Arcane Meets: Swedish-Iranian R&B Vocalist, Ayelle. “I love how music can help people process their feelings.”

In this editon of “Arcane Meets” we are introduced to the Iranian-Swedish R&B Vocalist, Ayelle. Most known for her soft vocals and melodic cadences, Ayelle has been the artist to watch for the last five years. The electronic-r&b artist, who is currently based in the UK, made time to talk to Arcane about her introduction to music, the hardships she has faced since being thrust into stardom and much more!

Enjoy the interview.


Ayelle 01.png“I’ve always been able to adapt quickly and pick myself back up…”

 

Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: Sure! I’m Ayelle, I’m 24 years old and I make electronic r&b/pop. I’m half Swedish/Iranian and I grew up in Sweden and Spain but now live in the UK.

 

I personally know you to be an R&B artist, but with the amount of music you’ve released since debuting in 2015, some may consider you an Electronic-R&B, and some don’t even label you. I’m curious to know what genre you consider your general sound to be? (if you even affiliate with one)

A: Yep, I would also call it electronic r&b/pop haha. Genres are getting so ambiguous these days though so you can never be sure of what you’re actually making, people will always have  a different idea of what it is to them. I just like to experiment with my voice and quirky sounds.

 

Growing up in London, I’m curious to know what type of music influenced you. Who were some of the artists you gravitated towards in your youth? Are there any in particular you can pinpoint that influence your personal sound? 

A: I’m a 90s baby so I grew up listening to Britney,  Shakira and Beyonce haha. Beyonce was definitely a huge early influence on me as well as this Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston CD that my mom and I would sing along to religiously. Since my dad’s Iranian there was also a lot of persian music in the house growing up which I feel had more of a subconscious influence on my singing techniques and oriental influences.

 

Ayelle, Machine.

As I mentioned earlier, you debuted in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2016 that audiences discovered Ayelle, the artist with your debut project Machine. Can you remember some of the emotions, thoughts, etc. that you felt while creating the project?

A: It was both a very overwhelming and somewhat underwhelming process for me. Overwhelming in the sense that I didn’t have a specific producer I was working with so all of the songs were randomly pieced together with demos and different producers and I worked really hard at still trying to create something cohesive.

I definitely had very unrealistic expectations at that time since it was early days for me, so the release felt underwhelming when those expectations weren’t met. But I’ve always been able to adapt quickly and pick myself back up so that’s what I did and just carried on. I’m still proud of that early project though and I learnt so many valuable lessons from that.

 

Because this was your first project, did you have any goals that you wanted to meet?

A: The goals I had set for the project were different from what I actually got out of it, which I think were some very important lessons about how the industry works.  It equipped me with knowledge that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to attain. I also got my first big blog premiere and playlist placement on Spotify which was definitely a good step in the right direction.

 

Ayelle, Machine. (single).JPG

“The whole reason I started making music in the first place was to be able to process my own feelings…”

 

Your lead single “Machine” quickly gained success surpassing over 30,000 plays (on SoundCloud alone); with this being your first project, did you hope for a response like this; and was it somewhat gratifying to know that this many people enjoyed your music?

A: As I mentioned before,  I had very unrealistic expectations about the project and although it made me super happy that people were listening to and enjoying the music, I didn’t realise just how much work there was still to be done, that it was only the beginning.

 

Looking back on the time between Machine’s release and right now, what part of being an artist has been the most gratifying (thus far)?

A: Being able to support myself off music is honestly such a huge blessing. It allows me to focus on making the best art I can possibly make and to navigate this industry with a healthy mindset and lifestyle, something which was very hard to do whilst I was still working a dayjob. Of course the core of why I do this and the most gratifying experience of all is when people reach out and let you know how a song has touched them or helped them through something. I love how music can help people process their feelings.

The whole reason I started making music in the first place was to be able to process my own feelings, so the fact that the songs can do that for others too feels incredible.

singles.png

Within a month of release your debut project, you had already begun releasing singles and collaborations; songs like “Reclaim” and “Take Your Time” (prod. Osmo) quickly gaining popularity. With every song that you’ve released, has it ever gotten to a point where it’s hard to remain creative (influenced)? If so, how do you normally get through those times?

