Tag Archives: Music Moves Europe Talent Awards

Albin Lee Meldau: “You have to believe in what you do and do what you believe in no matter what”

Singer-songwriter Albin Lee Meldau is known for his raw and pure sound. The artist is one of the winners of the Music Moves Europe Talent Award. Besides that, he also won the Public Choice Award for best singer-songwriter.

We spoke to Albin at Eurosonic about investing in music and arts, the sound of the stories you want to tell, and how making a song is almost the same as cooking a dish.  

Hi man, how are you doing?

“Fine, thanks. And thank you for having me.”

No worries. Congratulations on your price. What does this achievement mean for your career?

“Well, thank you. I really have no idea how the Music Moves Europe Talent Award will affect my career. I deal only with the art stuff, my friend. The rest I leave to the professionals. But I have to say that it is always an honor to be awarded. 

“You always have to work hard for your music and it feels good to be acknowledged for it. So I’m deeply honored.” 

Cool! So Sweden is a Walhalla for popular music. A lot of good stuff comes from your country. Why is that?

“Walhalla? That is an interesting choice of words! Oh my God, it isn’t that violent. In Sweden, you don’t have to die first before becoming an artist you know. But you are right Sweden is crazy, man. Popular music is the seventh biggest commodity in our country.”

Wow, I know that Sweden is the third biggest exporter of popular music in the Western world.

“Well, that’s due to investments. Not to bore you, but since the end of the Second World War our government has been investing heavily in culture and music. So that is almost eighty years of financing that sector.

“We have ABBA of course and producer Max Martin. But mind you that nothing comes in one generation. Sweden has been working on this for a long time. They have done this for a very long time and I’m honored to be part of this. Also, I am proud of my fellow Swedes that travel the world with their music.”

Did music play an important part in your life while you were growing up?

“Yes. My mother is a music teacher and a singer, my father is also a writer and a singer. So I grew up playing the trumpet, singing in choirs, and playing all kinds of instruments.”

The trumpet is a hell of an instrument to play.

“Yeah, but I never came so far with it. I started singing and playing rock ‘n roll you know. But to come back to your question, I didn’t really have a choice when I was growing up. What I do now is a choice. But when I was a kid, playing music was part of my education. One hour every day or otherwise you get no food. You have no choice.”

Did you hate it?

“At times, of course I did! It was part of school. I’m very, very happy that they did push me to do it though. Because even though we in Sweden invest a lot in music, it is still not enough if you want to get somewhere with your art. 

“The music education is for free and there are places you can play and compose music. Instruments are free at those locations. So there is no magic going on. Sweden is just investing heavily in creating a platform where artists can grow.”

It sounds like the perfect place.

“I love my country dearly. And of course it has its problems like any other country does. But when it comes to arts and music it prevails, because our government wants it to. As I already said a few times before: there is no magic, just the right investments.” 

Your songs have a poppy side, but they’re also very raw. I see this trend also with other artists. Is pop finally getting its edge back?

“Thank you. I have to be honest that I don’t know anything about what other artists are doing. So I can’t say if this is a trend or not. But I can tell you where I get my edge from. I listen to old music like Bob Marley and The Wailers, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, old stuff you know.

“Also classical music and jazz inspire me a lot. So I don’t really know what is happening in the world of music nowadays, I just know what I like personally.”

But you won a pop award, but you do not make average pop music.

“Oh you mean if the industry is getting its edge back? Right. This changes up and down, you know. I don’t think I can explain the trend. All I know is that what I do I need to do it. It is an urge that comes from deep inside of me. I have to do it like sleeping and eating, otherwise I’ll die.

“What it is and is not for the industry, well I can’t say. I thank the Lord that I have the opportunity to be modern at this moment in this time and age. But if I wasn’t, my music would still be the music I make now. You have to believe in what you do and do what you believe in no matter what.”

You don’t try to make your songs sound slick. That makes them sound raw and pure.

“It depends on what story you want to tell. Some stories are slick, but those are not the stories I’m telling. But you know some songs you can whisper because the track needs that whisper. Other songs require a moan or a yell. As I already said: what are you trying to get across?

“Songwriting is like cooking and that makes me the chef. Sometimes I make an Iranian dish with saffron, another time I make classical French food. Music is just like food. It has different spices. So a good chef needs to know what he’s working with and what that dish requires.”

Do you have favorite chords or keys you use to spice things up?

“I play the guitar as my composition instrument. So depending on what I want to do I use different styles, but open chords are my favorite. I haven’t got one or two chords I prefer. As long as they’re open I like the fullness of the sound. But now we’re talking about it I think F is a good key for me to work in. But then again, I don’t think about it like that.”

You’ve been in the business long enough. What is the advice you would give a starting musician?

