Delara | 5 Minutes With

“It’s a reminder of the power of narratives to shape our lives,” notes Delara about the significance of the iconic character of Shahrazad from One Thousand and One Nights, which laid down the foundations for her debut album ‘Shahrazad.’ 

Born in Sweden and raised by Iranian parents before moving to Norway as a child, Delara uses songwriting and the ultimate power of words to express everything true to her and her identity. Describing ‘Shahrazad’ as a transformative experience, it was created ‘as a conceptual project reflecting various phases of her life.’

 The 9-track time capsule, immersed in start-to-finish, red-highlighted passion and confidence, Delara is inspired by Shahrazad’s ability to use songwriting as a tool for survival and change with uncompromised and unapologetic expression. 

With the anthemic and my personal favorite, ‘Didn’t you know,’ and powerful encapsulations like ‘Free my people free them love’ and ‘City of God,’ Delara opens the door with her well-thought-out monologue as a glimpse into her world. She hopes this body of work will also serve as a mirror for people to reflect on their personal trajectories. 

I just listened to your debut album ‘Shahrazad.’ First of all, congratulations on composing such a cohesive body of work. It was captivating, catchy and unique. How do you feel when you listen back to it?

Listening back to the album is a surreal experience. It’s like revisiting different chapters of my life. Each track carries its own emotional weight and memories, and seeing them come together as a cohesive piece is both fulfilling and humbling.

Could you take us back to when you had your first brainstorm sessions for this project? How do those sessions look like?

The first brainstorm sessions were a mix of excitement and introspection. There has always been a desire to create a conceptual project that reflects various phases of my personal and creative journey and the stories I wanted to tell. The first sessions for the album was like a time capsule, gathering songs from different periods. Some go way back, while others was fresh from the last few months. It was exiting to reflect the various phases I’ve gone through as a songwriter.

What is it about the story of ‘Shahrazad’ that you relate to?

The story of ‘Shahrazad’ resonates with me on multiple levels. Shahrazad’s resilience, her ability to use storytelling as a tool for survival and change, mirrors my own relationship with music and words. It’s a reminder of the power of narratives to shape our lives.

What would you like your listeners and new fans to take away from this album?

I hope listeners take away a sense of connection and empowerment. I want them to feel seen and heard, to find aspects of their own journey in the music. The album is a glimpse into my world, but I also hope it serves as a mirror for others to reflect on their own experiences.

How do you think working on this project affected you as an artist?

Working on this project has been transformative. It pushed me to explore new sonic landscapes, collaborate with incredible artists, and dig deeper into my own artistic identity. The process challenged me, but it also strengthened my connection to my craft.

Is there any significance behind the color red in the cover art?

The color red in the cover art symbolizes passion and confidence. It was a natural choice to capture the album’s strong energy and personality. The vibrant red serves as a visual representation of the intensity and authenticity embedded in the music.

Where do you think your love for storytelling stems from?

My love for storytelling traces back to childhood, where I found peace and inspiration in books and tales that my mother read to me. That love even led me to dig into poetry, shaping the way I learned to write songs.

When and how did you discover the confidence to be so vulnerable with your writing and to be commit to becoming an artist?

It was a gradual process and it came from a combination of personal growth, self-acceptance, and finding my voice through storytelling. My team around me has also played a role in making me feel confident about being as direct and vulnerable as I’ve been since my very first music release.

How do you think your younger self would feel seeing and knowing you today?

My younger self would probably be in awe and disbelief. Pursuing music was always a dream, but seeing it materialize would be beyond anything I could have imagined. I think my younger self would be proud of the journey and the person I’ve become.

As an Iranian, born in Sweden and living in Norway, you’re open about having a complex relationship with your heritage. Do you remember when you started to feel disconnected?

Realizing a sense of disconnection from my heritage happened gradually. Growing up in Norway, cultural differences had an huge impact. However, I never truly felt disconnected because my mother consistently kept our heritage alive through stories, food, and the ever-present Iranian music in our home.

How do you like to use your platform and your voice to speak up about societal issues?

I like to use my music to speak up about societal issues that are important to me. It’s about leveraging the reach of music to address issues that matter, whether it’s social justice, mental health, or cultural understanding. Music has the power to spark conversations and evoke change.

How do you see your career evolving after your debut album?

After my debut album, I see my career evolving as a continuous exploration of sound and storytelling. I want to keep pushing boundaries, collaborating with diverse voices, and using my platform to amplify meaningful messages. It’s an ongoing journey of growth and creativity.

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Words: Karolina Kramplova