OVER the weekend; I hope I can find time to…
PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Grand-Pierre
collate the finest artists playing in Australia – a part of the world I do not examine nearly as much as I’d like to. Before then, and, with a duty in mind, I wanted to highlight an artist who, to me, seems to represent all the good things about modern music. I will collect interview snippets and biography about Skott; a selection of her tracks/videos (at the end) and why she is someone to watch closely. In the coming weeks, like my Globetrotting series, I am going to bring some great artists into the fold. There is something teasing and mysterious about the Swedish artist. She is gaining traction in this country – thanks to her incredible songwriting and dedicated P.R./promotion teams – but, it seems, there is even more to the eye than one might imagine. It would have been easy for Skott, arriving from a modest community and background, to play a simple and aimless brand of Folk. At the weekend, again, time-permitting, I want to examine the rise of singer-songwriters and whether the acoustic/Indie movement is coming back – and whether artists like Ed Sheeran are taking it in the right direction. I have a lot of fondness for Folk artists – Billie Marten and Laura Marling, between them, have created two of my favourite albums in recent years – but, outside of that, I look for artists who manage to bring colour, contrast and eclectic insight into their music.
Skott is an independent and intuitive songwriter who does what is best for the song. She does not follow the patter and direction of the mainstream. Heavyweight Pop stars like Lorde and Katy Perry are fans: between them, the former especially, is no stranger to defying convention and producing an intelligent and mature brand of music. It is kudos and encouragement to Skott she has that patronage but, to be fair, she has earned her stripes the honest way. Rather than flaunting her (very obvious) natural beauty and femininity: the talented songwriter is the embodiment of the Antifolk movement that, thankfully, is starting to grow. Against the gloss, glitter and glamour of the mainstream; rather ironically, a song like Glitter & Gloss is a song one can compare to few others. There is an aspect of the legendary and established Pop/Electro scene in Sweden. Skott, someone who spends a lot of time here, takes aspects of classic Swedish Pop with their modern Electro; aspects of British Folk and American Pop. It is a kinetic, compelling and sense-heightening creation from a songwriter, you know, takes time to craft and consider elegance. The physicality, rush and unexpected intensity of the track grabs sunshine, sexuality and sensation together: drips in a suggestion of gasoline and sets the mother*cking thing alight! A summer-ready song that, rather unsurprisingly, has received healthy radio-play since its release – the fact it was released late in January was a premature, but confident, slice of summer.
IN THIS PHOTO: The cover art for Skott's latest single, Mermaid
Porcelain, the debut single, was a more beautiful and fragile bird. The rare and unique lyrical impressions, matched with a combination of Pop edge and Folk tenderness, is a song that addresses the fragility of structure and certainty. Even if one constructs and carefully curates a trust and relationship it can, for instance, break and shatter without warning. Lesser artists could throw cliché and tropes into a song lazy of composition and nuance. In many ways; Skott is a younger and less eccentric version of Björk. Mermaid, the new and already-celebrated track from Skott, is getting a massive amount of love from social media and journalists alike. Whereas earlier songs have emphasised the beats, electronics and sonic mood: here, there seems to be a bigger role for the voice. Skott, in all her peacock-like plumage, spreads her voice to create a song, at once striking and rushing; the next, sensual and ruminating. The song, in the manner its vocal soars and the composition creates tapestry and visions – and some typically assured vocals – reminds me, in a good way, of Björk and her innovations. It is hardly a shock, considering Skott was raised in a forest commune with musical outcasts, she has the dexterity and resourcefulness to find nutrition, sustenance and guidance from resources around her. In her mid-teens was the first time Skott experienced the rush and activity of the city – that, contrasting her more rustic and impressionistic lifestyle. One hears these disparate lives combine in songs like Mermaid. From a young woman who, during her childhood, would have been surrounded by a fair degree of art and storytelling – I can see where her she has gained those skills and qualities.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Grand-Pierre
In every song, not only Mermaid; the music videos are as striking and important as the song. Looking at Skott’s social media feed and it seems like the set-up and filming of Mermaid’s video was more complicating and time-consuming that one might imagine from the timelapse, accelerated videos of its creation. Few artists take as much care when it comes to videos: the feeling time is money and - money is best earned rather than spent. There is such a desire for quick music and fast turnaround. Skott is the antithesis and counterculture pin-up girl who throws an imperious look to those seeking a sexy, lurid video and easily accessible tune. Her music and visual/aesthetic sense is one of the main reasons Skott is unlike anyone else. She has topped various charts and been featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday lists – radio support from Annie Mac and Zane Lowe. Some big names have given their views on a rare talent but, in fairness, that is the least she deserves. There are so many like-minded artists who are competing in a compacted market. So few expend time forging a real identity and freshness: something that is mainstream-worthy but not too polished and generic. Skott takes guidance from artists in the mainstream but her music, as much as anyone, is from her own imagination and experiences. That transition from Swedish woodland to the various cities she has played in can only go into their music – it is impossible not to be impacted by that transition and awakening.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Louise Bennett/Dork
Skott has spent a lot of time in the U.K. and has a connection with the fans. She is someone who belongs to the world but, if she was to reside and settle somewhere; one hopes it would be somewhere like London. I am not sure if that is in her thoughts because, right now, she is making plans. Mermaid suggests an album cannot be far away: I am not sure when/if it is imminent but one can detect the approaching murmur of an L.P. I can imagine, when that sees the light of day, the visual/physical aspect will be a huge consideration. I have not mentioned Skott’s single artwork which, uniformly, is eye-catching and stunning. Each song gets a different design and, alongside the videos, one is treated to incredible sites and beautiful designs. The ‘Skott Experience’ is more than the music itself. I cannot wait for an album because, when it makes its way to vinyl, you can bet there will be lots of pictures, inserts and great bits of arts. Maybe she will release different-coloured records and create a unique promotional campaign. I am not sure how the end of the year looks but, seeing as Skott is a woman whose music is capable of adding warmth in winter – raising the sweat-levels in summer – she is not bothered fitting in with festival schedules and releasing an album at the ‘perfect’ moment. She will unveil one when she’s damned ready and, let’s hope, there is something more before the year-end. Dates in Stockholm and London will feature in the next couple of months: she has played Lollapalooza and big festivals around the world.
So what of Skott's future?! Why should one spend time listening to her music? Take a listen to the videos below and experience how she has matured and developed as an artist. All of her songs are fantastic but, charting her rise and evolution; a distinct upping of the confidence and desire to succeed. With every passing month; Skott seems to pick up new influence and incorporates that into her music. Big tour dates and attention can only add to her confidence and drive her even more. Most her life has been spent moving from one life to the other: acclimatising to the first flourishes of music and adapting to the demands of the road. Things will get easier and better but, considering how many people are throwing their arms around Skott, she is doing something right – and doing it right now. There’s urgency in everything she does: success and fame are not the big motives and drives: she wants to create spellbinding songs that mark her aside from her peers. That is happening and, more than that, a personality that is hers alone. I have mentioned artists like Björk - but mentioned her in very flattering circumstances. Both are different but, like Björk; Skott is finding new ways to push music forward and create something long-lasting. I believe Skott’s music will distinguish itself so far above her peers she will have the same effect and impact as Björk. From album to album; one will chart developments and new themes – whether the heartache of love or the need to discover new lands and people. Sounds and visuals will go with that: whether Skott gives herself a personal makeover – or invents a new sub-genre – it is exciting watching the Swedish-born artist grow and smile. The music is sensational and winning hearts. The future is open for Skott: a woman who can change music and take the, rather stilted, mainstream to…
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Louise Bennett/Dork
RARE new heights.