“It takes a lot to impress me”

She’s amazed us with her covers, making famous radio hits her own. She’s been touring with Timbuktu and Stevie Wonder and was the support act for Pharrell last fall. But now, the spotlight is on Beldina alone, and her debut EP Intermission, released today. Radar spoke with the r&b-artist about the EP, her move to LA and being starstuck – or not.

This EP is said to be your debut EP, but you’ve released a lot of music before this?
– It’s my first official big release. The mixtape I released last spring contained songs I didn’t feel were fit for an album so I put them on Opening Act and released it online for free.

The EP is called Intermission. How would you describe it?
– I feel it is what it’s called – an intermission. It’s something that eventually will lead to a debut album. Right now I’m in between my life in LA and my home in Stockholm and the song 1 Way is about my move to LA, to venture out into the unknown, which can be really lonely sometimes.

Do you feel at home in LA now?
– Yes, I’ve gotten to know people and created an everyday life. But it’s hard moving to a new place like that. In the beginning everything is new and exciting but after a while your everyday problems will catch up to you.

You’ve worked with so many famous artists, like Stevie Wonder, Timbuktu, Axwell, Mando Diao, Adam Tensta and Childish Gambino. Do you ever feel starstruck meeting all these famous people?
– It takes so much for me to get impressed, haha. I actually wish I could feel star stuck more often.

Yeah, really? Why is that?
– Well, they are all human to me. People put their idols on a pedestal, but when you’re working together and go backstage you see that no one is perfect, everybody’s human. Everybody goes to the bathroom to take a shit, you know, they’re not from another planet.

But if you had to choose one of the artists you’ve worked with, who’s impressed you the most, or well… at all?
– Timbuktu, who I went on tour with this summer, has really inspired me and he never seizes to surprise me. But hey, I do know a time I got really starstruck!

Tell me!
– When I met Drake. It wasn’t long ago I was at a concert of his new artist Partynextdoor and I know their tour manager. Later on I was invited to a party at his house, where there’s a home studio. I never thought he’d show up but he did and that seriously made me speechless.

Beldina

Do you have a dream person you would like to work with?
– Kanye West. He’s definitely on top of the list.

And if you had to choose a Swedish artist?
– Hmm, I think I would choose Tove Lo.

There has been talk about how you dropped your record label in LA before you released your mixtape, because they pissed you off. What happened?
– People have been speculating about this a lot and I’ve never really gotten a chance to explain what really happened. They weren’t a bad label per se, I just didn’t feel secure there. It’s very important for me to feel that I can trust and rely on the core of people who work close to me. But I didn’t feel I could say everything I was thinking and I just didn’t feel that genuine loyalty that I need to feel. That’s why I stopped working with them.

You’re music stretches from r&b, soul to pop and house and jazz. Is there any genre you would never want to try out?
– No.

Which sound are you moving towards now?
– I explore different genres depending on the project.

What are you exploring on your EP?
Intermission has a sort of minimalistic sound. It’s deeper and darker. The mixtape I felt was like a soundcheck where I did some soul and club music, but there are also places where it’s very acoustic, like only a piano and me.

Where do you wanna be when you’re 50?
My dream is to be this old lady owning a jazz club in New York, where I’m also a regular. Just sitting and singing in couture gowns. I visualize it being an exclusive spot where creative people from all over the world can connect over great food, cooktails and live music.

You’ve worked a lot with director and photographer Saga Berlin, who has taken your press photos and also directed the video for Ocean. How do you guys work together?
– We’ve known each other since our teens and she also did the first two Cover Stories. She’s really good at showing off sides of me she knows I have deep down. When we were going to make the music video for Ocean I wanted it be inspired by Belly, a Hyper Williams movie, and I knew Saga would have seen it.

In what way did it inspire you?
– I can relate a lot to the character Keisha, and the blue scene in the music video is inspired by her in the movie.

Both in the music video for Ocean and in general, you seem to have such a distinctive and really cool style. Do you put a lot of work into the whole visual side of your artistry?
– Thank you! No, not at all. Like for that video I just grabbed some clothes to put on, and then when we sent the video around to some friends to look at it they were all like “Oh your nipples are showing”.

 

All photos by Saga Berlin.