A: I’ve been blessed with a constant flow of inspiration in my life so I’ve luckily never had writers block. I don’t think my way to my songs, I kind of let them write themselves. I call it “subconscious writing” because often I don’t know what I’m writing about when I start a new song and as I explore my feelings further the meaning of the song unfolds.

 

By 2017, you had released a ton of collaborations with producers and solo work, but if I’m correct you also released your first song with a featuring artist: “Rush”, featuring Nakala. How did this collaboration come about?

A: I had heard Nakala’s song ‘Paris’ and fell in love with it so I reached out. She works out of a studio in Portsmouth with a producer called Brad Baker so I started going there a lot and working with them, we all get on really well and love working together 🙂

 

Even in 2019, Nakala remains the only singer-songwriter you’ve brought into your world of music. Are there any other musicians you think would mesh with your sound?

A: Yes, this year I’ve got upcoming collaborations with Akacia, Naji and Mothica and hopefully lots more to come!

image2

“I think who I am as an artist is ever evolving…”

 

As of 2019, you’ve released two projects, two joint projects, countless singles and features. I’m curious to know what some of your goals for the year are?

A: I’m releasing a single every month and putting together some visuals and just focusing on creating consistent high quality music and content.

 

You recently released two singles “NBDY” and “Obvious” could we potentially hear these songs on a project later in the year?; and for those who have yet to hear, can you briefly explain what both songs are about?

A:  They won’t be going on a project as they’re part of the 12 singles I’m releasing this year. Next year however I do have a 10 track EP on the horizon!

The recent singles are quite different as one is about more recent events in my life and the other one draws inspiration from events that happened quite long ago now but that still hurt nonetheless. Obvious is about being in a long distance relationship and wanting to make sure you both remember how much you love each other. NBDY is about domestic abuse and the patterns of both mental and physical abuse which break down your sense of self worth.

 

With every song you create, do you come closer to knowing who you want to be as an artist, and knowing how you would like your music to affect people?

A: I think who I am as an artist is ever evolving, every time I think I’ve come close I start changing again haha. All i know is that I wanna make music that speaks to people on various levels and is able to help people process their emotions and grow.

 

As I mentioned, 2019 marks four years under your belt, do you think you’ve grown (creatively, musically). Are there any words of wisdom you can give up and coming musicians?

A: Yeah absolutely. It can’t be compared haha. My advice would be to educate yourself about all aspects of the industry, through asking questions and always being an active part of your artist project even when you have a team around you. It’s invaluable to understanding the choices you’re making and the consequences.

 

Lastly, is there something you would like to tell your supporters?

A: remember to self care ❤


If you enjoyed this interview and would like to learn more about Ayelle, be sure to follow her on her social media platforms, Instagram and Twitter. For those interested in hearing more music from Ayelle, including songs mentioned in the interview, make sure to support her on SoundCloud, Spotify, and all streaming platforms available!

Arcane Meets: Isold. “I don’t consider myself as an influencer, I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

For the first interview of the year, OA had the privilege of connecting with Icelandic beauty, Ísold Halldórudóttir. The body-positive artist and model, who gained traction in 2017 as a model for LOVE Magazine, has used her platform to spread inclusivity since the very beginning. In today’s interview, we had the privilege of discussing the importance of diversity in the fashion world, defying beauty standards, and much more…

Enjoy the interview!

 


 

Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: Hi, my name is Ísold. I’m a model, artist and activist from Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

 

Q: Let’s start from the beginning; your origin is in Iceland correct? Iceland has been described as one of the most progressive countries in the world as well as one of the best countries for women equality. How do you think growing up in this type of environment influenced you?

A: Well, I didn’t. Me and my mom moved to Copenhagen when I was around 7 or 8 and I didn’t move back to Iceland till I was 16. My mom has always been very vocal about the importance of equality.

Being a feminist from the moment she was born, she raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to, regardless of my gender; and while Iceland has progressed a lot further than many others, I feel that we still have a long way to go.  

 

 

Q: You’ve used your platforms as model, artist, and activist to push the idea of showcasing diversity and inclusivity. Growing up, is this a subject you were always vocal about, or did it gradually happen the more you got into the industry?

