Thousands of artists have changed genres and direction over the years. For example, Swedish artist Robyn began her career as a soul singer before growing into the internationally renowned indie pop star. Gifted soulful voices, in particular, tend to be snapped up by music executives and thrust onto the lucrative global pop stages.
I, on the other hand, admit to having an increasing fascination and respect for artists who have crossed from pop/indie to soul.
Swedish artist Markus Hasselblom made the transition from indie-pop to soul music and described the difference this way, ‘It’s more emotional singing soul. I get very emotional. It’s quite draining afterwards. You have to give more’.
A recent convert to the altar of soul is Swedish singer/songwriter FREDRIKA.
The dark-haired singer’s style – a black leather jacket and boots, retains the visual history of her indie band past. Current photos show her in curls of coloured smoke — a hint of the rebirth and awakening of a new soulstress. The Phoenix.
Fredrika introduced us to her new sound with two previously released singles Too Loud and The Talk. Both songs feature on her debut four-track EP Under Water.
The duo of tracks impacted with R&B authenticity, balanced productions and non-contrived sentiments. With a theme on the torment of love, Fredrika keeps it beyond the cliché, while adding enough variations and dynamics to intrigue. When Fredrika writes about a difficult conversation in The Talk, the lyrics and the pain emanate a personally experienced saga.
The soulful musicality of In My Dreams is impeccable, with Fredrika’s vocals drawing similarities to the late great Amy Winehouse. In the other tracks, there is no vocal comparison, as Fredrika imparts her individual sound. And for me, it’s a good thing as this is the only time you sense her trying to find ‘her’ voice.
The EP rounds off with the soothing Under Water. Harmonious with gospel sensitivities, the song conjures a sense of weightlessness, freeing and liberating instead of feeling enclosed and trapped.
Sweden is still waking up to the rich tapestry of soulful artistry happening in Scandinavia. Fredrika demonstrates connecting to the heart, opens a world of captivating soul, no matter who listens. But I sincerely hope people do. I’d like to see this Phoenix rise.
With a theme on the torment of love, Fredrika keeps it beyond the cliché, while adding enough variations and dynamics to intrigue. FREDRIKA's first steps into the world of soul/R&B are confident ones and a positive beginning!