Q&A with Mekdes: “I started making music because I knew I was good at it”

“Even though I had a tough time, I never lost hope, cause I always knew that this was my thing and music was my identity.” Get to know rising Danish R&B and pop star Mekdes!

Mekdes by Emma Ishøy
Photo by Emma Ishøy

Back in September, our music editor Nikoline and videographer/photographer Emma headed over to Oslo to participate in by:Larm Festival 2021. Besides from an excuse to visit the lovely capital of Norway and meeting new people, the festival also serves as a go-to spot for upcoming music. Each year, a bunch of new musical acts kick off their career at this festival that has previously presented artists such as Lykke Li, Robyn and Mø (to name a few…)
The Scandinavian music scene is blooming and by:Larm Festival is a proof of exactly that.

During our stay, we took a deep dive into the line-up and got in touch with some of the artists we found particularly interesting.

These coming December weeks, you’ll get a chance to meet some of the talent that we fell for at the festival, and we’re starting off with the brilliant R&B, soul and pop artist Mekdes.

Hailing from Kolding, a seaport in the south of Denmark, Mekdes has melted hearts with her irresistible smooth jams – including ours.

Since 2018, she’s released soulful singles like “Right Direction”, “On My Mind” and “In Favor Of You” before dropping her debut EP Fly in the summer of 2020. 2021 has only seen Mekdes’ popularity increasing, which so far culminated in her winning the prestigious prize “P3 Talent” at the national radio award show P3 Gold.

We asked Mekdes to finish a few sentences for us when we met her in the yard of a central Oslo hotel, so you can get to know her and her music better. Read along after checking out her latest single “Greedy”.

Hi, I’m Mekdes and I’ve been making music since… Forever. I’ve always been playing and practicing. I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was born, literally. When I was a kid I would cover other songs and learn all the choreographies from Disney Channel. But I started making music properly when I got into a conservatory preparatory school and I was told to write a song and perform it within the next couple of days with a band that I didn’t know. I made a song called “Under Pressure” and it was about making a song under pressure. Since then, I’ve been producing and writing songs. 

I started making music because… I knew that that was my purpose. I never doubted that. My mom always tells me that I started singing before I could talk. I just had it in me. It didn’t come from my parents cause they’re sports people and I’m adopted. But I guess I started making music because I knew I was good at it.

At that time, I was also the weird kid, and people didn’t really get me. Because I’m adopted, I did a lot of wrong things because I couldn’t really tell the difference between wrong and right. So every time I got told that I was doing something wrong, I was like: “Oh, you just don’t understand, and I’m gonna be a star, so f*ck you!” Haha! Even though I had a tough time, I never lost hope, cause I always knew that this was my thing and music was my identity.

If I were to describe my music I would say it sounds kind of like…. Me! It’s very pop, soul, and R&B, but with a twist of Mekdes! And that’s the best way I can describe it. 

I’m really proud of… the fact that I got to this point where I can produce and write everything myself while living in Kolding, which is not the capital of Denmark. I’m proud of that because that was always my goal – to do whatever I wanted and to do it for a living.

I’ll never forget when… I opened the big stage at Smukfest. That was a very big day for me. I had played at a smaller stage for a contest where I was competing with other new artists, and the winner would get to open the biggest stage of the festival. That was kind of cool. No one knew my name at that time in 2019. It was fun to play on such a big stage, but I sang for an audience who was just waiting for the next big act to go on haha!

I feel the most empowered when… I play my music and people sing along. And I’m still not used to it. But it’s so amazing to look people in the eyes and see them singing my songs but with their history. Ugh, I just love that feeling! It’s the best. 

Mekdes by Emma Ishøy

A lot of my music is about believing in yourself and knowing your worth no matter who tells you that you’re not good enough – Mekdes

When people listen to my music, I hope they… feel empowered! A lot of my music is about believing in yourself and knowing your worth no matter who tells you that you’re not good enough.

If I met my 14-year-old-self, I’d tell her… to keep going – which she did! So she would be like: Shut up, I already know that! 

No, I would actually tell her to drop out of high school. I finished it and I know that it made me a more mature person, but the first year of high school is where I met all of the friends I have today. So I wish that I had just dropped out and started my career earlier. But I’m also happy with where I am today, and I don’t know if that would have happened if I didn’t go…

I want you to know that… remember to be yourself no.matter.what! Cause people like different, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. They want you to be you! And  just remember that if you fight hard enough you can get there. Believe in yourself. It’s important!

Mekdes
Photo by Emma Ishøy

Since you’re here, we assume you like music. So do we! And that is why we’ve created a playlist that is updated every Friday with the best new music we’ve come around during the week. Find it on Spotify here and check out our other music related content here to never miss a beat.

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