People assume that you can achieve your dreams by sitting by and waiting for something to happen, and surely the universe will bless those who deserve it. Sadly so, that is not how the law of attraction works. It takes perseverance, determination, and hard work. All proven to be effective for the Swedish singer/songwriter AWA who professionally matured from a classical school, onto X-Factor to working with producers in London surrounded by a supportive team and label.
Currently based in London, born in Stockholm, AWA is the winner of the first Swedish X-Factor. Even though she is aware of the opportunities the competition might have had, she still decided to take a break and focus on other aspects of being a teenager like studying at university. Fast forward, from the young 15-year-old on a stage on national TV, AWA grew up into a confident woman chasing her dream like never before.
Let’s rewind a bit before everything happened. At the age of 12, AWA chose the route of classical music at Adolf Franklin’s Music School in Stockholm. “I studied classical music in high school for a few years and sang in a choir as a soprano. I truly enjoyed the unity and had heard of the school from my mom, applied three times before I got in, and I’m so thankful my mom convinced me to keep pushing. It has been very helpful for me to have that experience leading to my music today,” AWA explains.
However, for AWA, it wasn’t the smoothest journey of journeys. After getting rejected twice, she got in on a third try. For a kid, rejection can have detrimental effects. I think AWA proved everyone wrong because it shaped her into a hardcore badass woman she is today. She shares who inspired her to keep going:
“I have always been supported by my mom, never pushed but supported in anything I wanted to do. She saw that I had this drive for music and wanted to help me express it in the best way possible. I’m quite spontaneous and don’t let fear lead the way, that mindset has helped tremendously. If I’m not gonna do it, someone else will and that there is room for everyone is some good mantras to keep close to your heart”, she reveals.
Being a part of a high-profile competition airing in front of the whole nation must be difficult for anyone. Especially challenging for a teenager who had to 360 their entire life from a desk in school to microphones and cameras. AWA elaborates on her whole experience and why she decided to take a step back after the show was over:
“I was very young when I started my journey in X-factor, and I had an amazing and life-changing experience. I saw the whole competition as a school for me to prepare me for the real business, I got the experience and the access to meet the” right” people to open doors for my career. I would say that since I was so young and was in school at the same time delivering as good of grades as possible, I def kind of hit the wall and barely had any energy left when the show was done. That’s why I took a break from the spotlight and didn’t necessarily” ride the x-factor wave”. Instead I worked on my sound and started to earn some money through Instagram to finance my trips to LA/London, where I had sessions a day in and day out. So I think me taking that break was necessary for my mental and physical state but also such a blessing since I now know what I stand for and what I want to release”.
We live in a DNAge where you can become a viral superstar overnight. Despite how often this happens, there is no manual on how to handle the pressure at a young age. Seeing how AWA’s career turned out and how she managed to overcome obstacles at her pace is admirable. She offers some advice for people in a similar situation:
“I think it’s important always to be kinder than necessary to people around you, but I’ve learned that after a while, you can’t give what you don’t have. You have to protect your energy and recharge. I struggle w anxiety and depression, and for me, it’s especially important to be vocal about it, set boundaries, and allow myself to heal and have a mental glow up. Show up and try to do better every day and learn the difference between being sympathetic and empathetic”.
Praising her decision to take a break after X-Factor, she admits it made her the woman she is today: “I definitely think taking a step back def helped me to grow stronger in myself as a young woman in the music industry, I’m very involved in my project, and I can proudly say that I trust my team, work hard and stand for what I put out there. I’m so lucky to have been so welcomed in the music world in the UK. I’m so happy that my music and the intention behind it is being received well”, she shows gratitude.
AWA was used to flying back and forth between Sweden, London, and LA, but the winner of her heart is, drum roll please, London. She moved to the UK’s capital, and now she unveils what she thinks of the city: “I love London. It took me a little while to get as comfortable as I am now ( guess that’s the same for whatever city you move to), but I truly love the access to all the different cultures and the creativity that is flowing w fun happenings and communities. I love being able to step by my label any time of the day and call in a spontaneous meeting and keep the creativity going. It’s not too far from Sweden, but the mentality in London is a bit more open and welcoming I would say, it’s very important to find your own safe haven though so you don’t get lost in the sauce”.
Throughout her life, AWA’s taken part in many things such as choir and singing competition; she knows the power of belonging. She declares: “I want my music to be honest and show my journey of learning to love myself fully; I hope it’s relatable to people. It’s always important to feel that you are a part of something as humans. I hope my music can do that for someone”.
The Swedish singer/songwriter hints at an upcoming EP that has “an unintentional order that gives you different perspectives on relationships related to your own sense of self at the time.” She talks about her singles and their storyline: “Too Late For That ft BJ The Chicago Kid is about the stage when you are finally getting over someone and realizing your worth again cause maybe you got a bit lost, which is what “F**kin’Love Songs` is about. You lose yourself and just crave some kind of love, even if it’s not the best for you. Definitely, not the way to look at a healthy relationship, but I believe we have to live through our mistakes to learn from them. And that’s how songs are created…”
For her most recent single ’Too Late For That’, AWA featured BJ THe Chicago Kid on the track. She is very thankful for her team and how this collaboration turned out: “Me and my fantastic A&R Preye Crooks work very closely and are both very excited about the music. In the process of finishing a song, it’s great to have someone on your team that cares as much as you do. I’m all about energy. If it feels right, it is right. I want someone to be truly excited about collaborating and not just from a commercial perspective. That’s why I’m so happy that the legend Bj The Chicago Kid wanted to jump on Too Late For That with me. He has been so easy to work with. Even though we have yet to meet and he is very present and lovely in his delivery on the song. I think his voice is a soulful blessing to the world, and I feel like he cares about his craft. I do care a lot, so that’s super important to me”.
Creative minds will always use a negative situation for art. The way AWA deals with the whole self-isolation is by using music as her creative outlet: “I just got my little home studio set up. I’ve done six demos that I’m happy with already. So I’m just trying to learn logic and some vocal production to stay busy in lockdown, I def need an outlet for all my emotions right now, and that for me is music”.
Words: Karolina Kramplova