Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Soleima, née Sarah Mariegaard, knows how to rock a pantsuit. In the music video for her song "Paper," the Denmark native wears two striking sets: one is a black number with a white grid, the other a slouchy khaki assembly. With the black suit, she wears a black bucket hat. Both pantsuits are just slightly off-kilter — just like Soleima's sound, a breathy electro-pop that she likes to refer to as "garage pop."
Soleima, 28, is relatively new to American audiences. Until 2015, she performed with a hip hop collective called Flødklinikken, which performed primarily in Danish. She was the only woman in a group of seven, and usually held down the chorus with a serving of her characteristic soprano vocals. Leaving the group was a natural evolution, she explained to us over the phone — Marigaard grew up playing with Flødklinikken, and a solo career was always in her future.
If there's one theme that unites Soleima's work, it's escape. "Breathe" insists that she just wants to "daydream," while "Cracks" says that there are "cracks in the ceiling," signs that escape is imminent. "Paper," released September 15, upholds this tradition: The chorus sings, "I want to see the paper fly." In anticipation of the new single, Refinery29 spoke to Soleima about writing in Danish, getting political, and how the need to escape buries itself in your work — even if you don't mean for it to.
Refinery29: How would you describe your musical style?
Soleima: "What I do is electronic pop music. I guess that's how you would define it, [but] my producer always calls it 'garage pop,' and I like that description of it. It's kind of — I imagine us sitting in our parent's garage, just banging on some drums, or some pots and pans. I like to think of it as that kind of vibe."
Okay, so what do you mean "I want to see the paper fly"? I immediately thought of paper lanterns.
"To me, the song is about daring to do the things you love to do. It was written at a time in my life where I decided to follow a different path. And then I realized how freeing it is to choose to do things you love here in life. And then I knew I had to choose what I liked to do no matter the cost and no matter what people might think. Thinking about paper in that way is a response to everything being about money and doing the right thing and time and all that kind of stuff. That's what paper symbolizes."
I'm get an "office worker on break" vibe from the video. What was your ideation concept when you set out to make the video?
"Our idea for it — we wanted to capture that idea of balancing something. That's what the core of the song [is]. You try to balance the timing of things in your life, and it's all about balancing it the right way. So, we wanted to capture that feeling, and that's what the book is about in the video. That was something that was really important for me to capture in that video and to underline the whole point of the song."
Do you find that you write differently when you're writing in English versus writing in Danish?
"It's something that I'm still getting better at. When you're not writing in your own native young, it's something you have to practice a lot. To get comfortable and to play around with it in the same way you'd be able to do with your native tongue. Still, though, I think I'm able to write a little bit more honest in English because I'm not afraid of using more cliché words, as I might be in Danish. It's interesting."
Your music has been called "political pop." What do you think makes it political?
"I'm very happy if people see it that way. I released my debut EP in April, and somehow — and I didn't mean for it be that way, but all of the songs had a layer of escapism. I felt very scared world of at that point — I still am, actually, but my EP ended commenting very much on that. Especially the feeling of wanting to run away from it all, but also the guilt. Wanting to just run away and actually being able to just leave everything behind; not everyone is able to do that. That's something that, without even noticing, I've been writing a lot about. "
Watch the full music video for "Paper," below.
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