She is a complete artist. She is a musician, singer, songwriter and producer – and she is great in all of these functions! We had the opportunity of talking to one of the most talented and versatile names of the Swedish music scene. These are our 10 questions for Frida Sundemo:
Sounds European!: Let's begin this interview talking a bit about your background. How were your first encounters with music? And when did you realize it was more than just a hobby?
Frida Sundemo: I can't remember how it started really, it has been a natural part of my life since forever. Everyone in my family sings and plays instruments. But I do remember the longing feeling of wanting to learn to play the piano. I found it so beautiful. And that has always been the driving force for me when it comes to playing or creating music: the beauty of it.
Even though music was a huge part of my life growing up, I never thought that I would work with it professionally. I loved school, especially Math, Physics and Biology, and I wanted to become an engineer or a doctor (or a car designer). But after three and a half years of studying Medicine, I decided to take a break from it and work with music full time for a year or two. Two years turned into six, and I am still on that break – and I don't know exactly when I will go back to the studies. But I am sure I will do it one day. I refuse to think I couldn't do both things in this life!
SE!: You have been part of other stages of the music-making process, such as recording and production – which surely gives you a broader view and a deeper comprehension of how it all works, from scratch to release. Do you feel this additional experience affects the way you create your own music? And which of the stages is your favorite one, and why?
FS: Yeah, I am sure it does! For me, each and every part is important to the creative process. I love all of the steps, more or less, but my favorite thing is arranging the chords and harmonies. Writing lyrics has always been the most complicated part for me, but I think I am getting better and better at it. At least I prioritize the lyrics higher and higher.
SE!: You are also a multi-instrumentalist and a songwriter. What instruments do you play? And how is the process of songwriting for you? What inspires you to write? What do you want people to get from your lyrics?
FS: I actually identify myself more like a musician than a singer. My main instruments are piano, French horn and guitar. But I have also learned some trumpet, violin and bass. Depending on which instrument I am writing music on, different kinds of songs come out. That's pretty interesting, I think – and quite good to know, because when I feel like I am repeating myself songwriting-wise, I can take another instrument and something else will pop up naturally.
I find inspiration from anything, really. A good song, a conversation, feeling sad or happy, feeling bored, a film, a book and sometimes by just digging inside of me. I want people to feel comfort when they listen to my music. And to believe in the future. And sometimes just getting a chance to forget about reality for a second.
SE!: Your lyrics are one of several points which, in our opinion, make your music quite unique. But we would like to hear it from you. How would you describe your music, in genre and style? When you are preparing a new work, what do you intend people to perceive from your songs?
FS: I usually describe my music as electronic cinematic pop. I want the listeners to feel embedded in something calming and empowering. And I want the music to be powerful and cinematic, but without feeling impersonal or distant. Also, I want the music to feel easy to take in, but still to surprise the listener every now and then, not to be too predictable.
SE!: Your releases have been highly acclaimed by critics, not only in Sweden, but also internationally. How does it feel to have your work so well received? Also, your first album was released exclusively in Japan. What made you decide to focus on this market first?
FS: That has been amazing! I am deeply thankful for each and every positive comment about my songs, regardless of whether it is by a tastemaker or someone else. It's always super exciting to release a new song and realize that people actually listen to it and like it! It's almost surreal in a way, because, usually, you have been working on it for quite some time without showing it to anybody else.
On my first album, I collaborated with producer Rasmus Faber, who's had great success in Japan and Asia. He showed my album to his A&R [artists and repertoire] at his record label in Tokyo, and they wanted to release my music too! The album was supposed to be released in the rest of the world too, but just before I signed the deal over here, my Swedish A&R left the label and everything took too much time. Eventually, I had written so much new music, that I wanted to release the new ones instead.
"I have never written music for any specific audience; I create whatever I want to create and I hope that never changes"
SE!: You have just released your first international album. Can you tell us a bit about it? Was it any different to make music thinking on an international audience?
FS: I have never written music for any specific audience; I create whatever I want to create and I hope that never changes. My new album is called "Flashbacks & futures" and I am so excited to get it out there. I have found a lot of inspiration from sci-fi space movies and have been watching video clips of space in the studio when writing some of the music.
SE!: We know you are also an actress. Can you tell us a bit about your acting experience? Also, we can appreciate a very dramatic approach in all your video clips. How would you relate your music with your acting career?
FS: Haha, I love it every time someone calls me an actress, because that's not really how I see myself. But thank you! I was asked to audition for a part in a British film called "Kill your friends", which is based on a novel about the music industry in London in the '90s. I was playing a role that was very close to who I am in reality, which made it pretty uncomplicated. I loved every second of those weeks I got to be a part of that carousel. So many new experiences and worlds to explore! I can definitely feel that there are similarities between acting and being on stage, since performing music is some kind of acting.
SE!: What are your plans for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?
FS: I am in the middle of promoting my album, and I hope I will be able to perform around the world this following year. I am also working on new music, as always.
SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Swedish and international artists you would like to collaborate with?
FS: One Swedish artist I wanted to collaborate with for many years now is Loney Dear, and fact is that dream just came true! I am doing a cover of his song "Violent" on my album and he's featuring on it!
Internationally, I would love to collaborate with Hans Zimmer. That would be amazing.
SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Frida Sundemo, and why?
FS: I could never pick one, I'm sorry. But one that means a lot to me is "For you, love".
This song doesn't have an official video on YouTube, but you can listen to it on Spotify.