You have your upcoming single ‘NO’ dropping on the 9th April, what can we expect from the track?
As my friend said: “Make way for the psychedelic Beyonce!!!” [laughing]. You should expect a powerful dose of jazz and neo-soul, a dirty baseline and alluring finger snaps that will make you want to groove. ‘NO’ is built on relatable lyrics that reinforce individualism, declaring: ‘I never wanted the same…I never want to explain’. Paired with a spellbinding video created by Bence Borbely, ‘NO’’s full pictures culminate in a hypnotising and enchanting visual explosion.
You recently released your second single of the year ‘Say What It Is’, how has the response been, so far?
Incredible! Oh, I’m so happy. With the release of ‘Say What It Is’, I feel like people are really starting to discover my catalogue and my artistry! And, it’s opened new doors for me and my music! Including you guys! I’m so happy to be able to have this chat with you.
Lyrically, what were your initial inspirations for the single and how was the process of creating the track?
Nina Simone is one of my biggest inspirations. Not only did she write powerful music as social commentary, but she was an extraordinary performer and storyteller. One day I was studying her past performances and watched this video on YouTube where she performed at Ronnie Scotts in London. She did this thing with the audience where she took them into the performance and told them to repeat a word. It was so enchanting and I was immediately inspired to do something like that with a crowd.
I’d been thinking about her performance for quite some time, about this vision of bouncing back and forth with an audience. One day I came across this unforgettable bass line and I layered over the ‘NO’ chorus idea in a voice-note. I brought it to the studio with J.AR.J., who produced ‘NO’, and we eventually turned it into what you hear today!
I wrote this song as a call to arms to be proud of whatever makes you different and makes you want to scream about it from the rooftops. ‘NO’ is a song about how toxic people can infiltrate and poison every aspect of your life. It’s a song about how I refuse to shoulder their demands nor listen to their opinions on how they think I should or shouldn't act.
There’s always a new trend that everyone buys into in order to feel a sense of belonging. Whether it’s clothes, career paths or lifestyle choices, I’ve always been allergic to this conformity. I’ve constantly been in situations where I’ve felt pressured to fit in and fall in line. I wanted to portray this in the video with the marching dance routine.
As I continued writing the lyrics, I couldn’t help but think about the horrors so many of our LGBT+ brothers and sisters have had to and continue to go through and experience every day.
"I see genres like moods, and just like moods, genres can be fluctuating and blend in to one another."
Your previous single ‘Lay Down’ takes on a stripped back, big band sound, what was inspiring you sonically in creating that track?
When this song was brought to life in a live session in Copenhagen back in 2016, the line 'and all I got to do is lay down, lay down' just came out which I immediately recorded on to a voice-memo.
When I started writing the lyrics, it was impossible not to think about all of the situations that I’ve felt the need to lay down either sexually or to set boundaries.
The demo was recorded with only my vocal and the guitar riff you hear right at the very beginning of the track. Glen Scott produced the track, and we decided to keep the essence of the demo because it was so powerful, raw and resonant. The final product is essentially, a track where I sing about a man who only wants to have sex with me, the musical production emphasises the meaning even further with a full-bodied but simple production.
You released your debut single ‘You & Me’ just last year, how do you feel your sound has evolved already since then and how was the response to that track as your first release?
‘You & Me’ has a very old-school hip-hop vibe that brings back memories of J Dilla. I was very proud to release ‘You & Me’ as my first single because I produced it myself. When I was out performing it – before COVID-19 hit – it was always everyone’s favourite. It has done well and way better than expected. Without any external PR or label help, it reached over 10,000 and is doing very well in the U.S.
Since ‘You & Me’, my vocal performance is stronger and my production, piano, guitar and bass playing has improved through trial and error and loads of practice. In terms of my sound, I’d say it’s fiercer and shares powerful statements. I want my music to push the boundaries of our perception in a way that tackles thought-provoking topics as well as inspiring us to have these introspective conversations.
How important is it for you to create within a range of styles and never feel confined to any genre boundaries?
I honestly have a hard time committing or identifying just one genre to typify my music. Sometimes it’s more jazzy other times it’s neo-soul. Some people even categorise the same song in different genres. I never think about genre when I write. With ‘NO’ for example, I wanted this chanting hook that was so catchy. I still think like that when I write. I want people to sing along with me. But sometimes – I’m not gonna lie – I think like “oh… is this pop now?”. It’s such a shame that pop has gotten that reputation! But it’s because pop is now seen as this “recipe music” made for wide consumption. But neo-soul and jazz tunes can be just as catchy and memorable! I’d even argue that if Prince or Michael Jackson released music today it probably wouldn't be classified as the pop music we have today.