A: From an early age I knew I didn’t fit in, literally.I was too different because I was too fat.  It wasn’t until after I started modelling that I realised how much of a voice I had, or could have.

I’m not doing this JUST for me, I’m representing everyone that’s ever been made to feel that they’re ugly because of their size, or that they don’t belong in this society because they’re “different”.

 

Q: In an interview with i-D, you explained that there were certain standards that made you feel that you weren’t beautiful; I’m curious as to how you got yourself out of that mindset?

A: We have to accept our insecurities so that we can let go of them. Only then will you realise that your “flaws” aren’t real.  

Ask yourself who’s profiting from these emotions? Ask yourself why you think your cellulite defines how beautiful you are, or why you feel it is almost a necessity to have a flat stomach. It’s not you, it’s them. We’ve been manipulated to think everything is wrong with us. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect.

 

 

Q: You’ve used social media as a way to push your movement of body positivity. I’m curious, are there any influencers that you look up to/are inspired by?

A: Oh of course! I would have to give a huge shout out to La’shaunae.  She’s so fucking inspiring and honest about everything that she does. I truly admire her, she’s gonna change the world.

I recently discovered Lotte Vaneijk on Instagram, she’s a plus size model ( even though I hate using that word because I find it so degrading ) and while fighting for diversity in the industry, she does it in a way without attacking anyone, and I find that really important, and so pure.

Also, Lucinda Graham. She’s so inspiring to how she presents herself and the way she raises awareness to mental health. There should be no shame about taking care of yourself and she truly makes sure to let her everyone know that.

LOVEME Campaign

Q: Social media is actually the reason I discovered you! In 2017, you were photographed by Kendall Jenner for the #LOVEME17 Campaign – what was that experience like; especially with it being your first modeling experience?

A: That was such a surreal moment, yet I still can’t believe it happened. I never considered being a model.  It seemed like such a unrealistic dream. Not because I didn’t find myself beautiful, but because I was fat.

So to get that opportunity, was so overwhelming and empowering at the same time. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was super uncomfortable, but it opened my eyes to something so much bigger than just me.

 

 

Q: How do you think you’ve grown as a person/model since that shoot? Are you now more/less comfortable in front of the camera? What are some tips you could give aspiring models?

A: Definitely more…

My mom being a photographer was always taking pictures of me when I was little, but after graduating from high school I had to completely start from scratch. I didn’t know who I was anymore, so I really found myself when I started modelling, and remembered the comfort and the normality of being in front of the camera.

You have to be uncontrollably ruthless to be able to survive in this industry. That’s what everyone tells me. I call bullshit. Be whoever you want to be. In today’s world there are no rules, there’s no “how to” book, all you have to do to succeed, is believe in yourself. That’s it.

 

 

Q: In being so open and honest about your journey of self love & raising awareness about the lack of diversity in the industry (specifically fashion), you have become a source of light for those who feel underappreciated/valued, at least when it comes to society’s beauty standards. What is the overall mission?

A:  I don’t consider myself as an influencer, I’m just trying to do what’s right. No one should ever feel that they’re ugly.  All of us are so special because of our individuality, we all deserve to feel that we belong, and that’s the mission.

To whisper, no to shout, to all those little girls that are out there right now comparing themselves to each other, arguing, crying, fighting about who’s prettier, who’s fatter, who’s the “it girl” that it doesn’t matter. That there is no such thing as ugly. There is no such thing as flaws or imperfections.

 

Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?

A: I love you. Really.  And to anyone that’s fighting for their dreams, their sexuality, their identity, I support you and I believe in you.


 

If you would like to stay updated on Isold’s journey as an activist and model, feel free to follow her on Instagram 🙂

Make sure to follow OA on social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud to stay updated.

Meet London Based R&B Vocalist: Bassette. “It’s scary releasing something you’ve created…”

In today’s interview, I get the chance to speak with Bermudian vocalist, Bassette. The singer, currently based in London, has been around for about three years and after a small hiatus, is preparing for a major comeback early next year. In this interview, we discuss the struggles of debuting, the journey of finding her voice, and what’s inspired her from the start.
Enjoy the interview 🙂


Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: My name is Bassette, I’m 24 years old. I’m originally from Bermuda but, I’m based in London. I sing, write songs, laugh a lot and procrastinate too much!



