interview by Shristi Jaiswal
A universal language, loved and understood by all, music is often a predilection of most when words fail to make sense.
The music industry, producing a colossal of songs every year houses a number of artists who rarely fail to give their level best – working tirelessly at odd hours towards their passion. However, even in the twenty first century we still see an astronomical amount of difference between men and women who actually own and produce their own music.
During our conversation with singer and producer Elina Segall we learnt about her experience in the industry and how she decided to forge her own path as an independent artist in order to be a part of a change where women are increasingly producing and owning their music, free from any and all strings attached! We further learnt about her plans for the future along with some interesting facts about her life.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
To start off, I didn’t really think that it was possible for me to pursue a career in music. I had started off with a nine to five office job and naturally thought that this was going to be my life. Then three years ago, one random Sunday I figured that I sing all the time, so I might as well just post it once on Instagram. I had filmed myself singing in the kitchen and was super insecure, hence if you look at that video you’ll realise that you can barely see my face! I was really nervous to post something as vulnerable as art, so after I posted it I didn’t look at my phone for almost two days thinking that people were going to hate on me. But people seemed to really like it and since then I started posting myself singing every Sunday which later came to be known as The Sunday Sessions. I think this was an important moment in my life as it made me delve deeper into how I wanted to live and made me choose music as my career.
What made you decide to be an independent artist?
So, the Sunday Sessions started reaching people, my following had started to grow and I was really excited about that. It was then that Warner Music Sweden held this competition called the Warner Music Talent and I thought to participate. It was a long shot and I wasn’t really expecting much so it was surreal for me when I ended up winning the competition! They had offered me a record deal but after months of going back and forth after reviewing the contract I eventually turned it down as I knew it wasn’t for me. I started to educate myself more about the music industry and realised that I wanted to produce and own my music and if I had signed a deal with a label then I wouldn’t be able to that anymore.
How would you describe your journey towards being an independent artist?
I have always been writing lyrics and melodies but I have never really produced my own music. So, I started to look into it and it made me aware of the drastic underrepresentation of women in the music production industry. In L.A itself- being one of the world’s top music production capital- there are only two percent producers who are women! Therefore I decided that I wanted to broaden my network and develop myself as an artist. So I packed my stuff and moved to Los Angeles. Here, I met a lot of people- great producers who helped me grow. Hence, my journey is about me being in control of writing and producing my own music, inspiring other females to do the same and to show them that there is a place for us.
“My journey is about me being in control of writing and producing my own music, inspiring other females to do the same and to show them that there is a place for us.”
Out of all the sessions you have done, looking back what would you say was your favourite cover?
In some way I think it’s my first session, You don’t own me by Grace as it got it all started. However performance wise it’s Anywhere by Rita Ora.
What is your favourite album to jam to when you are alone in the car?
I’m really into the album Blood Type by Cautious Clay.
One quirky thing about you that no one knows?
I love to wear my socks halfway! I don’t why but I think I get the best of both worlds that way.
A travel destination that you love the most?
My favourite destination right now is Colombia.
What does music personally mean to you?
It’s an emotional outlet. When I get anxious sometimes instead of talking I’d rather funnel my emotions through music.
“I want to step away from being known just as a cover singer and produce original songs thereby developing myself as an artist.”
Are you working on any original songs?
Yes, I am. Since I started working on learning how to produce music, I’ve been in sessions with people in L.A. Even now during quarantine I’ve been producing and writing music by myself.
What genre of music are you into?
I’m very much into R&B and Soul music.
Do you plan on moving back to LA after the pandemic is over?
Yeah, that is the plan. Right now I’m in Sweden but after things starts to look up I’m definitely planning to move back.
Growing up which band/singer’s poster would be taped to your bedroom walls?
Oooh, definitely Spice Girls! I used to dance around in my room and act like I was one of them. Also, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston were a huge inspiration.
If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?
Do you plan on releasing an album of your own?
Yes, I have not set a date for it yet but it is in the process. Whether it will be an EP of a few songs or an album, is still in discussion.
Who would you like to most collaborate with?
I would really like to collaborate with Khalid. His music is just amazing.
After completing your Sunday sessions, what step do you plan to take next?
After wrapping up the Sunday sessions, all that time is going to go into producing music and song writing. I want to step away from being known just as a cover singer and produce original songs thereby developing myself as an artist.
A favourite book of yours?
Annah Björk ‘s “Ni måste flytta på er” aka You all have to get out of the way. It’s a book where the music journalist Annah Björk tells the story of several female artists and producers. It includes topics such as sexism, sexual abuse and the patriarchy within the music industry.
Excluding music, what are you most passionate about?
Definitely photography. It’s second to song writing and singing.
An experience that you believe has greatly influenced your life?
It was when I left Sweden for the time and moved abroad to London on my own. I moved to carry out an internship with the BBC. I think it was the time that made me take charge of my own life and be truly independent.
What would you say to all the budding singers out there who want to make a name for themselves?
I would say stay true to what you want to do because it’s so easy to jump on everything that’s trending and new. Be consistent; don’t just do something you believe in for just a week. Work towards your goals every single day.
Any quote you want to leave us with?
Opportunity comes to those who create it.