law and a black belt in Karate. Formerly known as Throwing Shade, she’s ditched that moniker to embrace the name she was born with and stand proudly as a female British Asian artist making music.
The title of her debut album, ‘Weighing of the Heart’, alludes to ancient Egyptian beliefs about the judgment of someone who has passed away – upon death, one’s heart would be weighed against a feather to determine whether it was in balance with the universe, and only then could a person proceed into the afterlife. Making her first long-player with this concept in mind, she’s taken her sound in a different direction, with more focus on live instruments.
Nabihah approached the recording of this album with an open mind, playing all of the parts on the album herself: playing keys and synths, drums and penning the lyrics. A notable addition is the guitar, which she’s been increasingly incorporating into her live shows. The album was mixed by Studio 13’s Stephen Sedgwick, who works closely with Damon Albarn and mixed the most recent Gorillaz album ‘Humanz’.
At a time when dance music is embracing cross-pollination and eclecticism more than ever before, it’s a prime moment for Nabihah’s increasingly all-embracing approach. Re-connecting the worlds of introspective, innovative guitar bands with the rhythms and club-born structures of dance music, there’s a wealth of different tangents she’s managed to unpack. Informed by a well-travelled (and well-researched) perspective on music, she finds whole, uncovered pathways left to explore.