Behind the Music: Interview with VILDE

‘Titans is me putting words to fears that sadly many females have felt in different situations.’

With just over a week to go until her performance in the semi-final of ‘Melodi Grand Prix 2022’, I chatted to Oslo based singer-songwriter VILDE about the story behind her entry track ‘Titans’, the impact of Eurovision, and what empowers both her and the music she creates.

Hi VILDE, thanks for taking time out of rehearsals to chat with us. Please introduce yourself to your future fans. 
Hey! I’m VILDE, a 26-year old Norwegian artist and songwriter. After 4 years of studying Music (Songwriting & Performance) at LIPA in Liverpool, UK I moved to Oslo in 2018 to pursue my career as an artist. Since 2018 I have released 9 singles on my own label and am 100% an independent artist. Before the pandemic I played lots of shows around Norway with my band, including support gigs for Julie Bergan and at the Norway cup in front of 15,000 people. I love performing, so I truly miss that!

Last year I was awarded ‘Artist of the Month’ by one of the biggest radio channels in Norway (NRK P3), and the following single was also ‘Song of the Week’. That was a great door opener for me and led to great exposure and new collaborations. I’ve also written for other artists which has led to 7 cuts, over 3 million streams on Spotify, and currently a song on hold by Sony Music in Japan.

Describe your sound in no more than 5 words?
Pop, Energetic, commercial, inspiring, melodious

What/who would you cite as your biggest influences?
I grew up listening to a lot of R & B (Usher, Akon, Ne-Yo) and pop (Celine Dion, Pussycat Dolls) as well as singing in gospel choirs for many years. I think that has influenced my music today.

Who is involved in the different aspects of your music and what do they bring to it?
Well, I am self-managed and 100% independent, so it’s a one-(wo)man business when it comes to my music, releases, collaborations etc. However, I’ve got an agency (Artist Partner) which I have a close relationship with as well as a distribution (Ingrooves) that I am very pleased with.

‘If I write a killer top line I don’t really mind what style the production is.’

Turning to your epic sounding new single ‘Titans’, what’s the story behind the title and the lyricism?
‘Titans’ is a song that I wrote together with Ben Adams and Sindre Jenssen five months ago at a songwriting camp. The song is me putting words to fears that sadly many females have felt in different situations, letting them know they aren’t alone, and that we can find strength together by opening up about our experiences and hopefully change the way the world is. The song has meant a lot to me the last couple of months and has helped me take charge of my own mental health. I actually started going to therapy last week and I don’t think I would have dared to do so if I hadn’t written this song. The title comes from Greek mythology and means ‘someone big of great in power, god-like or influential in a certain field’.

So was ‘Titans’ always written with Eurovision in mind and if so how did this impact the development of the track?
The song writing camp that it was written at was for MGP 2022, where I was present both as an artist and a writer. There were around 20 people there and we were put in different groups everyday. The day we wrote ‘Titans’ I had a clear vision already when I woke up that morning about what kind of song I wanted to make, and what it was gonna be about. Production wise the inspiration was ‘Voices’ by Tusse (Sweden’s contribution in ESC last year).

We of course had to have Eurovision in mind when it comes to the 3-min rule as well as making sure people wouldn’t get bored when listening or watching on TV. It was also important for me that it would be a song that I could vouch for and wasn’t too far away from my own artist project. It was fun to think outside-of-the-box for once, but I believe I would probably have made some changes to the structure if it had been a release outside of MGP.

What led to you being involved with MELODI GRAND PRIX 2022 then and how do you think it will shape your career?
I’ve been wanting to participate in MGP since I was a child and I’ve actually tried to submit songs for the last four years. However, I am glad that I have waited until I was a bit older and more confident in myself, my music, and my image. I had a very clear goal this time last year of ‘next year I will participate in MGP’ and I just worked hard towards that and wrote a bunch of songs with different people.

I had a good run before the pandemic – and felt that I was a part of the industry – but in the last two years I feel like I’ve disappeared a bit, and that I really needed this door-opener to be able to play concerts again and draw more people to me and my music. It’s difficult to say how MGP will shape my career, but for now it’s great exposure, I get to perform again, and more people will know about who VILDE is. Hopefully it will lead to more gigs, collaborations and opportunities. 2022 will be an exciting year.

There’s no doubting that ‘Titans’ is an empowering track, but what empowers you in your day-to-day life?
When I feel good about myself, and fun things are happening with my career I feel empowered. Also, good friends and family support enhances that.

Putting this track in context, the atmosphere of ‘Titans’ feels incredibly contrasting to your other tracks. Is this a sonic direction you see yourself going in for future releases? 
I wouldn’t say it’s incredibly contrasting when it comes to top line, but the atmosphere of the production, as well as structure, probably is. I love big pop songs such as ‘Titans’ and ‘Never Said Enough’, as well as beautiful ballads like ‘Hollow’ and more rhythmical and R & B stuff like ‘Plot Twist’ so it’s a bit difficult to say. At the end of the day I just love pop music, so if I write a killer top line I don’t really mind what style the production is. My vocal strength definitely lies in my lower register and head voice, so I will probably try to steer away from the big belting voice in the future as it’s difficult for me to sing live.

On the topic of performances, as a fan of Eurovision I know they can be left-field at times. Is there anything you can tell us about the staging of your performance should you be selected?
I am very pleased with how the stage show is going to be, but the Eurovision stage is of course ten times bigger, so if I win MGP it will definitely be a lot bigger than what it looks like now! I don’t want to spoil too much, but what I can say is that there will be a lot of surprises on stage next Saturday (29th January), including an effect involving mirrors that I believe has never been done before on the MGP stage 😉 You can watch it over on YouTube here. 

‘I’m self-managed and 100% independent, so it’s a one-(wo)man business when it comes to my music, releases and collaborations.’

If someone watched one of your recording sessions, what would they be most surprised by?
If you mean recording sessions like vocal recording they would probably be most surprised by the fact that I don’t use any effects or tuning when recording. I like it completely raw as I have more control. I also usually record and mix my own vocals and I recorded and edited all the vocals of Titans myself. In studio session people would probably be most surprised by my knowledge of production and the fact that I work as a co-producer in most sessions.

Thinking back, when did you first realise that music would be a big part of your life?
I started singing at a very early age, played clarinet from age 9 and sang in different choirs as well as performing at hospitals and nursing homes with my uncle as a child. However, at that point it was more of a hobby, a fun thing to do on the side. I believe it was around age 14 that I decided I would become an artist and make a living off music when I grow up.

And finally, which other Norwegian artists are you particularly excited about right now and why should we be listening to them here in the UK?
There are so many great artists in Norway, but if I have to choose I would say Ima Sobé. She’s one of my closest friends, is a great songwriter, and has a very distinctive voice. I’d also like to say a big thank you to the UK for listening to my music and for your support! According to my Spotify for Artist page, the UK is actually my 5th most streamed country which is crazy!! I really hope I can go to the UK soon and play some live shows!

Thanks VILDE for chatting with Listen to Discover
Photography Credit: Siri Granheim