Q: How would you describe your sound for those who have yet to hear your music?

A: Dreamy, bassy, lazy Sunday vibes…



Q: Your songs are generally about love & the complexity of it – why do you think you gravitate towards this topic? Where do you usually grab inspiration for these songs?

A: Everyone and anyone around me. I’m a good listener so my inspiration comes from friends, stories or situations mainly and also growing watching too many Jerry Springer episodes, observing trash relationships. (lol)


visuals-000051469532-60wCUj-original.jpg

Q: Your latest song “Bermuda” – which you’ve described as a “celebration of wholehearted love” has received praises being called “infectious” and “tranquil”. As someone involved in 100% of your music, what is it like to hear praises like that?

 

A: It feels great to be honest! It’s scary releasing something you’ve created or taken part in creating, you don’t know how it’s going to be received. Just because you like it, others may not and that’s OK but it’s a long process from the creation of the song to actually releasing it so when it’s received well and given it’s praises it makes the whole process worth it.

 

Q: For a period of time, London did not have any major artists producing R&B music, which is the category you tend to work around. I’m curious as to who some of your musical influences were growing up.

A: Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Destiny’s Child and later on The Weeknd & Frank Ocean plus lots more!

 

 

Q: You’ve stated that you only started pursuing music while in university. Was music always a “what if” type of career (dream career) in your mind, or was there a specific moment that you realized you wanted to do it professionally? Did your family support this decision?

A: I’ve grown up knowing I was going to be a singer, I just didn’t know how or whether it was realistic. My family wanted me to go down the route of school: university, get a job but I wasn’t feeling that so I thought London is the best place to be to pursue music.

My parents wanted me to go to university so, for them I went to university, for me I chose universities in London so I could start to focus on my music. Here is where I found my first manager, started going studio & writing writing writing.

About 2 years into my move to London, I just didn’t want to be at university anymore, I was there for the wrong reasons so I left and decided to focus wholeheartedly on the music. My family are my biggest fans now!

 

Q: The first time we heard music from you was in 2015, with the song “Cool Waters” which received buzz from indie music platforms (such as this) – what was the experience of writing and releasing your first song like? – were you nervous?

A: Wow! Cool Water is still one of my faves actually but I’ve removed it from online.

With my first releases, I would just write in my room, so I have notebooks and notebooks filled with lyrics and ideas. I would take my lyric and melody ideas to a producer and they’d work their magic and make it into a song.

With my first EP (which is not available online anymore) I was still finding my sound and who I was as an artist so I feel it was incomplete and wasn’t synchronised or the best I could do, so I removed it. One song from my first EP is still online though.

Yes! I’m always nervous when it comes to releases and everything else.. I’m just a nervous person lol

 

artworks-000212848060-hu1sw7-t500x500

Q: You followed that up with the release of your debut project Midnight Sounds. How did that project come about?

A: Yes, Cool Water was part of the Midnight Sound EP, which was released late 2015. I just wanted to release a body of work to be honest but again, I didn’t really understand my sound or where I was at musically so felt it was a bit rushed! I’ve removed it now!

 

Q: Around this time, London had been experiencing a new wave of artists, specifically in R&B, did you ever feel pressured into “fitting” the sound or did it influence you even more to get your music out there?

A: It definitely influenced me more to get out there.

 

Q: You followed up the project with a string of collaborations: “Playing for You” with producer Joe Hertz, “Boys with Guitars” ft. IshDARR & “Boys with Guitars” (Version 2) featuring Ms. Banks. Do you enjoy collaborating? Are there any artists you currently want to collab with?

 

A: Yes, I love collaborating. You can give two artists the same beat and the end results will sound completely different because each person adds their own personality and flavour so I love working with other people and hearing their ideas.

I would love to work with Beyoncé of course. Even just observing how she works, her creative process and learning her work ethic!

 


Q: Speaking of “Boys with Guitars” – what inspired you to release two versions? Did you specifically reach out to these artists for a collaboration?

A: Yes, we reached out to both and loved what both of them did on the track so release both versions.

37175362_899638046911775_7631088056610586624_n

 

Q: After “Boys with Guitars”, we were hit with “Bermuda” which we spoke about earlier.

