Her newest album “Understrøm”, released on the 2. September 2016, gave us chills and reminded us that music is a universal language. Clara Sofie is one of the most characteristic Danish female artists, balancing on the borders of experimental and mainstream music with grace and charm.
Good because Danish had a little chat with her – about singing in Danish, the music scene of her country and of course – about the new album “Understrøm”.
Read the interview below and don’t forget to give a listen to the great new release from Clara Sofie!
Good because Danish: Nowadays most artists are singing in English, but you decided otherwise. Why did you release the whole album in Danish? Are there any advantages of writing lyrics in Danish for you?
Clara Sofie: Well, initially I did write in English as Clara Sofie. I lived abroad for three years when I started making music, so English came naturally. Thinking back I think I switched into Danish because I wanted to separate myself from a very bad experience I had in London with a producer who went mental on me. I practically fled back to Denmark. Since then all my releases under the name Clara Sofie have always been in Danish. And since this is my fourth album I thought, “why change now?”. I’m building up a brand and I have a certain style of writing under this name, so I found it silly to change. I do still write in English under an alias (Alia Fresco), under which I’m releasing an EP this year also. So I get to explore both languages.
Danish for me is my mother tongue, so the print is deeper once I get it right, if you know what I mean. It’s fragile and powerful, because there’s no way around the lyrics when you hear it. That also makes it challenging. I have to balance in between meaningful lyrics and banalities.
How do you see Danish music scene has changed over the years? Is it more open to go outside or still more closed in the borders of the home country? As Good because Danish is focused on promoting Danish music outside of Denmark, we are curious what do you think is the key potential of Danish music?
I think we have become more original over the years and the genres spread wide. Unfortunately it’s a small country with a radio market that won’t allow a vast variety of genres to be featured. Therefore lots of bands and artist seek outside of the country to make it instead. And more and more succeedes it seems, which is great.
There is a lot of potential here. It’s good to see that lots of musicians are doing their thing regardless of how it will be received here in Denmark. Of course writing in Danish has its limits, but I find that people in general have become more open because of the easy access to information and they discover things more online. I have people writing to me from Germany and Netherlands, liking my music even if they don’t know the language.
Could you describe the message for everyone who are listening to your new material?
It’s about having the guts to stand by yourself no matter how difficult or easy, ugly or pretty it might be.
The title of your new album “Understrøm” means “undercurrent” (if we have chosen the right translation) – what does it refer to? What is the story of choosing this particular album name?
Understrøm (undercurrent) refers to moving underneath the surface where not everything is pretty. It’s about letting go and letting yourself fall into the abyss, the dark, the uncertain and embrace it no matter how difficult it might seem. It also refers to my new style of music that isn’t quite as mainstream as it has been before. The whole album has water as a reference if you run through the song titles. I use water as a metaphor, as an image of myself. I like the contrast between over and under the surface, being outside of my natural element and also the notion of seeking new territories. So to answer your question its about seeking new adventures and also the underflow of life – my life. And Understrøm covered it all, I thought.
I was in a difficult time of my life where I was doing everything a little too fast without thinking. Sometimes I got things right and sometimes not, but the randomness of running towards close goals had too many repercussions for me. I also had a tendency to listen a little too much to people around me and in the process I forgot who I was as an artist and as a human being. So in order for me to feel and find myself again I found it necessary to leave everything I knew and start all over again from the bottom – by myself. And for the first time I am proud to say that I’m in it from thought to production, to song writing, to the visual content etc. 100% DIY. And there might be flaws all over the place, but they are all mine – and nobody can fuck with that.
Can you pick a song from the new album that is the most special one for you and tell us in English what is the song about?
That’s a hard one. I think the tune that says most about the whole process of the album might be “Før lyset slipper ind” (“Before the light gets in”). It’s about finding what matters right when everything seems impossible.
The new album sounds like a very deep and honest monologue from Clara Sofie to anyone who would like to listen to it. Is music a way for you to show your true self or more a way to create a persona you’d like to present to the audience?
I love this question. It’s very relevant; I think a lot of artists do create some kind of persona in their music – at least parts of it. Just look at David Bowie. He was a master. But I can honestly say that on this album, which is about finding myself, I had a dogma of not wanting to hide anything. I wanted to show myself – ugly and full of flaws. And I wanted every song to have a 100% relevance to my own life and experiences. So my music – at least now – is a way for me to show my true self. Not just to the audience, but to myself as well.
Good because Danish – as the name suggests – is devoted to Danish music. Can you recommend your favorite Danish artists at the moment?
What are your plans for the future, after the release of the new album?
I’m going to play it live. And I can’t wait! 29. October at Versehuset, Næstved. The 3. November at BETA, Copenhagen and the 4. November at Kansas City, Odense. More dates to come… Oh yes, and world domination of course.