She is consolidating herself as one of the best new talents emerging in the Swedish music scene. But her influences go much further than Sweden. Talking to her was an absolute delight, and you can see why below. These are our 10 questions for Peg Parnevik:
Sounds European!: Let's start with going back in time. What artists did you use to listen when you were a kid? Who were your music idols then? And do you feel they have any influence on the music you are currently making?
Peg Parnevik: When I was in middle school, high school, I went through a bit of an angsty phase, so I only listened to American pop punk. My favorite band was (and is) Mayday Parade. I think bands like Mayday, Go Radio, The Maine, All Time Low, have a very unique skill for creating lyrics that hit you right in the heart, lyrics made for young adults trying to figure everything out. In that way, they definitely influenced my own writing. I'm usually pretty picky with my words and like quirky, clever phrases rather than what everybody's using. My parents made us listen to the classics too – everything from Bowie to Johnny Cash. From Bowie, Freddie Mercury, and the legends, I learned the importance of being 110% yourself, and not being afraid of being weird and different – and if someone doesn't like you, they can simply screw off.
SE!: You are part of the famous and awarded TV show Parneviks. Can you tell our readers a bit about how the show works? Furthermore, do you feel your success with it helped opening doors to your music career?
PP: The show basically follows my family's day-to-day life, with a variety of guests. They get to see all the ups and downs and in-betweens. It's like the Swedish Kardashians, except my mom always wears her pajamas on and nobody has a stylist.
I definitely think the show gave me more of a catapult into the music world. We had developed a bit of a following, so I knew the fans would support me in almost any endeavor. But fame doesn't always mean talent. Fame doesn't mean hard work. I work my ass off and put my heart and soul into my music. People don't listen to a song because of a TV show, they listen because they can relate, because they think it's good.
SE!: You signed to Sony Music, and debuted as a solo artist in 2016. How did the contact with Sony happen? What were your aspirations when you signed the deal? And how were your first experiences recording music?
PP: It all started with a family friend, Josefin Glenmark, and her colleague, Erik Lewander. They came to my house in Florida after talking to my parents about my interest in music. We messed around with a piano and my idea "Mama didn't raise no saint, daddy didn't raise no fool". We got to record it in the most amazing studio and order pizza, never really knowing where we were headed. It was just supposed to be fun, and a learning experience. A couple of weeks later, Josefin tells me the song got played for some people and Sony was sending over contract options. I was in school at the time, so I was like "Alright, Sony wants to sign me, but I also have this project to turn in tomorrow, so...". It was extremely surreal.
I didn't have any expectations or aspirations, really, I just knew I wanted a team that would support me and hear me 100%. I was mostly scared I would be swept up and lose my voice in it all.
Being in the studio, in the beginning, was awesome but scary. I didn't want to mess up or seem like a newbie. But I had people wanting to create stories from my words and experiences, and turn them into beautiful songs. That was a dream come true. I'll always be a writer before an artist, so having this newfound creative freedom was amazing.
SE!: Your musical success came as quickly as it could. Your first single reached #2 in the Swedish charts, and the following ones also had great reception from the audience. How did you feel when your songs started getting great airplay, and people were showing their love towards them?
PP: Hearing my songs on the radio or playing them live and hearing everybody sing along is the best feeling in the world. I'm so thankful for all my fans and all the support I'm given every single day. I feel like I still have caught up to myself, everything is a constant whirlwind.
SE!: Your history allows you to have a very unique mix, musically speaking. You are Swedish, and you have strong connections with the United States. They are two of the biggest music industries in the world. Do you feel this mix is reflected on your music? What parts of your work would you say are more Swedish and more American?
PP: I think it's definitely interesting to "feel" more American, but then have this Swedish side, and to work with Swedish writers and producers. It makes for a unique mix of music. I think the music itself is pretty Swedish in its core, but my lyrics are always going to be "Americanized", because I grew up in Florida and was influenced by the American music market.
"People don't listen to a song because of a TV show, they listen because they can relate, because they think it's good"
(Picture: official Facebook page)
(Picture: official Facebook page)
SE!: Still talking about your music. We feel it's a very modern electropop which values a good vocal chorus, instead of using the currently common "easy escape" of electronic choruses. What do you think about it? And how would you qualify, in genre and style, your own music?
PP: I think my style is always evolving and maturing. I've tried my best to stay true to what I love, what I think is 100% me, and try to avoid buying into the new trend. It's easy just to copy what's on the radio and then pass it off as your own idea. My songs have definitely grown as I've grown, becoming a little edgier and more mature. My first song, "Ain't no saint", isn't exactly like my EP – but what stays the same is the attitude, the in-your-face and honest voice that comes through. I would say it's pop with hints of R&B and electro here and there.
SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?
PP: I just did a summer-long tour and I feel like I need a break right now to just be proud of myself and calm down for a second. I've been writing in between gigs, and I have some songs that I desperately want to share. I've just released my first EP, so I still want my fans to take that in, listen to it as a whole body of work, pick their favorites, etc. I'm definitely going to release something in the fall, most likely something with a lot of power, an anthem.
SE!: Still thinking about the future. Your career is still brand new, full of possibilities. What do you still dream of achieving?
PP: I still feel like such a rookie, and I'm really just looking forward to growing, becoming better at performing, writing, collaborating, all that. I want to get outside of Sweden and share my music with Europe and the whole world. But right now, I'm focusing on improving my live performance and writing for other artists.
SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Swedish and international artists you'd like to collaborate with?
PP: I'd die to work with Lorde! She's a brilliant writer. As far as collaborations go, I would love to do something with Jon Bellion, Tove Lo, Julia Michaels, Elliphant or Lady Gaga.
SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Peg Parnevik, and why?
PP: My favorite song is "10K Angels". It was written kind of by accident. I wasn't supposed to be in that session, but I jumped in with Pontus Pettersson and Hayley Aitken, and it was magic. I think it was a mix of the gloomy Swedish weather and just this really heavy, heartbroken feeling I had weighing on me that day. It's like a twisted love letter to everyone that's ever broken your heart, it just knocks the wind out of you. Or for me, at least.