If I’m correct, this is the first visual you’ve released to accompany your music. What was the process of recording a music video like?

 


A: It was fun! I whole different world to what I’m used to! I’m grateful to Bossy Ldn who curated the video, we based the video off of their mood board so it was really cool to see their mood board some to life at the shoot.

Jack A Bowden directed the video with his team, so it was just fun vibes and positive attitudes all around. Ash Halliburton was the creative direction and built the set as we went along so all scenes were shot in one studio and built on the day! It’s pretty amazing now that I look back on it.

 

Q: As someone who’s been active for around 3 years now, I’m curious to know what part about being an artist is the most gratifying?

A: I love when people cover my songs! Like wow, you liked it enough to learn the lyrics and make a cover video! I always love watching them and I love seeing dance choreography to my songs as well.

Also, I love hearing the final product. When ideas you’ve had in your head have come alive!

 


Q: What are some things you’ve learned since getting in this position? Are there any words of wisdom you can give aspiring musicians when it comes to patience, work ethic, etc.?

A: Accept help from others, teamwork makes things happen. Remember that you see the finished product, artists don’t expose the hard work, time & effort that goes into a release

 


Q: You’ve remained relatively quiet for 2018 but is there anything we should be excited for within the year – early next year?

A: Yes! I have a whole project coming out during the early parts of next year! it’s actually done, we just need to sprinkle some extra sauce on each track. We’ll have our next single out early next year!

 

Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?

A: There’s lots of new music coming, bangin!


If you enjoyed the interview and would like to hear some of the music featured:

Make sure to stay updated with Bassette: Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud

Meet Upcoming Pop Trio: Lalibelle. “Our vision for Lalibelle is to break patterns and take a stand …”

In this interview we get a glimpse of Sweden’s newest talent – pop trio Lalibelle. Since their debut in February the group (composed of Bogale, Landén and Collin) has been working restlessly to spread their name throughout their hometown of Skövde (city in Sweden). In this interview I got the chance to speak with them about their beginnings, how they met what led to Lalibelle. Their first song, “Balance” has already accumulated over 5,000 plays alone and been shared by YouTube music channels such as Chill Therapy, solidifying their place in music. If you are a fan of genres like electronic, indie pop – make sure to listen to Balance after reading the interview!

Enjoy 🙂


 

Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourselves?

A: We are three friends and Lalibelle is what we call this project. Our names are Bogale, Collin & Landén and we have very different musical backgrounds. Through lots of experimenting and songwriting we landed in something that can be described as meditative breezy pop combined with personal lyrics.



Q: I know that you guys are friends, how did you all meet? (Did it start as a music relationship or were you all friends before starting this venture?)

A: Me (Bogale) & Collin met at the age of 16, we both had a passion for music and during high school we used to perform at a local bar to earn some extra money. After some time we got tired of always playing covers and instead we started improvising and realized that we could come up with great ideas together.

Later, Collin started musical projects together with Mikael Landén and since we’re all from the same small town in Sweden and often met at Colin’s place, it was obvious we had to try to make music together.


Balance.JPG
Q: Your first single “Balance” was released in February. How was the process of creating the song?

A: During the spring of 2017 we locked ourselves in at Collin’s apartment to write music. We planned to stay for 3 days but ended up spending 10 days together. It was like therapy for all of us and Balance was the last track we made before getting out of the apartment. We were all drained and had a sentimental mood so Balance came naturally. It took us about 15 minutes to write it, but we spent a lot of time to experiment with the production afterwards.



Q: For those who have yet to hear it, can you briefly explain what the song is about?

A: “Balance” is like a quiet conversation with mental illness that slowly takes the good things away.It’s about the ups and downs in life and a reminder of that nothing is in vain since every experience strengthens us.

 


Q: Do you remember your family / friend’s reactions the first time they heard the song?

A: They were touched by Balance and afterwards they were all singing along: Help, guidance, need balance…

 



Q: Have they (family / friends) been supportive of your careers thus far?

A: Both yes and no.

 

 

Q: Although you guys are relatively new to the industry, do you know what direction you want to go in with your music? (The message you want to convey, the audience you want to reach)

A: Our vision for Lalibelle is to break patterns and take a stand in themes such as mental illness among other often overlooked societal issues. We’re also hope to bring something new to the table in today’s pop music sound.