I write from my unique point of view and style. It’s my angle on creating stories. I see genres like moods, and just like moods, genres can be fluctuating and blend in to one another.
"Things will start to come your way when you start doing things your way."
How does being an instrumentalist impact and aid your writing process?
It gives me the freedom to execute my ideas and to transcribe my voice notes that I record when I’m out for walks. Sometimes an idea pops into my head when I’m practicing, like in my single “Colours”. I was new to the guitar and was practicing different rhythm patterns and I just started singing “To see all the colours you bring, and feel how you light everything” (which is how the chorus goes). So, it opens opportunities for me when I’m in a session with other musicians and learning new jazz chord combinations that breathe new life into my songs, melodies and performance.
When did you first start making music and what piece of advice would you give to new musicians starting out?
When I was nine, I started taking music lessons after school where I was able to join and participate in different musicals, choirs and bands. I have been performing and singing since I was a kid and first started trying to write my own songs at the age of twelve. But as I got older, I realised pursuing a career in music was not going to be as easy as it seems on X-factor. I started to produce my own music in 2016 and I started to learn by spending time with more professional producers and asking loads of questions whenever I was in a session.
Before making my own music, I was relying on the external world to discover, build and define me. As I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve realised that working hard and practicing constant independence is the best way to reach your career goals and fulfil your dreams.
So, my advice is, JUST DO IT! Stop saying “I should…”, “I can’t”, “I don’t know where to start” or “it’s not good enough” and dive in head first! Always ask for advice, be persistent and just keep on going.
You don’t have just ONE chance in life. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and many failures. I would argue that failures help us grow more quickly than successes - because you learn from your mistakes. Your dreams are not just going to fall into your lap, and it won’t feel earned unless you work towards something independently. Things will start to come your way when you start doing things your way.
As mentioned, I started producing and making my own music in 2016 and released my first single in 2018. Those years in between, I was my worst enemy. I speak from my own experience when I say this.
If you’re reading this and wondering “how can I get kick started in music” send me a DM on Instagram if you have any questions! I’m happy to help offer any advice I might be able to give.
If you had to choose two of your tracks to best show your range as an artist, which would you choose and why?
"Jazz and soul allowed me to explore my voice as an instrument and explore new colours palettes..."
Are you currently working towards your first project and if so, what can we expect?
At the end of May, I’ll be releasing my debut EP ‘Lay Down’ with new music and an additional fourth single called ‘Slave To My Mind’. The story behind the EP and its title ‘Lay Down’ speaks to the times in my life where I’ve found myself in a situation where I’ve had to lay down and take a breath, whether it's been because of love, desperation, or mental health. ‘NO’ and the single ‘Lay Down’ deal with facing the pressure of society from the lens of a woman in the 21st century, kind of like my own contemporary social commentary.
Being Danish-born, are there any hometown artists you would recommend?
I would very much like to give a shout out to Marie Dahlstrøm. She’s a perfect example of doing things her own way, being persistent and incredibly talented. Her voice cuts like a knife through butter.
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
Undoubtedly, Erykah Badu’s early work has had a magnificent impact on me. This opened up to the discovery of D’Angelo and furthermore jazz divas like Billie Holiday’s playful tones and Nina Simone’s powerful messages. Jazz and soul allowed me to explore my voice as an instrument and explore new colours palettes.
I’m highly drawn to artists that have built an honest and brilliant lyrical universe! John Mayer was the first artist to have a lasting impact on me, lyrically. He’s always been my Number one. I grew up listening to his music and my youngest brother’s finger bleeding John’s tunes on his fender.
Of today’s artists, there are many I respect and admire, especially among my peers. I have a lot of respect and love for Arlo Parks who’s so vulnerable, innovative and honest in her tone and lyrics. Other artists I adore are Daniel Caesar, Sade, Snoh Aalegra, Mahalia, Marie Dahlstrøm and Hiatus Kaiyote to mention a few.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would you choose?
What’s coming up for 2021?
As mentioned, I’ll release my Debut-EP at the end of May. But other than that, more singles will follow and as the UK starts to open up again I’ll start performing live again. I’m planning headline shows as we speak but until then I have 2 gigs lined up in June and hopefully more to come and add to the list! (June 3rd at the Moustache Bar in Dalston, and June 6th at Bobiks in Newcastle upon Tyne). The best place to find out about new gigs is either by following me on Facebook or by checking my website amaliebryde.com.
Also, I will continue to make more sustainable merch. Please follow my Instagram page @kool__kat__attire. I like to do things myself and also, it’s another creative outlet of mine. I like to make it more personal by making unique pieces from organic cotton and fabric scraps.
On my Instagram @amalie__bryde I will continue to share behind the scenes of my artistry and music videos to share the process and life as an artist living.