“It’s the extreme reactions in life that can be traumatic”: néomí’s New Year Starts in a Space of Empathy, Compassion, and Unflinching Honesty

néomí © Sophie Paris
néomí © Sophie Paris
Folk-pop singer/songwriter néomí discusses her big 2024 plans, musical and emotional growth, and the empathy, honesty, and raw vulnerability at the heart of her new single, “somebody’s daughter.”
Stream: “somebody’s daughter” – néomí




The biggest subject is being let down by humankind. Trying to understand the cruelty of this world, and asking for forgiveness and softness.

Neomi Speelman is starting 2024 off with a softly stirring bang.

The Surinamese-Dutch singer/songwriter, who performs under the name néomí, has long been a beacon of “breathtakingly vulnerable and beautifully raw” music, with multiple EPs under her belt that capture not just the breadth, but the depth of human experience – especially as it relates to matters of the heart. With her long-awaited debut album now on the horizon and performance slots scheduled at SXSW and Eurosonic Festival, this year has the potential to be a very special one for Speelman – and judging from her first single, she’s holding nothing back.

Somebody's Daughter - néomí
Somebody’s Daughter – néomí
Now tell me something
Is this life all being lived for meaning nothing?
‘Cause I wonder if I could be
Just a vague memory inside your body
Inside your body
I know I don’t, I hope I don’t
I know that I’m changing all the time
I’m trying my hardest to wash you off my mind
I know life goes on and
Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter
– “somebody’s daughter,” néomí

Released January 11, 2024 via [PIAS] Recordings, “somebody’s daughter” is an achingly intimate, impassioned eruption of compassion and empathy.

Following last October’s heated single release “your girl” and November’s gorgeously tender and heartrending ballad “garden,” “somebody’s daughter” is at once vulnerable, cinematic, and utterly all-consuming.



“‘somebody’s daughter’ was written in the same week as the single ‘your girl.’ As I was still in that same mood (pained and angry by misunderstanding words by others), I was writing more and more while carrying these unknown feelings around,” néomí tells Atwood Magazine.

“To me ‘somebody’s daughter’ feels quite heavy, as the message is really: Whatever a person does, don’t forget he or she will still be someone’s kid. Times can get rough, and being mad at one another is healthy, but to forget the humanity behind a face can feel a bit cruel. I felt left out at that time, by people I saw as family. I am not saying that was their fault, or even mine; it was a feeling that I carried inside and wrote about.”

Listen, would you call me
And forgive all my mistakes?
Would you listen for a day ’cause I’m lonely?
Just being honest
That I’m not the same I used to be
And I’m working on the rest of me, slowly
I know that I’m changing all the time
I’m trying my hardest to wash you off my mind
I know life goes on and
Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter
Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter

I know that I’m changing all the time,” néomí acknowledges in the chorus, her stacked vocal harmonies radiating raw emotion and warm, spirited energy alongside glistening guitars and lustrous synths. “I’m trying my hardest to wash you off my mind,” she confides. “I know life goes on, and don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter.” These emotional words, sung with a mix of hope and yearning, send shivers down the spine.

néomí © Sophie Paris
néomí © Sophie Paris



I was really wondering at that time, ‘why are we alive if everything you build up can fall apart in a heartbeat?’

Ultimately, néomí says the focal point of this song is being let down by humankind, but nevertheless trying to see the light even in the dark spaces. 

In the song, she’s actively “trying to understand the cruelty of this world, and asking for forgiveness and softness.” It’s a simple, instantly understandable mission, though it might be a tall order in the current climate, with so many decisions seeming driven by knee-jerk reactions, rather than empathy, care, and thoughtful consideration.

“I hope listeners understand the message that you are always someone’s kid,” she smiles. “Mistakes can be shitty but treat yourself as a breathing being. You are worth that.”

Atwood Magazine caught up with néomí to discuss the ins and outs of her latest single and her plans for the year ahead. Catch up with one of our favorite up-and-coming singer/songwriters in our interview below, and listen to “somebody’s daughter,” out now!

