The Transcendent Elina

The recurrent existential monologues, often ignored or deeply internalized, dissect and overthink one’s hopes and fears. Instead of avoiding her doubts and wishes to live the fullest life, Ivor Novello nominee Elina puts her unfiltered inner-thought process into a graceful, acoustic, confessional release, ‘I Should’ve Danced More.’

The second single from Elina’s highly anticipated debut album, ‘I Should’ve Danced More,’ is a lyrically exquisite record with bursting honesty and accompanying visuals portraying the celestial beauty of Swedish nature and simple but striking subtitles narrating the in-between.

With the illustrated change of seasons, snow, and picturesque autumnal scenes, Elina uses Swedish idyllic locations to illustrate her craving for freedom. She shared the stillness of her childhood as an only child; she grew up soaking in nature, blooming trees, and clear skies. Admiring in a bubble, the tranquil surroundings sparked Elina’s creative tendencies that can be seen eloquently translated in the ‘I Should’ve Danced More’ music video.

Before launching her solo career in April 2018, Elina started as a songwriter, co-writing the multi-platinum hit single ‘Sexual’ for NEIKED. She also worked alongside Zara Larson, Astrid S, Maroon 5, and SZA. After writing songs with her friends, Elina stumbled into releasing hits like ‘Wild Enough,’ ‘Here With Me,’ and ‘Champion.’

Elina finds beauty in simplicity, compared to Coldplay and their songwriting. After leaving her previous label, she discovered a new wave of therapeutic recording with no pressure or deadlines. The result is her newest material, including ‘I Should’ve Danced More’ and ‘Apologise.’

The Scandinavian talent Elina presents a youthful voice for our generation’s awakening. She unveils more about her journey and the inspirations behind her music.

Please paint us a picture of how it was growing up in a small Swedish village?

It was very idyllic growing up near a lot of nature. I was an only child and I loved to be in my own little bubble, exploring the forests and the lakes around the house. I think it definitely played a huge part in finding my creativity. 

Where are you based now and how does your day to day look like?

I live in Stockholm since nine years back. After finishing up the album last year it’s been a lot of  administrational work but it’s also what I love so much about his job – no two days are alike. It’s partly studio sessions, partly working from home on my laptop, partly traveling and partly rehearsals. 

Who are your role models?

I could name so many musical heroes but no one will ever beat my mum, haha. She’s just the most incredible woman and she’s taught me so much about the fundamentals. You know, things like self worth. She’s been through so much during her life and still there’s no one who embraces this life and this world with such compassion and love like she does. 

Your first step into the music scene was as a songwriter, could you tell us about your favourite writing session?

Oh, tricky one.. I remember this one session I had during my first trip to Los Angeles back in 2014, where the house we wrote at was located up in the Hollywood hills with the most incredible view of the city. We sat outside watching the sunset, working on some lyrics and just had an amazing time. Everything was still very new and exciting back then. 

How did your co-write on the multi platinum 2016 single ‘Sexual’ for NEIKED come about? 

That’s actually quite a funny story.. I don’t think any of us really heard the potential of it after writing it. It was a draft on Victor’s harddrive for a long time before he finished it up. It was really cool to see how a lot of people drew inspiration from it later on and how it grew very organically, from having almost no support at all. 

As a songwriter, whose songwriting style is your favourite? 

I’ve always loved Chris Martin’s way of writing. Coldplay’s songs are so, you know, uncomplicated in their melodies and lyrics yet so incredibly powerful. 

Which song do you wish you’ve written? 

“Both sides now” by Joni Mitchell. 

When and how did you decide to make a shift and become a solo artist yourself?

I sort of hit the wall creatively after a few years of writing for others. I didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute with, and started to feel very uninspired. I think it had to do with a lot of things both in and outside of work, and it came to a point where I needed to make a decision whether or not to take a break from music completely or, you know, do it in a different way. I had already written ‘Wild Enough’, ‘Here With Me’ and ‘Champion’ at the time and had a special bond to them. I made the decision to release them, without having much of a plan. I guess I’m still working on that plan, haha. 

What was the beginning of your solo career like?

Very tumultuous, emotionally. I’ve never liked to be the center of attention or being in front of the camera so it was really hard to acclimatize to the situation. But most of all it was a huge, huge relief. I suddenly had control over what I was creating. I could take part in all the different creative processes – visuals, production, release plans.. It all felt very exciting. 

When I first heard your song and my personal favourite ‘Wild Enough,’ the lyrics accompanied by the beautiful piano gave me chills. Could you elaborate what emotion/situation inspired this track?

Happy to hear! I wrote it with two friends here in Stockholm before I even had any plans at all to start my own project. It was really about the feeling of being inadequate in a relationship and not good enough for someone, which I could relate a lot to even though we didn’t write it specifically for me at the time. 

Your latest single ‘Apologize’ is the first release from your upcoming debut album ‘Whatever Happens Now,’ how did you get into a place in your life where you have the courage to put your foot down and demand what you’re worthy of?

It’s still a work in progress, really. I’ve always found it difficult to stay true to my own needs but after compromising with them almost all of my adult life I think I just reached a point where my mentality around it started to shift. Maybe it comes with age. I’m just slowly realizing that all happiness starts within and will always lay the foundation of the quality of the relationship we have to others and to ourselves. 

You’ve spoken about ‘a new positive change within,’ could you elaborate?

Continuing on the above here. It’s such a liberating feeling to finally turn the page and close a chapter of your life that you’re ready to let go of. When peace, acceptance and even curiosity starts to re-enter and your surroundings suddenly seem more colorful. Like before everything happened. You’re waking up, sort of. 

How would you describe the emotional escapade of falling in and out of love? 

The falling in love part has always been a very ‘uncomfortable’ experience for me. It takes ages for me to let someone in. I need a lot of space and time alone with my thoughts and feelings to be able to process everything, otherwise I’ll go crazy. The falling out of love is an ache, in your core. It’s also incredibly bittersweet. It’s beautiful and awful, at the very same time. You learn so much about yourself loving another human being. Sometimes you lose a lot of yourself too. 

At the beginning of the writing process of your upcoming album, what were your main intentions with this project? Did they change at all throughout?

At the time we started writing, spring of 2021, I had just left my label and was back at square one. I didn’t have a plan whatsoever on where to go. The good thing about that was that there was no one waiting. There were no deadlines. We had a lot of time to experiment and to play around in the studio without putting any pressure on it. It became more and more therapeutic for me throughout the writing process, as I really needed to get the past years out of my system. The album became a very important closure for me, something I wasn’t quite expecting at the beginning. 

What are your plans this Summer? 

I’ll enjoy some nature and some sun. I’ll play my first show in Sweden and I’m also releasing two new singles. Lots to look forward to!

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Words: Karolina Kramplova