The Swedish alt-pop singer on having a sense of humour and penning her song, “Dua Lipa.”
Swedish Idol may not be the most conventional start for most recording artists, but there’s nothing conventional about Stockholm-based artist AMWIN (aka Amanda Winberg).
After coming second place in the talent competition, the signer signed with Universal Sweden and has since spent her time finessing her irresistible but minimal pop/hip-hop/electronic hybrid sound, culminating in zeitgeisty titled tracks such as “Dua Lipa” (that’s right), “Uber” and “DeLorean.”
But before you think her songs are pop culture-saturated for the sake of being saccharine, you’d be wrong. Pearl-clutching territory exhibit A? Unapologetically feisty lyrics detail her aims to source a time-travelling DeLorean vehicle and “fuck Leonardo DiCaprio in his prime.”
Last month, she dropped her highly-anticipated EP, “AMWIN in Wonderland,” and it’s clear that things are very much on the up. We chatted to the singer below…
How did you start out making music?
I grew up in a small city outside of Gothenburg in Sweden, and when I was 18 I started singing and getting to know who I wanted to be as an artist. From there, I applied to [Swedish] Idol, ended up in second place, and started working with Universal. I entered the studio for the first time when I was 19 and released my first single 3 months later. From then on, I’ve really just spent time playing around and experimenting with different expressions: in the studio, on stage, and through dancing.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I’ve had so many different periods of influence in my life. I’ve listened to everything from Nirvana to Sinead O’Connor, to the Fugees, Madonna and Britney. I think I’ve always just been inspired and intrigued by people who don’t seem to compromise with their craft. Unapologetic people.
How do you think growing up in Gothenburg has affected your music?
Growing up in a small town has its pros and cons. When it comes to having platforms for creative things, smaller cities usually don’t have quite the same support to offer. That, to me, made it difficult to figure out how to approach my dream for a career in music. Gothenburg does have a very inspiring energy and vibe though; I have a lot of love for my hometown and I always go there when I need to recharge.
What’s been the biggest lesson from being on Swedish Idol?
Honestly, I had barely been on a stage performing before Idol. I’ve learnt a lot. It was very intense, but that suits me. I like proving myself and learning quickly. I don’t have a lot of patience with things and I’m very eager to experience all that I can. I’m very proud and happy that I even get to call music my career, and everything else is a bonus.
Your song “Dua Lipa” – has she ever contacted you about it?
Not yet. Dua Lipa, hit me up!
Where do your main inspirations come from?
I pull a lot of inspiration from the artists I grew up listening to, because they all represent a similar idea in my mind – that you should put everything you have into your art, even if it’s different from what others are doing.
A lot of your songs, “Dua Lipa,” “Uber,” “DeLorean” have quite culturally significant names – why focus on this?
I really just like to write about things that play a relevant role in my life, and then put a weird or interesting twist on them, depending on what pops up in my mind. Considering my age, for instance, I tend to get places a lot by Uber, what can I say?
Do you think it’s important to incorporate humour into your music?
Most definitely. That’s why, to me, it’s very important to be able to laugh at myself. Honestly, it’s not that serious. Maybe it’s just my way of trying to keep some distance between myself and the whole thing as well. It’s so easy to become very serious about the music and everything around it, when it’s your job. But I always want to stay playful and remember to appreciate and enjoy what I’m doing.
How do you want fans to feel when they come away from listening to your music?
I want for those who listen to my music to be able to feel like they can break out of the designated boxes society has put them in. I think everyone should feel like they can express all sides of themselves, and it’s important for me to give that message a platform. Showing your weaknesses or imperfections is a sign of strength.
What’s the best of feedback you’ve ever had about your music?
I think the best feedback is just when people listen to it. I just want to make people feel something. I don’t care if it’s a feeling of being annoyed, offended, in love or excited.
Describe your style.
I’m pretty much a messy Audrey Hepburn in Wonderland, dancing with that joker cat on a table with her shoes off. Does that make sense? Yeah.
What do you like to perform in?
With fashion, as well as with music, I enjoy playing around with different styles. When I was younger, I could change my style from day to day. Almost like entering a new character, asking myself every morning “Who do I want to be today?” I could be punk one day and the next I’d put on a suit or a tutu skirt. Today, I feel more confident with the fact that I do have a lot of different sides to me, as most people do. I don’t feel that I have to choose which one I’m going to allow, I’m allowing myself to be all of me, every day. On stage is my sacred place, so I’m really just about feeling comfortable when I’m on it. But right now, I’m in this tulle psychosis, so there are a lot of different tulle dresses with sneakers.
What’s next for you?
I’m super, super excited to start performing more live shows this summer. That’s really my favourite part of being an artist, to be on stage and share those moments with the audience. I feel the most in touch with myself on stage, and it’s my safe zone to let all of my emotions run free and wild. Aside from that, I have a lot of music not yet released, so I’m looking forward to continuing to share more of what I’ve been working on.