Grab a listen to Danish-Swedish singer and songwriter, Linéa’s debut single, a heart-stirring tune that’s sure to hit you right in the feels.
Everybody tune in to the very first release from up-and-coming singer, songwriter and composer, Linéa: the sweet and sentimental journey through love and freedom titled “You & I”. This delicate and soul-stirring new single is the first output from Linéa’s project as a creator and solo artist after hopping around, lending her talents songwriting and composing in purely collaborative contexts. Linéa’s “You & I” delves into the powerful feeling of breathless existence leaving one phase for the next, both shared and apart.
Drawing inspiration from her diverse background as a classically-inclined musician – having started learning the violin, piano and saxophone from a young age, Linéa draws upon a wide variety of influences from instrumentation to production to vocals that all add up to her own unique perspective. This organic, eerily epic indie gem is brought to us in collab with English-American composer and producer, Claire Courchene. Catch our conversation with Linéa on the story behind her debut single, her biggest musical influences and growing up with classical music.
Firstly, what is the story and inspiration behind the new single, ‘You & I’?
“You & I” is about unexpectedly meeting someone who has such a big impact on you that it kind of changes life as you know it. It’s about the feeling of being very connected to and intrigued by a person that you don’t know that much about and how that can be equally frustrating and exciting – especially if you’re not able to share it with anyone. Suddenly you just have this little secret that you carry around with you at all time.
The song feels ethereal and airy yet grounded in reality somehow. Can you give us some insight into the process as far as how it all came together?
I actually got the idea for the overall mood of the song a long time ago – sometime during the summer of 2018 – and started writing some lyrics but didn’t really do anything more with it at that point. It pretty much just stayed in my phone as a note that I would go back to from time to time when I got to think of it. During that same summer I met Claire, the producer of the song, in another songwriting context which eventually lead to me showing her the first demo for ‘You & I’ about a year later.
That first version actually came together kind of by coincidence right before I was heading out the door one day. I had tried out some chords on the guitar and got to think of the old idea stored in my phone, so I just recorded something very quickly and listened to it on the train. I remember being so excited about the sound, mainly because it was the first time I had written something that I really felt like releasing on my own. At that point I kind of figured out what I wanted my music to sound like. During the next couple of weeks I finished the lyrics and melody and recorded some saxophone, and what’s funny is that those saxophone parts as well as the guitar from that very first demo is actually the ones you hear on the final track. We just really liked the vibe even though I’m a pretty bad guitar player haha.
And also, you’re completely right. The song is definitely rooted in reality even though the vibe might seem very dreamy and distant. The lyrics are basically just my everyday thoughts from a certain point in time, and I wanted the music to convey that kind of hazy surreal feeling it is to daydream and fantasize about something that might not ever come true – that when you’re picturing all of these things in your head, they can feel very real but you actually don’t have any idea whether or not they have anything to do with reality.
You play several instruments, you write and of course sing. What was your concept as far as the arrangement/production of the song? Was it easy in the execution?
Actually it all went very smoothly. After I showed the demo to Claire, she spent some time with it and when I got the first draft back from her I just fell completely in love with her take on it. It was exactly what I wanted it to sound like without even knowing beforehand. I’d just told her to do whatever she felt like and it turned out amazing. After that, I pretty much just had to record some final vocals and Claire kept on working on the production for a while and then we sent it to mix/master and it was done. One thing I really like about the final product is that it’s me and Claire that has recorded all of the instruments. I wrote the song, recorded guitar, saxophone and vocals while Claire added strings, trombone and bass in addition to producing the track and that was pretty much it.
What are you listening to right now? Do you have a favorite artist to sing to?
Well, ever since Ariana Grande released her live album from her ‘Sweetener’ tour a month ago, I’ve pretty much been singing along to that one everyday. It’s very good practice and also I love her voice and songs, especially the more recent stuff. Another singer I’ve listened to A LOT during the past year is Norwegian Emilie Nicolas. She is such a great songwriter and a wonderful singer too. I also listen to – and play – a lot of jazz and always go back to singers like Monica Zetterlund, Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker. I’ve learned so much from listening to them, trying to copy their way of phrasing, the quality of the tone, articulation, improvisation etc. A lot of stuff to learn there!
How would you describe your relationship to music? Overall, perhaps.
