THE first interview of this weekend…
is with the fantastic Isak Danielson. I have been speaking with him about the new single, Always, and what its story is. The songwriter reveals whether there is going to be more material coming; how he gets that arresting and incredible voice; what it feels like getting big press plaudit and attention – he selects a new artist to watch.
I ask Danielson which artists have been instrumental regarding his music; the three albums he holds dearest; whether there are going to be tour dates; if he gets time to chill away from his career – he chooses a Beatles classic to end the interview with.
Hi, Isak. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m very well, thanks. It’s been good; on my way back home from Stockholm at the moment - where I’ve been finishing some final details on the album and rehearsing with my band.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My music comes from my heart so, lyrically and production-wise, depends on what I’m feeling at the time I made the record. The genre is Soul/Pop. I think the best way to explain it is that it’s mood music: if you’re in the right mood for my kind of music it fits well.
Always is your new single. What is the story behind the track?
It’s about a beautiful girl who got my attention but didn’t give me any back. Sadness is what inspires me the most and, if you listen to the song, it may seem happy but the story is quite sad.
Your voice has a very deep and arresting quality! Did that come naturally? Do you have to work hard on your voice?!
Thank you! I don’t work hard on my voice. I think I’ve been inspired by many great singers and tried to copy and then ended up with a mix...if that makes any sense?
Is there going to be more material next year? How far ahead are you looking?
I like to live in the now, so I don't look too far into the future - but, there is a third single coming in September and an album in October. I also have about four new songs for the second album.
You have gained a lot of success so far. Do all the plaudits and great reviews give you the drive to keep going and know that your work is resonating?!
It does! But, I have a big ego that needs to be fed and I’m never happy about things for too long, so I always need something new and something bigger. Hehe. So, most of the plaudits and reviews brush off quite quickly.
Who are the artists that inspire you and led you to get into songwriting?
When it comes to songwriting, I’m inspired by Amy Winehouse, Sia; Diane Warren and Sam Smith to name a few.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
To release my debut album and be proud of it; that the people who will hear will be inspired and listen to the lyrics on every song. I also hope to meet some of the people from social media who have supported and inspired me to make the album.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Hard question. I think singing to Leona Lewis and hearing her tell me she loved me has definitely stuck.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Little Girl Blue - Nina Simone
Because Nina Simone is a big inspiration and to me someone who has made history in more ways than just her music.
The Best Of - Monica Zetterlund
Monica Zetterlund was a Swedish Jazz singer and, after hearing her song Sakta Vi Går Genom Stan, it was the first time I knew I wanted to sing.
These Streets - Paolo Nutini
This is just one of my favourite albums; not one bad song. Also, I have great memories with this album.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
A dream would be to go on tour with Adele.
My rider would be loads of vegan food, fruit; vegetables and champagne (smiles).
Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?
I am playing two shows in Sweden in August - Gothenburg and Stockholm. I’m also coming to L.A. in October where I will do a showcase (also in New York after that).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To stay true to what you like and what you feel but also let yourself be inspired by the people around you. You also have to believe in yourself to a 100%; that you’re the best at what you do and never give up!
IN THIS PHOTO: Léon/PHOTO CREDIT: Sandra Viktoria Thorsso
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Léon is a girl from Sweden who is doing well. If you haven’t heard I think you should definitely check her out.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I spend time with my dogs and chickens. I also live close to the ocean. Nature really calms me down, so that's a good thing. I don’t think I ever unwind 100%, though... (Smiles).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Play Blackbird by The Beatles. Love that song!
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