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XOLYDIA

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW XOLYDIA WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya XOLYDIA thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

Of course, I’m XOLYDIA and I write, compose, and performs my own music. I grew up in Sweden but have spent the past four years in London where I studied a bachelor’s degree in “Music Performance and Music Production” at BIMM. Since 2021 I have released music under the artist name XOLYDIA starting with my debut single “Tuned to You”, followed by the singles “Toxic Rain” and “Small Parts”. I would describe my music as artsy indie- and folk pop with atmospheric synths, ambient strings, and glimmering flutes.

I love storytelling and songwriting and have written songs since my early teens. I was trained in classical music from an early age and later in complete vocal technique (CVT). During my childhood I played the flute, sang in choirs, danced ballet, and did theatre. I was on stage a lot and loved the kick it gave me to create a performance, practice and then finally show it to other people. The connection you can create with people when performing is incredible.

The interest for expressing myself creatively has lingered and the longing to make music grew bigger as time went by. It wasn’t a given that I would be where I am today. I have been and still struggle a lot with self-doubt, imposter syndrome and perfectionism. I first choose an academic path and studied to become a Biomedical Scientist, something I also worked with a couple of years. Then there was a turning point that made me realise that I can’t live without at least trying to make my artist- dream come true. So, I moved to Norway where I did a general music course.

From there I gained the courage to apply to BIMM London and was lucky enough to pass the auditions. Being at BIMM, surrounded by other people that cared equally much about music as I was fantastic. Performing, recording, and releasing music became something normal. Everyone I knew was gigging and making songs. 

Who is the person behind the artist XOLYDIA?

When not living and breathing music I enjoy painting, photography, and yoga. I love being outdoors, hiking, surfing or just sit and watch the ocean. Having deep meaningful conversations with a couple of good friends on a sunny balcony with a glass of wine is my ideal Friday evening. But I’m also very comfortable being on my own, I think it’s because I have so much imagination even as an adult and sometimes, I’m a real day dreamer. 

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I have skiied the Swedish race Vasaloppet

I have the lyrics from Unstoppable with Sia tattoed on my feet

My favourite athour is Matt Haig

Why is music important to you?

Music is everything. I’m crazy about music and sounds. I’m a very emotional and quite sensitive being and listening to music has been a way for me to process my emotions and understand myself. When I sing, I feel very alive. I really like singing while holding a hand above my chest because then I can really feel the vibrations and feel very connected with myself and the world. 

If you where an album, what album would you be?

Sweap me away with Fredrika Stahl or Ahpi (Wide as oceans) with Sofia Jannok.

What’s the live music scene like in London right now? Anyone we should be looking out for (you of course)?

The music scene is great. There’s always something going on in London, from the independent artists doing pub gigs to the bigger acts. I really enjoy sofarsounds, sometimes you discover real gem and it feels very personal and cosy going to the gigs they organize. Personally I’m also a big fan of muscials and often hang at the West End.

In terms of artists to look out for, I would say remember the name Riya Gadher. She is an incredible lyricist and has an insane vocal control. She’s a very cool artist who engage in animal right questions and environmental issues. I forsee that she will grow big.

I’ve seen a lot of people struggling for support recently online. Whats your view on the industry?

The Music Industry is big, but lets choose one part to discuss! The music industry has changed a lot the last decades. More people have acess to equipment and knowledge online and this has lead to more DYI and independent artists. I think it’s great that more people are able to share their creativity. However, streams on music platforms pays almost nothing and if you’re not an established artist performing live doesn’t pay much either.

This makes it hard for many independent artists to manage the economical part. I think that a new module needs to be made where we value music and muscianship more. Because we all enjoy music. We stream are favourite songs daily, watch movies and commercials with music, go to exhibitions with music, study in cafes with music etc.

But as a listener we barley pay for the work that is made for that to become possibly. I love being able to stream for free on e.g. Spotify and having an endless acess of new music to discover, but the question is if that’s fair.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

I do think about how I’m being perceived and I sometimes worry about people taking things the wrong way. I try to lead with kindness and be as authentic as possible on my social channels. I don’t have very extreme opinions and focus my channels around my music and art, so on this stage I’m noit worried about cancel culture affecting me.

However, this is an interesting topic. I think the word netiquette which includes being mindful of your own behavior, avoiding offensive or derogatory language, and treating others as you would in face-to-face interactions, is a really good guideline in how to act appropriete on the internet. It’s so important to remember that there are other people on the other side of the screens. I have splittered opinions on cancel culture.

In one way I think it’s good that a mass reacts strongly when someone express offenisve opinions or act in a bad way. However, sometimes I think reactions are fast and harsh, not giving much room for people to make misstakes or explain themselves.

