Up-and-coming Soleima has been officially brought to America this year (after being discovered thanks to her flawless No. 14 debut EP last year) by Atlantic Records via its Big Beat imprint. And this is a good thing for pop lovers. Hopefully the journey of Soleima will be kind of similar to that of fellow Danish singer MØ. MØ's music (which like Soleima's is a unique spin on electro-pop) was already great before she came to America but it got even better once she got access to renowned producers, i.e Major Lazer, thanks to her major label's contacts.
So, I recently interviewed Soleima for Direct Lyrics and I asked her all about her new EP, my favorite song Low Life, the progress of her career to date, and of course some travel advice for fans wanting to visit Denmark.
Get to know Soleima a little better with the read below and make sure to go stream the Bulldog EP today!
1. Hi Soleima! Where are you answering this Q&A from and how’s your day been like so far?
Well, I’m here in New York City at the Atlantic Records office. And so far, I woke up, took a shower, came here, have done some interviews, ate some candy, and now we’re here!
2. You newest single is “Low Life.” For those out there who are not as familiar with it yet, how would you describe your new song, the story and the sound?
“Low Life” is a song about daring to do what you want in life, and to be happy. And it’s a song that I wrote to my brother actually when he was struggling… He grew up with some difficult circumstances, and has been struggling. While he still loves life, he is kind of just fighting to be happy and to come to a good place in his life. So it’s very much about empowering yourself… it’s a very personal song for me. And as far as the sound, my producer and I like to call my music “Garage Pop” – this mix between electronic and organic stuff.
3. It looks like you shot the music video for “Low Life” on a very cold day in view of the huge winter jacket you wore. What anecdotes do you remember from the music video filming?
Actually yes, it was this insanely cold day and we were in this weird warehouse, and there was no heat. It was outside, so I don’t know if was “fun” or not but it was amazingly hard work because we were all there – I was having our makeup done, changing my clothes, everything in this freezing warehouse. The whole team was just standing hugging each other to keep warm. But the jacket helped, and it’s a Danish brand actually. It’s a really really cool brand, called Spectre.
4. Talk to us about your new project "Bulldog".
Bulldog is a release where the dogma has been to write songs without thinking so much about where they fit in the world, or what kind of life they should have when they’re done. Instead, the process of writing has been the most important thing. Personally it’s very important for me to focus my songwriting on that process. Sometimes these days you tend to think a lot about, ‘Oh, does it fit here?’ and it has been super important for me to kind of take a step back from all of that. I think that’s important to prevent music from getting homogenous. So that’s very much the process with this next “Bulldog” mini album and it turned out well - I’m happy about it!
5. You were in a Danish hip-hop group, is it different now being on your own and do you think that your music now is at all influenced by that experience?
Yeah it definitely is, because that was how I learned how to play. We were seven people, and we all played an instrument – no backtracks or background vocal tracks. So that was how I learned how to play music with other people. I think I’m always going to have that with me. Also the inspiration from back then is something that kind of made me who I am. So that’s, that’s definitely still there. But also it’s very different. The process of making your own music and making your own decisions solely you – one person – is definitely way different.
6. Your music is now getting pushed in the US thanks to Big Beat Records, Atlantic and Warner. How excited are you that you have so many people around the world believing in your talent, and helping push it out there?
Oh my God, yes. That’s a really good question. Obviously it feels extremely good when people believe in what you do and want to be a part of taking it out and sending it to the world. I feel very humble about that actually, and also proud. I guess it’s very much like a pat on the shoulder and now I just have to keep on doing what I’m doing.
7. What types of artists did you listen to growing up – whether from Denmark or elsewhere around the world?
I listened to a lot of types of music. I grew up with old school R&B – Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and stuff like that. That was kind of what we listened to at my home… and then also Britney Spears and Spice Girls and artists like that. And then when I became a little older, I listened a lot to old school hip-hop, like WuTang and People Under The Stairs and The Roots, so that was definitely a big inspiration for me. And now I listen to more experimental pop music.
7a. Cool – so a little bit of everything!
Yeah, yeah I guess. I think all of the music has always been very organic, which is kind of what attracts me.
8. So speaking of the music you’re listening to now, are there any specific artists that you can’t stop listening to?
Yes, so many. I think there are so many great artists right now. I listen a lot to this English girl called Nao who is really good. Then I listen a lot to the Chance The Rapper album, “Coloring Book.” I can’t get enough of that. This English artist called Jai Paul has inspired me a lot as well. I think Mura Masa as well is super great. There’s a lot of music I just really enjoy.
9. Finally, why should we and our readers go visit Denmark?
I think Denmark has always been a fun country. It’s this really small country with this enormous state – we have this model where we pay half in taxes, and we have everything for free. It gives us this community sense I think – people feel very connected (or at least that’s how I look at it). And Copenhagen is always just a fun city to visit. There’s a lot of clubs and restaurants and really great places to go. Denmark is a really fun place to go, if you haven’t been there. Come, visit us!
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