 



Q: Who are some of the artists you tend to gravitate to, at least when it comes to finding inspiration / ideas?

A: We’re all very open minded when it comes to sources of inspiration and try not to limit ourselves in any way. We’re also coming from very different musical background so our common playlists could probably be a bit confusing. Before a writing session it’s likely that we listen to anything from Bon Iver, SZA, Erykah Badu, Bob Marley to Paul Simon and lots of west African music. What we have in common is gravitation towards music with some soul in it.



Q: Are there any musicians you want to collaborate with in the future?

A: Careful what you wish for, but we wouldn’t think twice about having a session with Little Dragon, Jorja Smith and Chronixx.



Q: Imagine you had the chance to open up for one current artist right now, who do you think your sound would mesh with (as of right now)?

A: We would love to surprise the fans of AC/DC and get them grooving with us – what an experience that would be!

 


Q: Speaking of shows, y’all are performing at Öland Roots 2018 this summer. What are your expectations? Are you nervous?

A: We are so excited about playing at Öland Roots. Not nervous now but it’s definitely a milestone for us all so will need some stress-coping mechanisms before going up on the stage.

 



Q: Are there any places y’all would like to travel in order to promote your music?

A: Addis Abeba and New York 🙂 Balance seems to stream a lot in the Philippines so maybe we should reach out to the fans there first.



Q: Where do you think you would be the most shocked to find out there’s people listening to your song(s)?

A: Hmm. The international space station maybe. If anyone there is listening, let us know!



Q: Because Lalibelle is a trio, it’s only expected that sometimes there may be creative differences / personality clashes, at times. What are some qualities you admire about each other? Why do you think Lalibelle has worked so far?

A: We’re all very musically open-minded and believe that all ideas are great ideas when creating. At later stages of the process we often try to get feedback from people around us  and sometimes that helps us make some of the final decisions. Don’t think we ever got into any big fights and the secret to that is to have very clear roles and great trust in each other.



Q: What should we expect from Lalibelle in 2018?

A: Our plan is to release 4 more tracks this year so there’s some exciting things ahead.



Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?

A: We’re so thankful! It was a scary thing to release such a naked song and to see that it’s so well received means the world to us.


Be sure to listen to their debut single “Balance” by clicking here.

If you want to stay updated about future music releases or upcoming performances make sure to follow them on: SoundCloud and Facebook

Meet Swedish Pop Singer: Kassandra. “I think, as an artist you’ve got to choose what you want to communicate. . .”

In this interview we meet Kassandra, the electro-pop artist coming all the way out of Sweden. In the midst creating her project Fantasma, she generously spared some time to speak with me on topics such as the current state of music in Europe, debuting almost five years ago, and what we should expect from her in the future!

 

Read below for full interview:


 

Q: For the readers who are being introduced to you today, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: Hello! I’m a passionate and nerve wrecking singer, songwriter who’s 100% part of my music productions, from Stockholm/Sweden. It’s also safe to say I’m opinionated, stubborn and at the same time silly af. As a person I wouldn’t call myself happy, although I want to make sure everyone else is which makes me a little clowny. I’m pretty talented in various sorts of aesthetics but pretty darn terrible at things like earning money.

 

 

 

Q: Is music something you’ve always been interested in?

A: I sort of always stumbled across opportunities, applying to music schools and getting in, ever since I was a child. To be honest I was more into doing arts with my bare hands than making music for a long time, but the environments I was in made music the easiest way to imagine some sort of artistic career.

 

 

Q: When did you realize you wanted to do it professionally?

A: It wasn’t until I found the blues at age 17 that I really understood singing is my core expression. Plus, having grown up side by side and dreaming together with some of Sweden’s pop stars of today such as Icona Pop and Tove Lo, has of course triggered me to do something more with my singing.

In 2008 I moved to London and besides playing with my live band, I was put into auditions and sessions but frankly, hated the music I was singing. Three years on and realizing I needed to be able to introduce my personal sound to the industry before going into sessions, I moved back and taught myself some basic music production. Eventually I found my perfect producer match; Martin, this metal guy writing songs for Polish pop stars who worked in a studio deep in the forests of the country, too many bus hours from Stockholm to mention… But when I found him I knew “this is it”.

