OKP: You don’t want to give your previous artist name?
OKP: Do you mind if I ask your given name?
SA: My name is Snoh, for real. But I made up Aalegra. I have an explanation for it. My name is Snoh, and then, I don’t know if you remember a while ago there was this rapper from Canada named Snow with a “W”? It was legal stuff–he could have sued me for my name. Even if it’s spelled differently, it was about how you pronounced it. So my label asked me to add another name, and I didn’t want to do it at first. It took me such a long time to figure out what I wanted. I believe a lot in energies and that what you put out there, your words, are powerful, so I thought about “Aalegra.” It means “joyful” in Italian, and I haven’t been the happiest person growing up, and even when I walk in the room I’m not the bubbliest, loudest person. If you listen to my EP, you’ll hear darkness.
I thought it would be a positive thing to add “Aalegra” to my name, thinking maybe I’ll get more joy in my life. Not to sound weird but since I did it, my live has been more positive, I’ve met more positive people and I’ve been more positive.
OKP: Are you Italian?
SA: No, I’m Persian. But I was born and raised in Sweden.
OKP: Both your parents are Persian?
SA: Yes. I was born in a city called Uppsala, which is also close to Stockholm.
OKP: I’m curious–Aalegra to me suggests opera and Italian classical music. Do you have any background in classical music? When you say you were going to high school for music, what sort of stuff were you studying?
SA:I don’t have any background in opera, no. I auditioned, singing, and so I just sang the soul, r&b-ish style I sing now, and I studied different things. I had to pick another instrument as well, so I picked drums and I drummed for two years. I used to play piano as a kid and I sucked. But then I learned how to conduct an orchestra and stuff like that, but we also read all the normal subjects as well. It was just more music-based. We did acting as well, it was an all around creative school.
OKP: Growing up in Sweden, what was your main influence?
SA: My mom played a lot of soul music in the house. A lot of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Houston. And then later on I really got into Lauryn Hill. She’s somebody I really am inspired by and look up to a lot.
OKP: Tell me a little about this EP and how it came together. Was the music on it recorded before the collaborations that we’ve heard?
SA: All the songs on my EP are about one to two years old, I’ve been working on my album for about 2-3 years. These songs are also going to be on my album–I just picked some songs that I thought would represent me as a good first impression.
OKP: So the album is all ready, you know what’s going to be on it?
SA: It’s all ready. But you never know, I still keep writing and I always aim to try to beat the songs that I have. But if somebody asked “Do you have an album ready for tomorrow?” then the answer is yes, I do.
The EP is called There Will Be Sunshine, and one of the songs is called “There Will Be Sunshine” as well. As I said, I’ve been through a lot of dark things in my life and I’ve chosen to write about my life so far. When you do your first album you have your whole life to write about. But the theme is still hopeful and full of light. Although it’s been dark, I’m hopeful, and the theme will go into the album in a different title.
I worked with No I.D. and also with other co-producers and co-writers. I chose to work with a small group of people. I don’t believe in working with a thousand different people, I don’t believe you get a cohesive sound. I recorded all of these songs in LA and wrote some of them there and also in London.
OKP: You keep referring to some of the dark things that you’ve struggled with–can you give me an idea of what you’re referring to?
SA: It’s just been tough growing up in Sweden. There’s some stuff I can’t talk about. Just the struggle. Everybody goes through one and we all have our own story. I’ve been through a lot–I was bullied through all of school. I have divorced parents and went through all of that. I explain it better in my music than in interviews…
OKP: Do you feel that this is going to be a new chapter? That there will be sunshine?