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Introducing: Elina

Brace yourself for the greatness of Elina – the singer-songwriter whose craft specializes in making stunning mellow-sounding pop, with a few ingredients of stripped-back folk thrown in for good measure.

Elina’s curiously bright outlook on life is painted through each song she makes and has led her up to creating her masterful debut album Whatever Happens Now, which finally arrived this month. Describing the process as a therapy session, the record lifts a huge weight off the singer’s back; a breath of fresh air for the future.

Feelings of desperation, misery, and fury are heard throughout each of its nine tracks, all of which conclude with Elina’s realization of living for herself and not to the standards of others. In her words, ‘Whatever Happens Now’ is “a closing chapter” that reflects on the last few years, Elina learning acceptance and finding hope in the process.

EUPHORIA. were lucky enough to catch Elina perform a selection of album tracks atop the elusive Harrods rooftop last month, and now we sit down in an exclusive interview to unravel Elina’s monumental songwriting past, advice for breaking into the industry and the backstory of how Whatever Happens Now came to fruition.

Which musical icons do you draw the most influence from?

I’ve had so many heroes over the years. I grew up with everything from Kiss and Toto to Swedish indie bands like Kent to Shania Twain. I’ve always loved the melodic world of rock and country and of course pop. I think those first influences very much paved the way for my own songwriting. 

You grew up in a small Swedish village – do you think this environment inspired the type of music you make today?

I was definitely given a lot of space to explore my own creativity. I’m an only child, we lived close to nature and my parents always let me do my thing. I believe so much in encouragement. I think it’s crucial in order for inspiration and creativity to bloom. 

Before becoming a fully-fledged musician you were a prestigious songwriter, writing some of the biggest hits for NEIKED, Zara Larsson, Maroon 5, and SZA – how did you get to start writing for such prominent figures in music?

I was lucky enough to have wonderful people believing in me and helping me record the first few songs that got me my first publishing deal. I moved to Stockholm and started doing writing sessions straight after university, I got to travel and meet so many talented people. The weird thing is that you never really reflect on it then and there. You just do. You’re so caught up in it and so eager to move forward. I think that’s both a blessing and a curse. You definitely need to be target-oriented but it’s also important to take a pause every once in a while and acknowledge your own growth and progress as a writer. 

What is your favorite part about writing for other artists?

I just love the moment in a session where you find that magical phrasing or melody and it’s like this electric eel runs through the body of everyone in the room. Few things can beat that feeling when the song emerges and you can see the excitement in everyone’s eyes. Even though I’ve stepped away from writing for other people, I sometimes miss the playfulness of it. It’s easier to keep a bit of a distance. You put less pressure on it from an emotional perspective which I think often allows you to access your creativity in a different way. 

We had the honor of watching you perform at the iconic Harrods rooftop recently – how does it feel to be performing your music in front of these new audiences?

Lovely to have you there! I had such a wonderful time. I’m always super nervous before going on stage, especially if I perform in front of a small group of people. It’s a wonderful thing though, to play live. It’s not really possible to feel that kind of connection to an audience in any other way. In these digital times where we consume more and more through screens, I believe live music is more important than ever. 

Word on the street is that your debut album ‘Whatever Happens Now’ is soon approaching – I bet you’re feeling such a whirlwind of emotions.

To say the least! It’s a bittersweet feeling really, to let go of something you’ve been so invested in every day for over two years. At the same time, I feel relieved that it’ll soon be out. It’s like an end to a chapter for me, both in music and in life. 

How long has this album been in the making? Were there any hurdles you had to overcome when making it, or was it quite smooth sailing?

We started writing it in the spring of 2021. The songs came about pretty quickly and effortlessly. The production and mixing part took way longer but I think it had a lot to do with the new and unfamiliar process of making something as extensive as an album. There were so many decisions to make, so many different ways to go, and soundscapes to explore. I definitely became aware of how much energy it takes and what a challenge it is to trust your vision on the days when everything just sounds like shit. Haha!

The record is a stunning collection of personal stories, one of our favorite tracks is “I Should’ve Danced More,” it has such a nostalgic feel to it – how did this particular track come about?

So happy you’re mentioning this song in particular. This was the one song that just came to us. I always hear about people writing their favorite songs in an hour but I haven’t really experienced that myself until we wrote this one. We were on our way out for dinner one evening and someone started playing this chord progression on the guitar and it just wrote itself from there. We kept the first recording of it from that same day and it’s that version we decided to release. 

We’d love to know which other songs on the album you’re most looking forward to people hearing.

“You make me think of fire” has a very special place, and so does “I don’t know love.” I’m not really sure why but certain songs just hit differently. They’re all extensions of what’s going on inside and some just have a way of expressing that more powerfully than others. 

As an artist who is just breaking out into the industry, which piece of advice would you give other musicians in your position?

Trust your gut feeling. It’s so easy to lose yourself in this business. It’s so easy to let other people convince you that you need to change. At the end of the day, it’s you who is going to be the face of your music. I think the most important thing of all is to feel proud of what you put out. You need that connection to your music in order to get through the tougher times. 

How will you be celebrating the release of the album? 

I actually have a show in London on the same day as the album release, which feels like the perfect way to celebrate!