Forget immobility: A Swedish singer & songwriter is going forward, unfettered
The twenty-two-year-old Swedish singer, rapper and songwriter Angie cuts a surprisingly low-key and demure figure. Before she makes her way over to the make-up chair at Crea8 Studio in East London’s Hackney Wick, we sat down together on a quiet afternoon.
She twiddles her Scandi brunch in the café. Pink-haired but modestly attired in utilitarian, norm-core leisure wear, she shows no palpable signs of wear and tear from a prior sweaty, well-received gig at London’s Hoxton Bar And Kitchen’s ‘Gold Dust’ club night.
“Memories for lyrical inspiration”, the song, which has become her show-stopping signature, was inspired by a painful break-up with her first proper girlfriend.
In many ways, it represents the catharsis of her recovery from the split. Angie claims to be pan-sexual rather than lesbian - the year-long gay relationship alluded to in the song constitutes her only deviation from this fluidity. She has otherwise always been bi-sexual, “falling for people rather than genders,” as she puts it. Throw into the mix the influences of an imprisoned father, an alcoholic mother, mental health issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the rampant homophobia of the community in which she was raised, and you have enough material for a Gothic novel, not just a pop tune.
Known to her Twitter and Instagram acolytes today as ‘Fucking Angie’, the former bartender’s first musical dabblings consisted of sharing tunes on Snapchat with a Swedish band that led to the formation of her all-female rap outfit, Bossa.
While she’s always played around with melodies in her head, she tells me, she soon discovered the virtues of raw, undiluted emotion when it came to putting her experiences down on paper and melding them to beats.
Her formative musical inspirations were the likes of Eminem and Courtney Love, perennial outsiders whose larger-than-life personalities never obscured the lyrical pull and cinematic sway of the narratives in their songs. Latterly, she cites the late US hip-hopper Lil Peep, retro torch-song stylist Lana Del Rey, Odd Future’s lynch-pin Tyler, The Creator and the Estonian rapper Tommy Cash as role models and pivotal influences on her musical and visual style. Both her consumption and taste are omnivorous, taking in Alt-J, 60’s rock and trap. “Everything except country music,” she says. This wonky eclecticism can be found on the seductive R’n’B jam of last year’s ‘Housewife Spliffin’ and her most recent release, ‘Spun’, a heady dance-floor paean to the transcendent properties of sex and drugs with a production style that invokes the sound of PC Music and AlunaGeorge. “I have forty songs written and recorded in demo form at the moment”, she notes, continuing, “Some songs take longer than others. ‘Spun’ took forever.”
Preferring to sing in English rather than her native tongue – musing on how, in her view, “English is the most beautiful language in the world” – she records musical ideas quickly on her mobile phone and then looks for lyrical inspiration. More than anything, she gravitates to the candour of those artists who write from the depths of their own experience and she sees herself in this tradition.
Angie is clearly thriving off her time in the capital, which she loves for its architecture and colour. She explains that “the cherry blossoms and magnolia trees” are a heavy contrast to the dourness of cities in her home country: “It’s so grey.” That said, she feels freer and less confined by rules in Sweden, citing the penalty notices for public spitting and the volume of the police sirens as things that offend and annoy her about the UK. “It’s much calmer in Sweden,” she asserts, “I get stressed by [the sirens].”
As for her forthcoming plans, once summer festival performances at festivals including Belgium’s Tomorrowland are completed, Angie is looking to complete an album and release a few tracks in Swedish with several collaborators that will see the light of day. Her dream festival slot would be to appear at Glastonbury. “It would be so cool, the crowd is crazy,” Angie says, her voice lit with eager interest.
She wants to do what she enjoys for she acknowledges that fame and attention are by-products of the process, not the crux.
Words: Michael Sumsion
Photography: Vanya Sacha
Assistant photographer: Fathiya Abdalla
Stylist: Mariana Abella
Collection: Lydia Bolton