SA: “There Will Be Sunshine” represents my life, what it’s been so far. I’m trying to explain who I am, where I’m from, and what I’m about. I deal with different subject matters on the EP, and bad things are some of them.
There’s a song called “Paradise” which is storytelling about my journey, trying to make it. I sing “I’m just a mile from paradise.” I explain what my life was before, in school, in the first verse. And the second verse is about where I am right now in life. I think it’s a mix of the past and right now. I’m just eager to get it out.
OKP: But even though you say it’s about who you are in the past, the title is There Will Be…you didn’t say “There was…”
SA: Exactly. I’m still working on it.
OKP: So with the song that Killer Mike and Common worked with you on, did you have a song written and they came into fit with what you had, or was it a pure collaboration from scratch?
SA: What happened was I worked with No I.D. on all my stuff and he was working with Common at the same time for Common’s new album. We were all in the same studio. But when his feature happened I was in Sweden visiting my family.
Apparently Common walked in the room when No I.D. was working on the beat and the song was already done, it was finished. And Common was like “Wait a minute, what is this?” I love this beat and I love what she’s singing. I love this subject, I wanna jump on this. So he jumped on it and I had no idea. They called me and said “Common, by the way, jumped on your song!”
I’ve always been told that No I.D. is the biggest hip-hop producer–he could easily just call somebody but he knows that’s not what I’m about. I want everything to happen organically. I don’t believe in forcing somebody to jump on my track, because then they’re not going to give their best. I don’t believe in produced collaborations. It was such an honor for me that he heard it and wanted to jump on it, so it was the right way.
OKP: And the Killer Mike verse?
SA: Kind of similar, yeah. I actually wanted a remix to the song, so it was a little bit more thought-out. But again it wasn’t forced. He actually was in L.A. working with No I.D. and I came by to the studio and met him and sat and talked to him and he was such a cool and funny guy. We really vibed. I played him my songs and he really loved “Bad Things” and he’s a fan of Common as well. He was like “Oh shit, how am I going to beat this…But yeah, I’ll do it!” And he wanted to jump on it. I was there when he did it and it was really cool. I think he had a good take on the song, it’s a different take than Common. I love both verses but they’re just different.
OKP: Working with No I.D. and those collaborations that have come naturally–do you feel that you’re a hip-hop artist in a sense? How do you think about the music that you make?
SA: No, I don’t think I’m a hip-hop artist. I’m not a rapper. I know it’s not the typical No I.D. collaboration, which I think is interesting. He does his thing and I do my thing but it still goes together which I find really beautiful and different from what we’ve both done before.
When people ask me what music I do I always say “alternative soul,” but it definitely has that hip-hop foundation. When the drums are on, they’re No I.D. drums, but what people don’t know is that No I.D. arranged strings and puts what I want to have in the songs as well. I’m all about strings and choirs and he has a group of musicians around him that he’s really good at producing with. So he really brings out what I love. He always jokes with me saying “You’re producing in your mind” because I’m so hands-on and know what I want. He’s all about letting the artist be their ultimate, exactly what they want to be.
OKP: Do you feel like you’re now at home in L.A.? Or do you feel that Sweden is still home?
SA: On my EP my intro is called “Stockholm” and on that song I talk about that, not knowing where home is. It’s not Stockholm anymore, but it’s not L.A. yet. I don’t know where home is. L.A. has definitely become my base. I’m not going to move back to Sweden; I’m going to visit. My family is there. Sweden is good, but for a long time it gets depressing. But it’s beautiful. That’s the goal. L.A. sometimes and New York. I love London, so much, too. And in a little while I’ll be touring, so home will be a suitcase I guess.