Do you feel like a mess
If we decide love means bliss?
I don’t wanna feel so sad
Keep cutting corners with no strings attached
And I don’t like that
No, I don’t like that
I know that I’m changing all the time
I’m trying my hardest to wash you off my mind
I know life goes on and
Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter…
Stream: “somebody’s daughter” – néomí



A CONVERSATION WITH NÉOMÍ

Somebody's Daughter - néomí

Atwood Magazine: Happy New Year, néomí! I know 2023 was quite a busy and bustling one for you, so with the year now in the rearview, what were your highs and lows, and how do you think you’ll remember it in the history books?

néomí: Starting off with a banger question, haha. 2023 was nuts! A lot of highs, so many lows. My highs were defo the 2 EU tours and Matt Corby supports in the Netherlands and Paris. We did so many support shows in 2023 and that was so inspiring and educational. I learned a lot from that. I recorded an album and released an EP. Made friends and lost friends. I think that is a big part of my low. I started heavy therapy and had to let go of amazing people. But I’ll remember it as one of the most important years for my personal and career development. So in general: Good.

The past two years saw the release of your sister EPs before and after. What comes next in your story – what are you hoping follows the 'after' era?

néomí: My album is recorded and almost finished! I really think that before and after were the first steps in the direction I’m going now in a way of getting “bigger.” I feel this year I can show I’ve grown up a bit and I hope that shows in my music. I hope to reach a lot of new people at festivals and via listening platforms. What happens after ‘after’? I don’t know… the best afterparty there is? haha.

“HEARTBREAK, GROWTH, & HEALING”: NÉOMÍ SPILLS HER SOUL IN ACHINGLY INTIMATE & BEAUTIFULLY RAW ‘AFTER’ EP

:: FEATURE ::



I feel this year I can show I’ve grown up a bit and I hope that shows in my music.

I’ve really enjoyed your most recent singles – you released the intimately tender “garden” back in November, and I have to be honest, it’s absolutely beautiful. You've said before how this song is particularly special to you, and I was wondering if you could share more about what it means to you?

néomí: Yeah, that is right, “garden” is a special one. I wrote this one for my granddad who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. At one point he didn’t recognise me anymore, and that was OK. I knew that day would come, but somehow he always remembers my grandmother. She really is his soulmate in life. I believe there is nothing more strong and solid as the love they carry for each other. They are in their mid 90s so they are sharing their last years together.

My granny is refusing to put him in an elderly home and insists on caring for him herself. I wrote ‘garden’ in case he ever forgets who she is, and what our memories are together. Hypothetically of course because when I play him this song he only cries but doesn’t understand.



You're now starting this year off right with “somebody's daughter,” a stunning track that I find tender, vulnerable, and utterly enthralling. What is the significance of this song for you?

néomí: It is hard to put in words…it is a lot…but the biggest subject is being let down by humankind. Trying to understand the cruelty of this world, and asking for forgiveness and softness.

Now tell me something, is this life all being lived for meaning nothing? 'Cause I wonder If I will be just a vague memory inside your body,” you sing at the top. It's quite a powerful entrance; why did you opt to start the song that way, and how did you go about writing it?

néomí: I wrote this song at a very difficult time in my life. I think it must have been the heaviest I mentally went through. Some personal stuff went wrong and my world collapsed there for a bit. I had to let go of an old life, and had to separate with people who were like family to me. I struggled with depersonalisation and stuff like that.

It was scary and weird; I just couldn’t believe things happened in a certain type of way. I literally sat down and wrote what I thought, not very poetic but very true this time. I was really wondering at that time, why are we alive if everything you build up can fall apart in a heartbeat? I was wondering if anyone could explain that to me. When I write it down, I laugh somehow – it feels like a lifetime ago, and I am happy I’m feeling much better.

