INTERVIEW: Sweden's AMWIN releases debut EP "It’s scary to be fragile and vulnerable"
Swedish singer AMWIN (real name Amanda Winberg) first came to prominence in 2015 when she placed second on Swedish Idol. Her first single under the AMWIN name, ‘Uber’, was released last year and she quickly gained attention for her ultra-cool blend of R&B, electronica and blunt lyrics (‘You know you’re not staying the night / Fuck me then get dressed your Uber’s outside’ she drawls on ‘Uber’). Today she releases her debut EP AMWIN In Wonderland and we recently caught up with her to chat about the EP, her career and what she has planned for the rest of 2019.
Hi AMWIN! Your debut EP AMWIN In Wonderland is out today. Can you tell me a little bit about the creative process behind the EP?
First of all, I’m so exited for this release. I’m super proud of the project and it’s been a lot of fun making it happen. As always I’m inspired by all types of different things, everything from deserts, to sunsents, to my friends, to late nights out and late night calls. The most important thing making this EP was really just what types of songs I wanted to have with me while I’m on stage. A spectra including everything from hypemode to emotions.
I worked with a small group of people on this EP, my friend Carl Lehman (Liam Payne, AlunaGeorge) has been my closest person creating it and has in some way been a part of the process on all songs. Also UK producer Jay Weathers (Not3s, Ray BLK, Matoma) and Carli Lööf (Galantis), writer Isak Alverus (Seinabo Sey, Silvana Imam), Martine René and a super-talented up and coming producer named Max Thulin.
One of the songs on the EP is called ‘Dua Lipa’. What is it about Dua that you like so much?
Dua Lipa is the shit. She’s super hot, really cool and most people, I think, would do anything for her. Like I would for my crush in the song. Honestly, while making this song it was just the first person I thought of, like ‘Who else is better than ice-cream? Ah, Dua Lipa.’
Was there a particular message, or vibe, you wanted to get across with the songs on the EP?
I really just wanted to allow all emotions and thoughts to have a place with this EP. Regardless if those feelings or characteristics come across as cool, awkward or makes me look fragile. I mean, I can be all of those things and I didn’t want to limit myself by just allowing some sides of me. I’m a Gemini so obviously I’m very ambivalent; strong and fragile at the same time. Hype and outgoing, while sometimes shy. I’m really working on accepting all of those sides to myself and this EP is a part of that process. That’s the message I hope gets across to people listening to my music. Just not adapting to the box that people expect you to fit in to.
Do you have a favourite song on the EP?
It’s so hard to pick one, as they are all my little babies. But I’ll have to say, right now, ‘Dua Lipa’. It was so liberating for me to just write a song that’s straight up a love song, it’s still a bit weird and playful like me, but I’m usually scared of embracing that 100% loving vibe so to me it means a lot and I have a lot of fun performing it, as I feel it has such a good energy.
Your lyrics are full of attitude and are very straightforward, blunt and sexual. Do you think female musicians are judged more harshly than men if they have sexually charged lyrics?
Most definitely. I think women in general are judged more harshly and have higher expectations resting on our shoulders. I don’t really intend to challenge norms, or maybe I do. I just have this need to express my feelings and thoughts, straight up, with no filter. I often feel like people in the music business and people in general, love to place each other in boxes. Boxes filled with expectations and limitations to who we are or want to be. I’m just not here for that.
I recently read an interview where you said writing music was the most intimidating thing you have ever done - why do you think it was so difficult for you?
It’s scary. Facing yourself. I live with myself everyday but there is a whole lot of things I can do to distract myself from my emotions. I’m honestly really good at that. While writing, there is no such thing. It forces me to be in the present and dig deeper within myself. I’ve gotten to know myself so much during the process and for that I’m very grateful. But I’ve had to learn to let go of pride and prestige when it comes to writing and I mean, it’s scary to be fragile and vulnerable. But hey, it’s also really cool.
Do you think writing is getting easier?
It’s a learning process and for me, entering a studio for the first time like 2 years ago, I’ve tried to absorb as much as possible while still being the rookie of the room, ha ha. But music is all about vibe for me, since performing is what I really love I’m now just entering the studio asking myself ‘What would I love to hear jumping around on stage?’- that’s where I’m coming from now and I love love love it. I’m already excited to go back in the studio and create and my EP is barely even out yet.
What artists are you currently listening to?
I’m very obsessed with FKA Twigs. Like obsessed, obsessed. As well as that I’ve always been a huge M.I.A fan. But when I’m home alone I really just listen to old jazz music, it makes me feel relaxed.
Where does your stage name AMWIN come from?
It’s really just a shorter version of my birth name, Amanda Winberg. We all started using it while talking about the project since we’re lazy and didn’t feel we had the time to type out my full name. Then it just felt natural to go by the name I was already using.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2019?
Most importantly, PERFORMING LIVE! I look forward to be on stages vibing to my new music and meet the people who are listening to it. That’s really the reason to why I’m doing all of this. But I also have a lot of projects I’ve been working on that I look forward to sharing. So most definitely, there’s more music to come too!
AWMIN In Wonderland is out now through Dew Process.