 

 

Q: Is becoming a musician something your family/friends was supportive of?

A: Everyone has always been beyond supportive, but more for their pleasure of listening than for me surviving economically I’d say. It’s easy for people to have ideas and give advice on how I should be doing this, but it’s such a fragile thing and no one but me will ever know how to do it in the way that I feel is right. Sometimes it feels rather like a curse than a great thing to know that this is what you’re aimed to be doing.

Overall, yes, very supportive. Through some phases I’ve wanted to just let go of the inhumane idea of pursuing a music career as a female indie artist, but it’s when I see the questioning and shocked faces of the people around me, that I’ve understood I better just keep going.

 

 

 

Q: You are from Stockholm which is the home of artists such as Loreen, Léon, and Tove Lo, do you think Sweden is finally getting the recognition it deserves?

A: Well, I don’t know… Personally, I think Swedes are suffering from serious hybris when it comes to our music export and that is ever since ABBA. I don’t believe I’m possessed with this hubris hysteria within the Swedish music industry, although I’m majorly proud of my well deserved friend and old roomie Tove Lo. ❤

 

 

Q: Speaking of Loreen, the way I was introduced to music from overseas was because of her performance during Eurovision Song Contest. Eurovision has been held in Sweden two times in the last 5 years, the last time being in Stockholm in 2016. If they were to be held there again, would you think about trying out?

A: Over my dead body. There’s no risk in universe.

 

 

Q: A lot of the music from Europe that makes airwaves here in America is typically pop, you do have songs that are pop but there are some cases where you incorporate genres such as trap and even a little reggae; do you think it is important to experiment with different genres or should artists stick to one sound?

A: Artistry and sound don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand according to me. Although, at some stage – in today’s social media boomed society – I think, as an artist you’ve got to choose what you want to communicate and that includes the sound.

I personally separate what I “inhale” from what I “exhale”; meaning what I take in/listen to, for pleasure/cure doesn’t exactly match with what I’m in need of creating and expressing musically. Those are two different things. I listen to quite minimal, electronic indie music with no clear pop melody such as Kllo or FKA Twigs, because I need to calm my brain, while my own expression is much more dramatic and melodic.

I’m not a huge fan of radio hit songs and feel that Swedish songwriters generally are, but since I origin from here I’m obviously influenced by the Scandinavian way of writing songs. I’ve always been torn between what I feel l am and how I sound but after many years of experimenting I feel like I’ve now come to the perfect, distinct sound of Kassandra.

 

Q: Who were/are some of your musical influences?

A: Aretha, Janis, Nina, Ray

 

Q: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with in the future?

A: Blood Orange!!! And someone at the radio please…

 

Q: Do you have a dream collaboration?

A: Singing opera with Grace Jones. There’s a YouTube clip I can watch over and over where Pavarotti had the honour to do it.

 

Q: What are your favorite 3 songs out right now?

A: Nikes by Frank Ocean, In The Morning by Nao, not Despacito…

 

Q: You released one of your first songs Abdicate in 2013, do you remember what you felt to release your first piece of music for others to hear? Were you nervous about how it would be received?

A: Abdicate took two years to finish and it’s still not yet mastered. As a nobody in this industry and on top of that a girl, it is a struggle just to make people believe in you and want to put their precious time on you so after a lot of convincing I finally had it finished.

Yet a year later when I was mentally crashed from my full time job I woke up one morning and just felt “fuck it, I’ve got to just throw myself out there” and used Universal’s distribution site for unsigned artists for the release on where Martin found me! So I suppose the crash did something good/meaningful in the end. But to answer your question; I was terrified.

 


Q: Since then you have released a number of songs including “Run and No Longer Lovers“, what is the process you go through when creating a song? How do you usually come up an idea of what to write about?

A: I collect stories, not one night stands. I think that’s how I fill up with content. My forthcoming album Fantasma is all about how to live like a human being as the survival spirit of a killed relationship. I was in a 7 year relationship which I realized I had to cut. From the darkest rooms my songs are being created. For me I don’t get any stimulants from re-telling a happy, pleasant experience. Cliché as it sounds, but writing songs is my therapy. There’s no other way to put it.

