“You’re only as real as what you remember” | BINA. for Footpatrol, Gauchoworld & Jordan

This Black Future Season, Footpatrol, Air Jordan and Gauchoworld have teamed up to tell the stories of four Black individuals from the world of music, fashion, art and food. Up first is BINA. who’s a musician by name, but a multidisciplinary artist by trade, living up to the title day by day.

Words: Seun Areoye

Redefining and restructuring the meaning of an art form is 22-year-old BINA., who is most commonly known as a musician. Combining vulnerability and honesty in equal measure, her music forms connections that can soften even the hardest of hearts. 

However, to define BINA. as just a musician would be a disservice to the multidisciplinary creative she is constantly demonstrating herself as. Writer, composer, artist and actor; she leans into a multitude of creative demonstrations to inform her growing presence as a musician.

But it’s been a lifetime of experiences that have enabled her to build connections through her artistry, even when she initially went down a path that was the antithesis of who BINA. is as an expressionist. Preparing herself to pursue a career in medicine, a calling heavily encouraged by her parents, it was only after a couple of missed grades in her first year of A-Levels that she “cried and ran off to music college”. Whilst her parents were concerned about the decision, BINA. still understands their role in helping her realise her artistic capabilities, they always gave her creative “nuggets” that might’ve been at odds with the “African parent in them”.

It was at age eight when BINA.’s dad bought her a guitar from a car boot sale, and although she didn’t actually learn to play until more than a decade later, it was the kind of subtle investment into her career that she’s able to look retrospectively upon with pride.

After going into care at 13, her social worker suggested a youth studio to her as she noticed BINA. was always singing. At the time, the budding artist didn’t need much encouragement to check out the studio — and would spend as much time there as she could — but often couldn’t rely on it as an outlet as it was only open one day a week. As a result, her foster mother bought BINA. her first studio microphone for her 18th birthday, enabling her to “express her thoughts on a Tuesday at 3am.”

“I knew I could sing, but I was also trying to figure out how to write and not make this shit corny, you know?,” says BINA. The artist wanted to ensure she understood the whole process of making music, before putting anything out into the world.

As the old saying goes: good things come to those who wait. Two years later BINA. released her first official single, ‘Summer Breeze’ that she wrote during form time in the mornings, recorded in a day and worked on for a week. But whilst the song was ready, there was one thing missing; her name to go by.

“I was going by my first and middle name, and it was just so long.” So she took her first name, Sabrina, didn’t want to go with Brina as it was too “nicknamey” so went with BINA. “I added the full stop because it’s just me, I’m here. Period.” After looking up its meaning, she knew the name felt right (Bina means ‘to dance’, ‘to sing’ and ‘wisdom’).

It seems that through her music, BINA. has been able to rekindle the fires lit inside of her, whilst also igniting other relationships with the people that surround her. Take Udo, a friend she met through social media, who is now a frequent collaborator, helping BINA. form her visual identity. Their virtual relationship became more than just that when Udo reached out to BINA., asking if she’d like to star in Lorraine Khamali’s film, Zigzag. Not only did BINA. end up featuring in the film, but she also composed the soundtrack and has gone on to work with Udo multiple times, most recently on the cover art for her latest single, ‘Blackjack’. Speaking on being part of the film in two ways, she expressed her gratitude, saying “It was really beautiful to be trusted with such a task.”

With so many avenues to express her creative talents, it’s important to BINA. that she also documents the highs and lows on the way. Whether it’s opening for Rochelle Jordan, or supporting Emeli Sandé — what BINA. can only describe as “full circle moments.” — “People whose music I really respect are finding out about me,” she says. 

“You’re only as real as what you remember,” says BINA. This is why she continues to journal, as she has done for nine years, (she’s written 13 volumes so far) and created endless “connections with myself”. As well as it being an extremely cathartic experience, journaling allows BINA. to look back at situations with fondness, whether good or bad, and “laugh at some of the things I thought when I was 14” but also create songs that are the most raw version of herself, as she often refers to her journal for inspiration. Take ‘Mercedes to Hades’, a song BINA. also drew the cover art for, that is simply a metaphor for how she “felt things so intensely” whilst in a relationship. “I felt like I was constantly showing up in this place that wasn’t really good for me,” she admits. Whilst she’s no longer in that situation, journaling has helped her process and understand it, and as a result there isn’t a noticeable resentment in her tone, just a reflective one.

“I was taking an Uber to this dark place,” she says of the situation. But the future’s looking a lot brighter. Speaking on what she’s looking forward to coming up, BINA. reveals she’s got an EP in the works, many more collaborations with artists she “loves and respects”, and more honesty and rawness we’ve come to expect from her music.

And she plans to keep sharing those emotions, expressing herself through a multitude of art forms: “There’s no rule for being yourself, just be yourself and share it in the hope of connecting with people and helping others.”

Photography – @armand.dasilva

Photography Assistant – @rhysbawilliams

Words – @igweldn

Editor – @elliefmuir

Styling – @ellaweeez

Design – @andycarnegiebrown

Production – @pifivy

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