Discovery: Naomi Pilgrim


Born to a Barbadian father and Swedish mother and raised in Sweden, Naomi Pilgrim has been making music her entire life. “When I was 14 I decided, okay, I can sing, so maybe I should do something about it. Record something, whatever,” she muses. After all, her father is a musician. But she decided against going after teenage stardom—and the wait has paid off.

More recently, Pilgrim has sung backups for fellow Swedish songstress Lykke Li, and she’s just released the first single, “No Gun,” from her forthcoming EP. The Fredrik Okazaki-produced song, which is our Track of the Week, is as impressive a debut single as a singer-songwriter could hope for. In the first few bars, we’re greeted by a dreamy, kettledrum line layered over deep bass that gives a nod to Pilgrim’s Barbadian roots. The laid-back beat, coupled with minimal sonic blips and interjections, gives way to a full-bodied chorus. You could even make the case that it obliquely resembles Dirty Projectors’ 2009 hit “Stillness Is The Move.” 

“It was all about having fun,” Pilgrim says. “You know, just taking it one step at a time.”

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: Stockholm, Sweden

“NO GUN”:  It’s very exciting. I co-wrote it with the producer, Fredrick Okazaki. Actually… what should I say? It didn’t take too long. Fredrick presented me the song about three months ago, and then we started working with it. We have the same vision when it comes to life. We should stay positive, roll with the punches instead of focusing on the negative stuff in life. It’s about [how] you’re handed certain cards and they may not be straight aces, but if you play them correctly, you’re gonna find out how fantastic life is. You have to dare to be happy and you have to focus on the positive.

CARIBBEAN CALLING: Barbados is a lot of, you know the vibe, it’s all about feeling good and expressing yourself through music. Everybody sings, everybody dances. Everybody is involved, even when they’re four—which might look quite dirty to an outsider, but yeah, definitely.

SINGING FOR LYKKE: It was great. She’s a very ambitious girl. I think I learned from her drive and her passion.

THE NEW EP: It’s finished. It’s mastered and everything. It’s actually… I love it. That’s the only thing that I can say. I hope people will feel the same. That’s actually the only thing. Every song on the EP has its own vibe and speaks to me in very different ways.

COMING TO AMERICA: I want to come to New York. I just said that yesterday. I’ve only been once, but I loved it. I have a lot of friends in New York. I do a lot of work for Falling Whistles. It’s a campaign for peace in Congo. The headquarters are in L.A., but there are a lot of people working for it in New York.

WHAT’S NEXT?: I have no expectations. I’m pretty new to this. I think it’s a hard question. I only have hopes and dreams and that would be wonderful. We have something planned, but we’ll see. We’re definitely coming over, but I don’t have any dates.