We kicked off the month by heading uptown to a listening party for electropop Big Beat Records' artist, Soleima whose music is the perfect way to get you ready for Spring with a hip-hop and world infusion. This Danish artist chatted with us prior to her party to talk about her entry into music, her love of the collaborative scene and Copenhagen and the Scandanavian festivals that she'll be at this year!
ATHLEISURE MAG: How long have you been in music?
SOLEIMA: I kind of just grew up with music. I had been doing it forever. We had a piano and I grew up doing it with my mom as a child, since she played as well. I also played – she always took me to these music clubs where I was taught music and I grew up in an East African music environment.
AM: We’ve been listening to your music and including it in our workouts. It has this mix of hip-hop and that tribal feel to it – we are definitely fans.
S: Yes! That’s what I was introduced to and I never learned the theory behind music. It was an acoustic way of learning music and for me it was the best way to learn it. So somehow, it’s always been in my life – some sort of music.
AM: When did you realize that this was something that you wanted to do?
S: Actually, I have been doing it as a hobby for most of my life! But then last year, I got signed and I started working on this EP with friends and we thought about putting it on SoundCloud and then we thought, let’s try to get it released. We sent it to some Danish labels and one of them wanted to release it and this was nice, but I never thought of it as a direct career opportunity. But then everything went pretty fast! I guess when an opportunity like that shows itself, you just jump on it. So I feel like it was meant to be somehow?
AM: What inspires you when you’re performing, making your videos and writing your music?
S: I guess I’m very inspired by many different things. I get super inspired by other musicians. I think there are so many great ones out there right now. People doing amazing stuff. Right now in Copenhagen – where I’m from in Denmark, the music scene is very interesting. We are a very small industry and somehow we are all friends and know each other! We work together. People have a lot of stuff going on that is really interesting. Right now, we’re inspiring and motivating each other. When someone does an amazing song or has a great project going on, we’re like – “Oh that’s so good – that’s amazing. Let’s do something together!” We just make each other better in a positive way.
I’ve always heard people talk about how in this industry when someone has something good going on that there is a feeling that there isn’t room for someone else. I’ve just never realized that in our environment in Denmark, which I think is a very healthy thing.
AM: So are you currently working on other music as well?
S: I’m working on an EP as well right now. It’s going to come out shortly.
AM: Are you doing any touring or any festival dates?
S: Yes. I am writing a lot. I was in LA for a month writing recently and I do it all the time. I have quite a few festivals. I am playing in Scandanavia, in the UK. In the UK, there will be a few shows in the Spring – a number of clubs and then over the summer, a very booked festival tour. In the fall, I am doing my own shows which is really exciting.
AM: Exciting! What’s that like concepting your own shows?
S: Actually, I will have my first 2 headlining shows in Dec. I never tried to play my own shows before. We have played quite a lot together but it’s been showcases out and about. So now, that’s such an overwhelming feeling. Because now, people are there and they bought a ticket with real fucking money and like they know the songs!
AM: So how do you keep your balance and check in with yourself through all of this?
S: That’s such a good question! How do I stay sane? Can you teach me please?
I think definitely because this is all so new, I am still in the process of learning that. With being in music, there aren’t too many in-between feelings. There are extreme highs and there are a lot of extreme lows. So one day you’re like, “wow this happened and I like it – you’re so high and then literally the day after you get some kind of boring mail and you’re like, “no – that didn’t happen anyway” and now I have to go back to life.
You know what I mean? So, it’s like a good and a bad thing – it’s very addictive and you become addicted to going into these highs and lows. It can be a bad thing because you kind of need a balance where you’re neither super excited or super depressed. So I am still learning that, but I can say that I am addicted to it already. I think it would be difficult to not be that way as well. Regarding the zen, I think I should start meditating – can you teach me!
AM: It’s a work in progress for sure. The best ones for us are meditations that are led by someone and we can sit down and start going through the process. But sometimes when we quiet our mind, those things that were really sticking out there wanting to be thought about pop in and it can be tough to push them to the side!
S: Exactly! It’s like when you go to sleep and then those thoughts pop in and it’s like – argh!
AM: We’re working on meditation, but in terms of fitness or activities in general – what do you do?
S: I’m a runner. I run a lot and I am really addicted to it – I love to do it! I listen to audiobooks and listening to them makes me so excited that I’m like, “I have to run more”.
AM: We have to try that as we’re obsessed with podcasts and that could give us the kick that we need to run.
S: Oooo I love This American Life, it’s my favorite!
AM: Yes and then Serial – love!
S: Ohhh but then S-Town that was AMAZING!
AM: Yes, so obsessed with that!
S: I was in London away from home and I was so emotional and the story was so insane. I was like how can this be real? I would run and listen to these shows and it just makes me run. If I didn’t have them, I would be bored. It’s the perfect way and it’s like free time where I can listen and do this. I’m not working out and it becomes a treat. It’s a really good trick.
AM: Absolutely. So, tonight, you have a listening party – are you excited?
S: I’m so excited and a little nervous maybe. Because I feel very honored and humble about people coming here. It's my first time doing it and I have never seen it done in Scandanavia, but I think that it is a really really good way to present an artist.
AM: So what else – what are you up to this summer even outside of music?
S: Yeah. I’m going to play a lot, which means I am going to be in Scandanavia because of the festivals. You may play Thurs and Sun then you have a few days off and then you have Fri and Sat and then 3 days off. So it’s not like you have to work everyday, but you have a couple of months where you have to stay in the same area. That’s actually nice because I have been away from Denmark a lot this year.
AM: What do you like to do in Denmark?
S: Mainly I write. That’s also where my friends are and I really really like to hang out with the when I am home. We do lots of good stuff. I deeply recommend Copenhagen as it’s a fun town.
AM: We may do a shoot there!
S: You should come during the summer as it has really good festivals. We have this festival called Rosklide. It’s like the second biggest in Europe and it’s amazing. Come for that and then stay and have a small week in Copenhagen to see stuff. Hit me up and I will give you tips!
AM: Do you prescribe to hygge?
S: I don’t know what that it is – tell me.
AM: Last year, we interviewed Meik Wiking who wrote a book about being and living a hyggelig lifestyle. Essentially, the concept is that you create an atmosphere and experience which creates a sense of comfort, well-being and togetherness. He outlines ways that one can bring it into their homes, work environment and to share with friends in order to create an optimized lifestyle. It’s about being cozy, spending time with close friends and family and
checking in with yourself.
S: I had not heard of that, but that seems like something that I would love! Send me info on this as I’d love to check it out!
Check out Soleima's latest music video "Low Life" and keep an eye out for her mini album, "Bulldog" which arrives April 6th at Big Beat Records.
PHOTO CREDITS | Dennis Morton/Big Beat Records |