A childhood spent on the move, mental health and relationship issues fuel R&B artist Binta Phatty
By the time R&B artist Binta Phatty moved to Columbus in 2016, she had already lived in the UK, Gambia, New Jersey and Maryland.
Getting around the world at a young age made it difficult for Phatty, a second year in journalism, to feel at home. Despite the difficulties of jumping from one place to another, she said she had learned to see it as a force that made her stand out.
“I wouldn’t change my experience because I don’t think I would almost be the person I am today if I wasn’t moving all this time,” Phatty said.
Phatty started writing her own lyrics when she was 13, but said she didn’t start investing her energy fully in music until she graduated from high school in 2018. personal experiences.
Music became her biggest outlet when issues with mental health, relationships and friendships inspired her writing, she said.
Phatty said his most recent album, “Limbo,” released in 2020, addresses themes of depression, grief and the search for self-esteem.
“I felt like I was in a limbo phase in my life,” Phatty said. “A lot of things were not going the way I needed them to. So I just became aware of a lot of things, like a spiritual awakening, I guess. “
Imani McCullough, a Columbus-based R&B artist, began collaborating with Phatty as the two attended high school together. McCullough said she was impressed with Phatty’s songwriting abilities and unique sound.
“His style is just different from everyone, especially now at our age. It’s just different, it’s like a real neo soul style, ”said McCullough. “I think that’s what she really worked with. That’s why she’s really good.
Later, when she moved to New Jersey, Maryland, and Ohio, she found herself in the minority again.
“I had to take social cues, it’s just a different experience,” Phatty said. “I didn’t mean to say I was being bullied, but I really had to figure out what kind of person I was and how I was going to hold on. And I don’t think if I hadn’t moved from New Jersey to Maryland and then to Ohio, I don’t think I would have been as confident and sure of myself as I am now.
R&B artists like Jhene Aiko and Alicia Keys serve as inspiration for Phatty now, but growing up she said she struggled to find successful women she could relate to.
“Other than my family members, just outside when I was dating I didn’t really have any role models or people I could connect with, and that’s not a big deal now,” said Phatty. “Alicia Keys, she was writing songs and producing in her bedroom, and that just makes me laugh, because I do the exact same thing.”
Phatty released her single “Wonder” on all music streaming platforms on June 18th. She is currently working on her next album and collaborating with other artists in the UK this month, she said. She is also planning to perform in The Gambia in December.
McCullough said she didn’t think music would be the only artistic endeavor Phatty chose to undertake.
“She has a really creative mindset, and I think she will go really far,” said McCullough. “She has a lot of streams and she has a great relationship. I think this year will be the one where she really shines.