Hmm, that’s a difficult one. My parents are both classical musicians and when I was about five years old, I started taking violin and piano lessons, going to music schools and later on playing in orchestra, etc., so for me, it’s always been a very natural part of everyday life. Growing up, it was my parents way of making money, so to me it was pretty much just a regular job. I never wanted to be a musician as a kid, I remember telling my parents that all the time, but during my late teens I got more into jazz and pop, switched to the saxophone and later on also singing and songwriting, and suddenly I was really interested in music and now it’s my job – funny how that works out sometimes.
Anyways, because of my upbringing and my parents way of living, I’d say I’ve always had a very practical approach to music. If you want to learn something new then go for it and take it seriously. It’s a job that you do, and if you want to succeed you have to work really hard and practice a lot – just like almost everything else in life. On the other hand, it’s also a very free space for me where I can just have fun and explore new things, especially when it comes to songwriting, so I feel like my relationship with it has two different sides. It’s a playground where I can relax but it’s also my job and it’s important to me to be good at it.
Overall though, music is without a doubt one of the best things I know. Sometimes it’s really tough, it can be boring, difficult, hard on my self esteem etc., but at the end of the day I always feel so content and inspired whenever I’ve been working with music in one way or another. It may sound like a big cliché, but besides from my family and friends, music is without a doubt the only thing that I’m truly passionate about. Simply put, it brings a sense of purpose to life and that’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
What would you say are the biggest influences on your music. (Either from life, events, as far as genre, specific artists, etc.)?
That’s gotta be my Mom and Dad. Even though we’ve ended up playing different genres, it’s so obvious to me how heavily influenced I am by them when it comes to both playing and writing music. I remember being so annoyed with the fact that I had to play the violin, that I had to sit through so many concerts, that there was always someone practicing at home – and if no one was practicing, then there would always be some kind of opera or symphony blasting out of the speakers in the living room. Occasionally, we also listened to stuff like Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, but most of the time it was classical music. I just wanted to listen to Britney Spears and Spice Girls (still love them by the way) but today I’m very thankful that they exposed me to so many different types of music. Watching and listening to my parents really taught me a lot about this kind of pure appreciation for the beauty in the music. About committing and surrendering to it, trying not to let your ego get in the way. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to do that fully, but it’s a nice thing to strive for.
Growing up with the classical tradition, I never really wrote music of my own when I was younger, and I guess it wasn’t until around four years ago when I realized that it was something that I really wanted to do. I pretty much just started from scratch, hating everything that I wrote, but slowly I developed a language that, to me, felt both comfortable and honest. The first song I showed to someone was in connection to my first songwriting job where I had to write a soundtrack for a short film, and luckily the people behind the film were very pleased with the track which really helped me trust my abilities more. After that, I got a few more jobs similar to the first one, and simultaneously I worked towards finding a sound of my own that I liked. So I kind of decided that I wanted to write and release music of my own way before I had ever written anything that I liked. Often it just felt like a plain stupid idea and it was a very frustrating process at times, trying and wanting to be somewhere you’re not, so now I’m actually very happy (and also a little proud) that I stuck it out and ‘cracked the code’ to my own songwriting.
Is there a favorite setting you have as far as writing and creating?
I love writing at home. We have instruments and studio equipment there, and even though it’s not very big or fancy it has everything you need. I always prefer to be alone when I’m recording vocals for my own songs, so that’s another reason I feel like our apartment is the best setting for that – for now at least. Sometimes I get ideas on the go that I write down or record on my phone, but it’s when I’m at home that I can really take my time and try out different things.
What has the transition been like, going from songwriter to making your own music? Is it an easy bridge to cross?
Well, I had written songs for myself for a while before getting jobs as a songwriter, but I never showed them to anyone, and I actually feel like those songwriting jobs were what made me dare to share my songs with other people. It was also a very safe way to do it, since I had a certain task and theme to work from, so it became a really nice way of sharing something personal while still just solving a task – and from there I didn’t feel like the step towards releasing music of my own was that big a deal. Of course it’s a bit scary, because it’s new and I’ve never done it before, but mostly I’m just very excited about the fact that I’ve made something that I feel like sharing with everybody.
What is your parting advice, or words of wisdom for fellow women, creators or just people in general?
Be patient with yourself! Sometimes you just have to wait for things to fall in to place, and while you wait, spend your time getting really good at what you want to do. Practice like crazy, set some goals and work towards them within everything you do, but let the process take its time. It’s so easy to look at what everyone else is accomplishing, thinking that you’re not good enough, longing to be somewhere in life that you’re not, but if you manage to keep your focus on the things that you want, you’ll get there at some point. Just give it time.