Originally growing up in a musical family with ties to the traditional folk music of the Kurdish region of eastern Turkey, Swedish singer and songwriter KELAA has always had a driven passion to create new and diverse music. With her debut single Good Things gaining huge attention upon its release, she recently returned to deliver her sophomore offering Serefe, which we simply can’t get enough of right now.
So with her profile growing more by the day, we thought now would be the best time to grab her ear and find out more about her, specifically where her influences come from and what she has in store in the months to come.
What is the first album that you remember buying?
Oh wow, that was a long time ago, but I remember that as a kid I was totally fascinated by sounds more than songs in the traditional sense. I remember it was an album with indigenous music of Native Americans. It was an instrumental album that totally hypnotized me and I remember I painted a lot listening to that album. I also listened to a lot of traditional folk music.
Who is your favourite musical storyteller?
There are many but three of my favourite story tellers in modern music today are Imogen Heap, Laleh and Lana Del Rey. They have an ability to make their stories come across easily without compromising their poetry and I love that they manage to avoid clichés.
What inspires you, non-musically, that we wouldn’t expect?
The courage and mental strength of strong women who refuse to be silenced by oppressors. I would say feelings of desperation is a seed for inspiration for me, but also everyday things such as the smell of fresh coffee and a good conversation.
Tell us about your new track Serefe, we love the song – can you expand on the concepts behind it?
Before I started with my own artist project, I was mainly interested in pitching songs for other artists. I had been hesitant towards taking the stage as an artist myself and I could only do that with the condition to be 100% honest in songs I wrote for myself – that scared me. About 18 moths ago I lost a person who had played a huge role in my childhood years. I had been so scared of losing this person that when he was gone, I lost all my others fears too. Around that time Serefe’ was born. It is a very personal song lyrically and production wise, and is about refusing to let go of someone who is no longer there. If my debut single Good Things had the colours yellow, pink and blue, I would say, Serefe is in grey, black and red.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2019?
Finishing more melodic songs in lighter colours, about subjects that matter to me for my own project, and also start collaborations with some of the artists I have in mind.
KELAA’s new single Serefe is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.