Skott on Her Unreleased Singles And Swedish Folk Music
Hailing from a traditional Swedish village that runs on folk music and unity, Skott has finally found her way to the States. The Scandinavian singer-songwriter is fresh off of performances in Los Angeles, SXSW and of course, New York City. Having only several shows under her belt, Skott is taking the music industry by storm with her soft spoken, yet poised and confident nature that makes her presence hard to go unnoticed—though her signature body paint may contribute to that as well.
With just five singles out thus far, you’re sure to fall in love with at least half of them (but probably all of them). A testimony to the saying “opposites attract,” Skott builds her music on the basis of contrasts, finding the harmonic balance between a fat bass and her delicate vocals. She produces a sound that’s as unexpected, but satisfying to listen to as salty and sweet is to taste. Thanks to this impressive Swedish song bird, we can now add “soft strong” music to our list of favorite oxymorons, alongside jumbo shrimp and virtual reality. We sat down with Skott to get the full scoop on how her style of music developed and the two singles that she plans to release in the upcoming months. Check out her music video for “Glitter & Gloss” and the full interview, below.
Congrats on your show in New York! How does it feel, showing your work online and getting likes or tweets, then performing live face-to-face with your audience and receiving that instant gratification?
That’s a good question because that’s really interesting to think about. I mean just to get a tweet from Katy Perry and see the numbers of how many people are listening to the music—so cool. But you don’t really understand it, because it’s just numbers. The first time I really got it I think was when I saw people sing along in the audience, that’s when you really understand that people are really listening and connecting to your songs. So, it’s a completely different thing to be facing them like that, not through numbers or a screen, to actually meet the audience.
You had a pretty unique upbringing, so I’ve read—could you talk about how that has informed your style of music?
Yeah, but it’s not as crazy as some blogs have been writing. I grew up in a village that is very traditional, with a lot of folk music and its own customs. But it’s not a commune, we don’t trade with food or anything, we have money, we buy our food, we have cars and radios. I guess it is quite different, but I didn’t start to realize that until I traveled. That was normal to me.
Swedish folk music is quite melancholic, it probably has a lot to do with the seasons and the rain and everything. I think I have some of that in my writing, there’s some kind of darkness that I do, some mystery, or just melancholy—it doesn’t have to be sad but just have that hint. I also played the violin since I was a kid, just like everyone else in my village. So I tried to write melodies for the violin, the thing is, because there are no chords, it’s just a melody instrument, and we didn’t have a piano or guitar at that time, so when I wrote songs on my violin, it was so important that the melody was good and strong by itself without cool chords or anything. So I guess I was just training myself in coming up with cool melodies.
So clearly, you’ve been exposed to music since such a young age. When did you decide to pursue it?
I started to make video game music, like producing simple blip music for fun, because I had some friends that were making really simple games and I just loved that, it was so much fun. To think of a situation and a world, and say now I’m going to be on a draft in the ocean, what kind of soundtrack would it be? So much fun! So I thought maybe I wanted to be a composer, or write music for films. Then I started listening more to pop later, after the video game music era, I was maybe 15 or 16 at that time. I got really inspired by Muse. Then I started to write pop songs which was when I started to really explore my voice, because I hadn’t really had the chance to do that before, besides in the shower. I also got a piano within that time. I never thought about that before, but when I got the piano is when the ball started rolling for my own music, vocals, songwriting. Then, because I was from such a small place and didn’t have any connections in the industry of anything, I applied to school and attended a very unique school whose concept was putting together a bunch of people in a building giving them their own studio each, no classes or homework or anything. All resources were spent on bringing up A&Rs and record companies with leads, saying like “Hey, Cee Lo Green needs a song, try writing something and if you nail it, you get a cut.” Everything was for real. This was in a small town, 7 or 8 hours from Stockholm in the middle of nowhere. Which was pretty smart, because there was nothing else for us to do than just write and write. Because of that school, I got to meet the music industry, it gave me more exposure. Then, people wanted to sign me so that was how it all happened.
And do you have a favorite part of the entire process, between writing and performing? Can you talk about how you develop a relationship between the lyrics and the production in your songs?
It’s all one. The whole thing. I love performing, but I also love the writing process too, but it’s not separate, it becomes complete when you’ve been writing something and then you go and you perform it, and you see it delivered real-time to a crowd. That’s really when the song is complete.
I’ve always been into contrasts, and the balance and the battle between two different elements that clash, but it makes it interesting to me. So most often, it starts with the piano, starting to think of the melody, or it starts with chords. Then the lyrics come, because you feel something and you start understanding after a while what it is you’re feeling and what you want to talk about and the lyrics come. It’s just like, I have to take the song, the production, wherever the song wants to go. It’s organic. The song decides what kind of production. If I need a house beat, or a hip hop beat, it doesn’t matter of the genre, but the song will meet its best potential. I have to give into that, I have to do it in the production and not feel limited to stick to some kind of genre. I identify my style of music with pop because it’s so wide. There’s a lot to play with.
As of now you have five singles out, but at your performance you played two that are unreleased. Can you tell us more about that and what to expect from you, new singles or an EP?
Both of those songs should be out this year, “Mermaid”, and “In the Mood” but I have other songs as well that I have done, waiting to be released. I was just discussing that, and I don’t know yet how I want to deliver the package exactly. I know I’m working on a full album that will hopefully be out in around a year, but before that there may be some singles, there may be some EPs.
Could you pick a lyric or two from your body of works that you would see as a message for your audience?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, of course I connect to all of them, but I’d say “Porcelain”. It says that things that matter in life are fragile and we are fragile and it’s about being honest about that and the battle of taking care of all of the things that are fragile in life and the moments where you feel like you can’t sometimes.
Is fashion and style something that you’re conscious of? As an artist, it’s certainly part of the package, so do you consider that deliberately, or does it happen naturally?
I mean I do think about it, because I think it’s fun, along with everything else that’s visual. But also, I haven’t really had time to get new wardrobe that’s good for stage, but I think it’s fun. On stage, I try to wear things of color, it’s vibrant and easier to stand out from the background. Wearing black makes you disappear into the background. I like to wear things that make me feel strong and confident. For me that’s clothes that is quite androgynous, but still feminine–also a bit royal, a lot of fabric, flowy, comfortable but still impactful, I like that. It goes with the music and it goes with the world that I’m in.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or talk about that we haven’t touched upon?
Yeah, I guess I can tell you about the drawings and body paint that I do. A lot of people have thought that they’re real tattoos, but they’re actually always changing. My idea was to change them for every show, but I haven’t really figured out how to do that because sometimes they can take up to one or two hours to do them. But for press photos and stuff, I usually have body art. I use different media, sometimes it’s air brush, sometimes it’s done professionally, but the simple things I do myself. The first time, I had signs that represented all of the people that were a part of my life and my journey, but I always have the Skött crest on me. Our farm in the village has been in my family for generations, 400 years I think that we’ve been on that land. So everything on the farm has our crest on it for people to know what belonged to what family. That’s why I love the crest so much, growing up it was everywhere.
Featured image courtesy of Skott
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