Written by Kelly Holm
From leading an impromptu singalong at the age of five to getting the word “now” tattooed on her wrist, Swedish singer-songwriter SHY Martin has always made it her life’s work to be present and live in the moment. Now, with the release of her latest single “Break With Me,” she’s poised to have a blockbuster year.
“‘Break With Me’ was written in a car ride on the way home from a lake close to where I grew up. Me, my friend, [my] boyfriend, and [my] big brother had spent the whole day in the sun and were playing around with the guitar in the backseat[when we] came up with the song idea,” Martin shared. “I was very relaxed and having lots of fun [while writing it], even though the song itself is kind of sad and serious.”
Lyrically, the track deals with the stages of grief leading up to a relationship’s end. “Stay with me, break with me now/Cause it’s hurting when you let go,” Martin pines in the chorus. “Before the world is gonna change us/Becausetomorrow we’ll be strangers.”
Produced with Felix Flygare Floderer and Carl Silvergran, Martin takes pride in the song’s rawness, from the stripped-down nature of the recording process to its music video— which, like a lot of COVID-era creations, was homemade.
“When I was growing up, my parents had a video camera with them wherever we went, so handycams always give me a feeling of nostalgia,” she said. “After watching old videos from my childhood, I decided to buy one myself to capture moments here and there. The video that my brother and I put together for ‘Break With Me’ is a collection of clips from the time we produced the song.”
As a songwriter, Martin’s been improvising since her childhood, in both Swedish and English, though she didn’t realize until around the age of 17 that songwriting could be a real career. Initially, she gathered writing credits for other artists, such as Kygo, Bebe Rexha, and The Chainsmokers. Even as she broke out as an artist in her own right, she continued to write and co-write for other artists, and often it was hard to decide which songs were meant for whom.
“It’s definitely something that’s become easier and easier to decide, [whether or not to keep a song],” she said. “Now I know almost right away if the song is for me or for [pitching to another artist].”
Another venture of Martin’s? Launching her own label, SHY Recordings. “Break With Me” marks her first independently-released track. “I’ve always been interested in the business side of the [music] industry, and curious about how it would be releasing music myself,” she shares. “Now, the time just felt right.”
Despite her songwriting repertoire racking up 2.5 billion Spotify streams, it might come as a surprise that Martin has not yet released a full-length record, though she hopes to remedy that in the near future.
“I have to admit that last year was hard creatively, considering everything that’s been happening in the world,” she said. “During last year, I’ve had a lot more time in the studio than I usually have… [and] my biggest goal, music-wise, [for2021] is to write my first album.”
She dreams of collaborating with Conan Gray, TrevorDaniel and Blackbear, and aims to honor the worth of all artists when songwriting, regardless of success. Still, she’ll never stop cherishing the support of her biggest fan.
“My mum… was always the first person I showed my songs to when I was younger, and has always been a big support,” Martin says. “She once told me I have a voice that touches people, and that has become what’s the most important to me with my music— touching people in some way.”
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Listen to SHY Martin’s “Break With Me“