Written By Kelly Holm
Swedish singer-songwriter Elina has racked up a catalog of over a dozen original songs within the past two years, but confesses that she’s yet to play any of them live.
“I was going to, but then the pandemic broke out right before we were supposed to start,” she admits. “It looks like things are finally changing now, and though I’m extremely nervous, I’m also super excited to explore that whole thing and actually get to meet the people who are listening to the music.”
Though she has until very recently worked strictly as a songwriter, she’s had plenty of performing experience in her younger years to prepare her for a future of touring in her own right, having known that she wanted to pursue music since age 16.
“Becoming an artist was in many ways a very spontaneous decision, which I’m still kind of processing,” says Elina, now 27.
From her very first original song “Cold November” to tracks like “Blue” and “Free” from last year’s EP Remember, Elina’s music has often revolved around a common theme of heartbreak, with songwriting that will appeal to those who love the lyricism of Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore.
“There are many waiting rooms, lot of bad news/Barely awake as too late comes too soon,” she sings on “Love Come Around,” in a verse that is particularly poignant to the COVID-19 pandemic. “When the ground beneath you is shifting where you stand/And what you took for granted runs like sand out of your hands.”
Elina began writing “Love Come Around” in her living room, starting with the melody and a general lyrical concept.
“I’ve started to really enjoy exploring ideas by myself, and then when you find something you like you can bring it to the studio and finish it up together with someone,” she said, sharing the story behind the song.
“This past year has been a real eye-opener for a lot of people… I was dealing with a lot in my life at the time, and I sort of had to face myself in a way I hadn’t really done before. I started reflecting on a lot of things. You know, what do I really need in life? Am I happy? Am I present enough? Am I protecting my energy and am I staying true to my values? All of that stuff. Then you think of all the people who are fighting their battles, every day, everywhere.”
Due to quarantine restrictions, the music video for “Love Come Around” needed to be a small production, so Elina enlisted some help from the people closest to her. Her mother features prominently in the video, and it was directed and filmed by her close friend Hampus, a longtime collaborator.
“My mom and I are really close, and it felt really special to make such a personal video. We had a lot of fun shooting it,” she said. “We definitely had to find a way to work around the situation we’ve been in… but we really wanted to add something visually to this release, and I’m happy we found a way to make that thing work, too.”
“Love Come Around” is also Elina’s first release as an independent artist.
“A lot of things led up to making that decision, but sometimes you just need to move on from something that isn’t working for you and prioritise health and happiness,” she shared, and urged fellow musicians to pay attention to the legal intricacies of a contract. “It’s been super stressful and very scary, but I’m so grateful I get to actually do this on my own now with the help of some amazing friends.”
Elina has recently begun working on a new project in the studio (an environment she hasn’t been in since pre-COVID times) with two close friends, and says that although she wasn’t particularly productive during lockdown (who was?), she’s devoted herself to improving her personal well-being. She promises that the project’s songs will be “the best ones yet,” and hopes to see it wrapped up by December.
“It’s really hard to stay true to your vision without being affected by opinions and expectations,” she said. “I want to be proud of the music I’m making and I want it to be meaningful to people. I found so much comfort and happiness in music growing up, and to be able to give that to people now and in the future is such a beautiful thing. With that, all the other [things] are bonuses.”