Tell us something about yourself that you think people would be surprised about.

I don’t think the people who know me would be that surprised, but one of my favourite activities is just walking around smelling and touching flowers. I found that very satisfying and grounding. But some people might be surprised by my contrasting characteristics that makes me seek kicks. This have led to me doing sky diving, diving with sharks, kayaking between islands south of Lofoten and moving countries to name a few examples. 

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it?

Yes! I’m very excited to announce that I’m releasing the single Summer Waltz that also will be included on my coming debut EP. Summer Waltz is a song about inner change that creeps up on you without you even noticing it until it becomes obvious. It’s about deciding what no longer services you and to leave that behind for something new. But it’s also a song about being in the here and now. 

How would you describe the sound of your coming song?

I would say it’s light like a feather dancing in the wind ha-ha. It’s a folk pop & indie pop song with warm acoustic guitars inspired by artists such as Courtney Marie Andrews and Johnny Flynn. In one of my previous singles, Toxic Rain I experimented with adding sound design as a storytelling element. This is something me and my producer Sara Idani have continued with in Summer Waltz. I believe the forest sounds and birdsong that we have included in the song adds an almost meditative layer.

What was the production process like?

It’s been very enjoyable! I have continued to work with the producer and recording engineer Sara Idani who I have worked with on my previous singles. I have written the lyrics and music of Summer Waltz, while Sara has produced the song digitally, but also recorded some of the instruments. 

 We have found a very pleasant and organized way of working together. We have tight communication and an understanding of each other that makes the collaboration smooth.

We have had regular meetings through the process discussing the vision, sounds and direction of the songs. I tell Sara more in depth than most people about the meaning behind each song and how I created them in order for her to really feel an emotional connection and find the matching sound. I have a very big trust in Sara both because she is a technically skilled producer, but also because I know that she really listens and take the time to shape the songs in the way I vision. I’m feeling very spoiled.

The lead vocal was recorded by Samir Ally at Yla Studios. I had a great experience and I have another studio session booked there very soon. I’m also proud to say that I have mixed and mastered the song myself. 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I feel content with the finished song. The song has evolved and many versions have been made to get to the one that is released. Of course, there’s always things I could have done differently. I’ve been fantasising about putting more harmonies on and maybe add an accordion, but that could be something to do on a live version to spice things up. I struggled a bit with handling harshness and syllables in the voice when I mixed but did my best from my current skill- level. It’s a learning journey and every song I finish gives me new insights that I bring with me for future projects. 

What can you tell us about the EP you mentioned?

Of course, I will release my debut EP called “Summer’s Dream” at the end of summer. Make sure to follow my socials for more updates about it. The song Summer Waltz is the first single of the EP. The EP will consist of five songs and are simple and poetic. The themes on the EP are spanning from friendship, gratefulness, personal growth, navigating in life, mental health, and war. It will be filled with dreamy synths, light strings, and minimalistic drums. The influences are spanning from Lana Del Rey, Courtney Marie Andrews, The Cardigans, Sofia Karlsson, and even Swedish psalms. The aim of the sound was to create something beautiful, warm and at the same time wistfully. I’m very excited for this as it’s a life goal and childhood dream of mine that will become true. 

What was the biggest learning curve in creating your new tunes?

To delegate! I didn’t write a new year’s resolution for 2024, but I did write ten key words to lead by, one of them was delegation and another one action. I started to contemplate why I struggle with finishing projects. After all I have so many voice memos and lyrics both in my phone and in my notebooks that are just laying there collecting dust. I concluded that one reason is self-doubt and another one perfectionism, both things I have worked actively to overcome. I also have a stubbornness that makes me want to do things myself, but I’ve realized that working with other people can be both fun, rewarding and giving great results. By delegating I have been able to finish more projects and doing it quicker. 

What are the next steps you plan to take as an artist to reach the next level?

I will release another single in July and then plan to release my upcoming EP at the end of summer, exact date isn’t set, but will be announced on my social channels of course. Then I plan to play more live and perform the songs from the EP. Currently I release my music independently, but I’m starting to consider looking for a label or a creative team to work with. I love the freedom being independent gives and the creative control I have over several aspect of my artist-project. However, funding and reach is something that I find being the biggest challenge right now. But I’m positive about the future and have another project lined up after the EP, but that’s a little bit secret still (shhh).

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

If you live in a busy world, remember to stop sometimes. Breathe, meditate, spend some time in nature. Be kind to other people and try to understand perspectives that differs from your own. And please share more of yourself, if people are happier and more aligned with themselves it only has positive ripples around them. 

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