It's now an undeniable fact: Sweden produces the best pop music.
SKOTT is the latest artist adding to that tradition, but don't be fooled - this isn't something you've heard before. Yes, her music is pop, but it has a distinct tone; a level of assurance that you wouldn't expect to hear from a pop singer. It's not just in the way SKOTT sings, but also the way she moves her body, how her eyes enter your mind as she lets the words flow from her lips.
Seeing her win over the packed Mercury Lounge was a massive treat, and talking to her about her music was the icing on the cake.
When did writing music start for you?
I enjoyed making up melodies for the violin when I was a kid, but it started for real when I was a teenager and discovered video and computer game music. I downloaded a free tracker program where I could produce simple 8-bit sound-alike music. I had some friends that liked to program simple computer games, and my role was to make the music for them. Since then, I've always dreamt about having my music in a real video game one day.
Does the way people react to your music make you think about how you want to approach writing in the future? What I mean is, does writing ever feel reactionary for you?
I hope what other people think and how they react to my music doesn't affect my own opinion too much. I like to think that if I keep making music that I really like, it's more likely that someone else might enjoy it too.
The first song I heard of yours was 'Glitter And Gloss', tell us about that song, not how it was made, but what it means to you now that other people have heard it?
'Glitter & Gloss' is my one song that is the hardest to explain the meaning of; there are different layers to it. Inner conflict and a battle between what's real and what's only for appearances - surface versus inside, real versus fake. It's also about being attracted to things that you know don't matter on a deeper level. But the main message is that you don't have to put on a show, just be who you are.
The song started as more of a piano ballad almost, it's funny how aggressive it got in the end, but the song naturally wanted to go there.
What has it been like to perform your music in front of audiences (in the states) for the first time?
It's exciting to be in the states for the first time performing. What matters to me is the audience, and they've been fantastic everywhere I go. I was very touched and surprised about how devoted the American crowd was, people were singing along, and that's the most amazing feeling as a songwriter and an artist. There was even one guy who showed up to each and every show on the US tour. It still feels strange to me that people so far away from home have been listening to my songs.
What's your headspace like, leading up to a show?
I have trouble eating the whole day before a show, and my tummy's filled with butterflies. I get very nervous but I calm myself by thinking that I get this nervous every time, and I still have tons of fun on stage.
I saw you perform at Mercury Lounge, and it very much felt like the music encompassed your emotions as the set went on. That the life of the songs would have the way you moved and the way you sang be so distinct. What is something that's surprised you about performing these songs live?
Before I started to perform the songs, I didn't expect to get as emotionally involved on stage as I find myself doing now. Another thing that I've discovered is that I'm getting to know the songs even better by performing them live, and I feel things now that weren't as obvious to me when I was writing them. For example, 'Wolf' is about despair and longing, but when I perform it, it also makes me feel strong and unstoppable. Originally, 'Porcelain' as a song is quite numb and there's an acceptance of sadness, but when I perform it live, I get a sense of desperation.
We chatted about your hand mark, and how it represents your family, can you tell us a bit more about that symbol and what it means to you?
I used to paint it everywhere when I was a child. For generations, it's represented the Skott family - you could call it like our crest. It was used to mark the things that belonged to the farm. My sisters have had it tattooed since forever, but I continue to draw it on myself in various forms, and sneak it into basically all the artwork.
An incredible element about music is the way it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us. When I watched you performed it was very different than when we were talking before the show; it was almost like I was witnessing a different person. What has writing music taught you about yourself?
Music is definitely incredible in the way it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us. As a musician, you learn to embrace the whole spectrum of your emotions, and it's funny how you can take a really dark, weak part of yourself and turn it into something beautiful through art. It's like learning to make the most of every weakness and use it for something greater.
Skott can be found over on Facebook.