Now tell me something
Is this life all being lived for meaning nothing?
‘Cause I wonder if I could be
Just a vague memory inside your body
Inside your body
I know I don’t, I hope I don’t
I know that I’m changing all the time
I’m trying my hardest to wash you off my mind
I know life goes on and
Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter
néomí © Liz van den Akker
néomí © Liz van den Akker



The line “Don’t forget I’m still somebody’s daughter” continues to resonates with me... Can you tell me more about this lyric, and why it means so much to you?

néomí: It is literally me saying; no matter what you do, you are always a human being. We make mistakes and it is not that you can’t be ‘punished’ for that. Just don’t get ugly with one another. So it’s a cry for help, like, “Hey, was this it? Are you really going to treat a human being who has been a child of someone like that?

I get it; if someone did something reallllly bad, then he/she/they need to go to jail for that… I would get mad too at that person. It is not per se being mad that is the problem; it is the extreme reactions in life that can be traumatic.

We are so many different things to different people – children, siblings, partners, confidantes, friends, colleagues… the list goes on. Some of these identities fluctuate – as you sing, “I’m changing all the time,” but this one – somebody’s daughter – is permanent and fixed. What does that permanence mean, for you?

néomí: It means I am somebody’s kid, I am the daughter of my parents and I will always stay that way. I was a baby once, just like you and me and the person who reads this. It was a cry for help, but also a reminder to myself to not give up on myself because I am somebody’s daughter. I came to this earth naked just like everyone, don’t punish me as if you weren’t ever the same. (Didn’t mean to be so dramatic there, hahaha!)



I came to this earth naked just like everyone, don’t punish me as if you weren’t ever the same.

There's so much to unpack that you explore and express in this song, and I admire your raw vulnerability and honesty. As such a lyrically forward songwriter, do you have any favorite lyrics in “somebody’s daughter”? Any lines that resonate the most for you?

néomí: I think there are some very good questions in this interview. Thank you for that – before I forget. Thank you for the compliment as well. It feels good that you notice the honesty because that is really what I tried to do. Just one record where everything is so pure, no second guessing for words that would fit better. Or make it look “cooler” because the rhyme makes more sense. I really wanted that, because I created it in a quiet dark period for me. Not sure if I have a favourite moment… maybe just the starting lines.

For those who are just discovering you today, what do you want them to know about who néomí is, and what your music's all about?

néomí: néomí loves animals, and nothing more than animals. Also I create songs and they are about life, the burden of being in love, falling in and out of love. It is about everything I see around me and hopefully things that you see as well. So we can find each other in the music – and néomí loves to play live; come and join me live!

What do you hope listeners take away from “somebody's daughter”? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

néomí: I hope they understand the message that you are always someone’s kid. Mistakes can be shitty but treat yourself as a breathing being. You are worth that. Don’t kill each other though; then you are in big trouble and then my song cannot help you out I’m afraid (sorry).

néomí © Sophie Paris
néomí © Sophie Paris



We talked earlier about how last year had its own share of experiences, releases, and milestones reached; what are your hopes and goals for 2024, as we get the year underway?

néomí: I hope for festivals like; Glastonbury, Lowlands, Coachella. I hope for a Grammy nomination and to play on the BBC. (Welcome to my chapter 3 manifestation). Realistically my goals are releasing a record and hopefully people love to hear it. I’d love to do another EU tour with an amazing act so I hopefully build up some listeners to go around Europe once myself! Keep creating, looking forward to that. And keeping a healthy mind.

Who are you listening to right now, that you would recommend to our readers?

néomí: I listen to Sufjan Stevens, The Japanese House, and Holly Humberstone (always Bon Iver, like every day). I’ve been listening to some old stuff lately. All of a sudden, I’m back in my Kate Bush era, going over and over old records. Also, Elliott Smith comes and says hi now and then. A lot… I recommend anything that makes you feel alive. Then you know you are listening to the right artists! < 3

— —

:: stream/purchase somebody’s daughter here ::
:: connect with néomí here ::
Stream: “somebody’s daughter” – néomí



— — — —

Somebody's Daughter - néomí

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? © Sophie Paris

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