An in­ter­view with Rhys Writ­ten by Marie Brunnberg Edited by Meghan Scott

Odalisque - - Connections 2017 -

“I have al­ways dreamed of be­ing a su­per­star”.

Swedish-amer­i­can singer Rhys in­vests all of her en­ergy in mu­sic and she has no other am­bi­tions than to reach out to the world with her bit­ter­sweet songs. She is en­thu­si­as­tic about her fu­ture and, at the ripe age of nine­teen, she has the time and en­ergy to truly fo­cus and be­come a big suc­cess. Rhys ex­plains that her first re­lease was sup­posed to be a teaser for the next re­lease, “Last Dance”, but peo­ple loved the melan­choly and deep “Swal­low your pride” much more than she had ex­pected. “It seems that peo­ple are more sad out there than you would think”, she quips. She is work­ing to­gether with the well-known pro­ducer Jör­gen Elof­s­son, who has made many suc­cess­ful hits for fa­mous pop icons such as Brit­ney Spears, Westlife and Celiné Dion. They are plan­ning to re­lease more sin­gles, an EP and an al­bum later – in clas­sic or­der. She's long­ing to get out on a world tour. In­ter­view with Rhys at Warner Mu­sic, Stock­holm, Swe­den.

MB: How are you dif­fer­ent from other artists?

R: It's hard to see for your­self. Peo­ple say I have a spe­cial voice and that the lis­ten­ers are be­ing af­fected by the way I sing. I hope it's true be­cause I want peo­ple to be able to re­late to my songs. Also, if we talk about my aes­thetic, my face jux­ta­poses with my hair, which is also spe­cial.

MB: You moved to Swe­den when you were ten. How was the tran­si­tion from Port­land, Ore­gon to Stock­holm?

R: Of course it was tough, as it is for ev­ery­one when they move to a for­eign coun­try. But it's be­come good in the end – now I'm used to liv­ing here in Swe­den. I have soon lived in both places for the same pe­riod of time.

MB: Did you speak Swedish then?

R: My mother's Swedish, so I un­der­stood Swedish, but I didn’t speak Swedish and have had to learn. It was quite dif­fi­cult. I sang a lot of Swedish songs – that’s prob­a­bly why I learned the lan­guage so fast.

MB: Have you al­ways been sing­ing?

R: Yes, in var­i­ous ways. When I was a lit­tle girl, I was in­volved in tal­ent shows at school and I have al­ways loved per­form­ing on stage.

MB: Do you miss the US?

R: I don't miss the United States a lot right now. I miss Port­land, my fam­ily and friends. Port­land's open-minded – peo­ple are usu­ally very kind and ac­cept­ing, and of course I miss that.

MB: In what way are you Amer­i­can/swedish?

R: I don't know – hard to say. When I visit the US ev­ery­one says, “Oh, you’re from Sweee­den?” And when I'm here in Swe­den, they see me like an Amer­i­can. I can’t tell in what way, maybe it is in the way I do things. For ex­am­ple, in Swe­den it's not ok to say that you're bet­ter than oth­ers at cer­tain things or cool or any­thing. In that way I'm more Swedish to­day than be­fore.

MB: Does your Amer­i­can side feel a bit in­hib­ited by the Swedish cul­ture?

R: Well, just take a look at my par­ents, my dad is a so­cial but­ter­fly and my mother is a lit­tle more reclu­sive. I am ba­si­cally 50/50 of the two; if I meet a very so­cial per­son, I will re­spond more like my mother would, and more like my father if I talk to a more with­drawn per­son.

MB: What char­ac­ter­izes your songs?

R: Some­thing that is con­sis­tent in my songs is that they are very dark and a lit­tle de­press­ing.

MB: Is that in­flu­enced by Jör­gen or a col­lec­tive ap­proach be­tween you two?

R: I def­i­nitely think that it is I who stands for the dark side. Of course, he can have deep lyrics, but I don't have any happy lyrics. He's a lit­tle more pop than I am – he’s the one light­ing up the songs.

MB: Who in­flu­ences whom?

R: He is a very ex­pe­ri­enced song­writer, so re­ally he could just run me over, but in fact I think we man­age to have a good bal­ance. I speak English so I come up with more ca­sual say­ings, and he is very good at hooks.

MB: Have you writ­ten any songs your­self?

R: Yes, it's very fun. I ex­press my­self more nat­u­rally through my writing and sing­ing than oth­er­wise. In my songs I can show my in­ner feel­ings. It’s ok to be sad. Jör­gen and I wrote “Swal­low Your Pride” to­gether. I will be a part in the most songs go­ing for­ward. It's nice if I can re­late to the lyrics.

MB: Do you feel that the songs con­vey the im­age you want to rep­re­sent for your­self?

R: I like that “Swal­low Your Pride” and “Let’s Dance” are so dif­fer­ent. I want to show more than one side of my­self.

MB: Do you have any fa­vorite artists?

I love Adele. I love ev­ery­thing about her – she's just the best! Her dark voice is so nice and her songs are so emo­tional. She re­ally can tell a story.

R: Is there any­thing in life that you miss at the mo­ment? Maybe love. I don’t know, I'm quite sat­is­fied with my life right now.

MB: Should you tour in Swe­den first, or do a world tour?

R: I'll prob­a­bly go for su­per­star, if pos­si­ble. It's the dream! But, I'll see how it goes.

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Martin Lidell Stylist Jen­nifer Win­ston Hair & make up Cather­ine Le­hto­nen / Söder­berg Agen­tur Pho­tog­ra­pher’s as­sis­tant & dig­i­tal tech Mat­tias Sät­ter­ström Spe­cial thanks to Rex Stu­dio

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