While Aalegra has been in and out of the music business since she was 14, There Will Be Sunshine has proven to be the breakthrough she’d been hoping for. The entire EP was produced and co-written with the help of hip-hop legend No I.D., whose keen ear for taut drums and stately pianos helped create the perfect foundation for the Swede to bring out her inner muse. Okayplayer caught up with Aalegra on an icy cold New York afternoon for a photoshoot and interview as she prepared to jet back to her adopted (and much sunnier) home of Los Angeles. Snoh spoke to her about her difficult past, her exciting present, and a future that’s been years in the making. Read on to learn more about why the hip-hop world is so in love with Snoh, and what the singer has planned for 2015.
Okayplayer: Please introduce yourself to the nice people…
Snoh Aalegra: My name is Snoh Aalegra, I’m from Sweden. I grew up in a town of about 40,000 people about 40 minutes away from Stockholm. I went to high school and stuff in Stockholm, so I used to take the train everyday for about 40, 50 minutes there and then back to go to this musical high school there.
When I was younger–when I was about 14–I got signed to my first major deal in Sweden, so also then I was going back and forth to Stockholm. So I lived on the trains, that’s what feels like home to me.
OKP: Did you get that deal based off of what you were doing in school, or was it related to something else?
SA: No, actually. I started singing and writing songs when I was 9. I was determined to be a singer. And then my mom told me–she was fully supporting me, and I was a kid–that if I still thought I wanted to be a singer when I was 14 that she would help me pursue it in some way or another. And when I was 13 I told her “Mom, I’m ready. I want to be a singer.”
OKP: So the first deal was with Sony Sweden?
SA: Yeah. I have contact with him to this day still, he’s been supporting me. I had a publishing deal with them then, in Sweden. A development deal. I did my thing and after a while we went our separate ways. I was in school, stuff like that. And then I’ve been in bad deals–I really have done the long industry thing. I learned a lot, and it’s really shaped me and prepared me for what i’m doing right now. It sounds like a cliché but it’s really the truth. It’s the only way to learn.
OKP: So would you say that your artistic persona has always been the same, or has it changed?
SA: It’s changed a lot.
OKP: Were you signed under Snoh Aalegra, then?