Kassandra (storia.fantasma) 02

Q: Your latest song “Friend Zone, was released last June. Can you briefly explain what the song is about?

A: I’m quoting my words on it from my official Facebook page on the release day:

“I wrote this one in the midst of a sudden turn in life. In the feeling or non-feeling of being weightless and not being able to predict the outcome, as the income came as unpredictably. Or predictably. Not even my gut knew anymore. I let the words flow from my brain through my tongue into a computer and haven’t changed a single one since that one demo recording. No metaphors, no beautiful, brainy sentence could make this song sound “a little less sad”. FriendZone equals complete darkness – the experience of murder and death of something which was intended to be so alive and so sweet and how you, after having made the decision to slice two bleeding hearts into pieces, will have to eat them for dinner, night after night, after night, after night afterwards.”

 

Q: Out of all the songs you have released what are your top 3 and why.

A: Abdicate – because it was a milestone for me to have it finished and then for my self critical persona to dare to throw it out in the cyber world.

Run – because it’s the first song that I felt was 100% “me” after all the years of working towards my sound. It was also the first one I release together with Martin and it got a huge response with no PR what so ever.

No Longer Lovers – because it’s my first release after having been bound to a major record deal for two long years (it was supposed to be three but I managed to get out of it finally). And then again, a huge response even though released all indie with no PR backing me up. It was just another sign that proved to me that I know my vision best.

 

 

Q: What kind of advice could you give someone who may want make a career out of music but is too scared of what others might think?

A: I’d say, don’t do it if you’re scared. There is no spare room or time to worry about what others might think. You are too easily replaced in this industry, it doesn’t matter how talented you are. And regarding family etc. who means well in telling you not to go for a music career – there’s no point in trying to convince anyone of that this is a clever choice of work. If YOU know you gotta do it, you just gotta. When it’s a matter of feeling alive or feeling like a walking dead, I choose the feeling alive option.

 

Kassandra (fantasma) 01

Q: You have officially been out for nearly five years and have yet to reach mainstream success. For a lot of artists, especially independent artist, they tend to give up because they feel their efforts aren’t being shown. What has kept you going for this long, and do you have any words of wisdom for other aspiring artists?

A: To be fair, I have given up many times. Strangely, I always tend to be sliding back in here after a couple of months trying to live like an ordinary homo sapiens, going to my job, getting promoted yada yada. But two months is apparently enough for my urge to do this. And it’s all thanks to people like yourself which motivates me to continue, thank you for that!

While now famous artists have been releasing music that has changed a lot through the years, I could say that I’ve been experimenting in “silence”. I guess I respect my project and potential listeners so bad that it’s been the way for me to grow into the artist I am and to be sure I present a cohesive sound and artistry. I’m very sensitive and obsessed with and dedicated to honesty.

I would say: Don’t listen to men, like really don’t. And let me explain. I don’t mean that men have nothing to say or add to your vision. I mean, just don’t make yourself think they know something about you and your potential and how it should be managed, better than you do, because they don’t and never will. No decision I’ve ever made with my brain has taken me somewhere I’d wanna stay. When times are rough or when you’re lacking experience in the industry it’s easy to start trusting in what people with more power say they’ve got to offer. But I say, don’t waste your time, just keep going with your heart and conviction.

 

 

Q: You’ve been signed previously but now you are independent. Do you feel there are benefits to being signed? Do you think a machine (label) is still needed when we have platforms such as social media to connect with others and find success?

A: The machine is going down. At least until a new generation is taking over who understands the part of which the machine is ought to play today and will do onwards. The role of the labels is changing majorly at the moment and they’ve got to adapt to and follow this change before they lose all the brilliant artists out there and they really don’t have any work anymore.

Kassandra - Run

 

Q: If I were to introduce someone to your music, what song would you want me to play for them?

A: Run

 

Q: Last but not least, do you have anything you want to tell your supporters?


A: Please stay patient and please follow me on Instagram/Facebook . . . (also request live shows)


To stay updated with Kassandra make sure to follow her on: Instagram, SoundCloud

To listen to her latest song Friendzone, click here.