“I have come to a point that I can make a living out of music. I get to travel the world and do what I love most. But all that stuff doesn’t matter if you’re health is bad. So my advice to all you starting musicians out there is: take good care of your health. Because without it all that other stuff is insignificant.”

Wise words. Thanks Albin and until we meet again! 

AVEC: “I can’t imagine myself doing any other job than making music”

AVEC is a young Austrian singer songwriter. After her first EP “Heartbeats” in 2015 she’s been working like hell. The result of all that hard work and dedication is reflected in two full length records “What if we never forget” and “Heaven/Hel”. No wonder she’s one of the winners of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards during Eurosonic.

On the second day of showcase festival Eurosonic we have the pleasure to meet AVEC. The church in which this interview takes place seems like the perfect place for a rising pop star. 

How do you like Eurosonic so far?

It’s great. It’s amazing. It is my second time here, last year we played this festival for the first time. I have to say that Eurosonic for me is my favorite showcase festival. All the others, like Reepherbahn, are unreal, but they don’t compare to what’s happening here.

I can’t really point out why I love Eurosonic the most, but it is kind of special. I enjoy being here. There are so many talented people walking around. That is truly inspiring.

Did you make new friends here?

Yeah of course. Whenever you are at a showcase festival like this you get the chance to meet all the artists and to keep in touch with them – maybe collaborate or something. That is such a great thing to do when you are around such talented people.

Who would like to collaborate with? 

The first person that comes to mind is actually Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. I would love that! Obviously he’s not here, but that is definitely someone on my collaboration wish list. But overall my goal this year is to do a lot of collaborations with other artists. I hope I can get some friends and like-minded artists together and do some cool stuff. That would be sweet.  

You’ve been in the music business for a few years now. What do you like most about your job?

I love that I have the opportunity to do what I love most; making music. It was never about becoming famous. I just needed to write and create and now I can make a living doing this. To turn your hobby into your job is like the most perfect thing you can do. I just love it.

Isn’t it hard to take the leap of faith and dive head first into the industry? 

No, I don’t think so. I’ve always written songs and it hasn’t changed at all. I still sit in my room writing, recording, arranging and producing new music. So actually nothing has changed, except that I can do this whole day long. I can’t imagine myself doing any other job or business than music honestly.

Cool, so the industry is treating you good. What do you hate most about your job?

What I hate most? Wow, let me think about this one. I don’t really hate anything about it. All my experiences with music have been great so far. Of course there are moments when you have to work hard. For example, we were on tour for about a month playing sold-out shows, but also shows for twenty people. 

You really have to work hard to get your music out there and to make people come to your concerts. So that’s a thing that I don’t hate, but you have to accept if you are a musician. This is what we do, this is what I do to make this work, because I really really want it.

Hard work dedication is always key isn’t it?

Yeah, most definitely. 

And now about something completely different. Do you have favorite chords you like to use in your compositions? 

Yes, I definitely have chords I like to use a lot. I don’t know anything about music theory and that is why I play and compose in a way where I do what feels right. Of course I know the chords, but I never properly learned the theory behind them.

So, as I was saying, I use a lot of chords and probably the same ones over and over again. But the thing is that I can make them sound different when I’m producing and arranging the music. My favorites are probably Em, G, D, Am, and F. 

Why do you like those chords so much? 

I don’t know, but I keep coming back to them. It’s a familiar sound I guess. You know the chords, you know the tones and you know how this could work with lyrics and the whole production. It just feels familiar as I already said and that is why I keep coming back to them.

What are your plans for 2019?

Well, there’s going to be a lot of writing. I’m taking a break from January until March. During this period I’m planning to write and pre-produce new songs for a new EP or an album which is planned to be released next year. I don’t know what it will turn out to be yet, but that’s what I’m planning to do.

In the summer we are going to play a lot of festivals and some club shows in the autumn. Yeah, it’s kind of more relaxed this year. In 2020 we’re going to tour again, but this year we want to take it a little bit easier.

Do you really need this break?

Yes I do. As I said we were on tour last autumn and it was one month just touring. So I didn’t really have the time to write new stuff. I need to sit down and start creating and writing everything that comes to my mind which is going to result in an EP this year I hope. 

What is the craziest backstage moment from your last tour? 

Let me think. It was probably in Nuremberg Germany where we had a really tiny backstage. The room was so small that we had to split up because we didn’t fit in the backstage. We had to make a schedule who could chill out in the artist area and who had to wait outside. That was really hilarious.  

We had a lot of funny experiences on tour. It was a great experience, because we’d never been away from home for so long touring. It’s very exhausting on the one hand and on the other hand you can be on stage every night. You get the feedback from the audience; the smiling faces keep you going. That is the best feeling in the world.  

Sounds good. I have one final question. What advice would you give your eight-year-old self if you could go back in time?

Do what you love. Write and create music without any pressure. Pressure can result in writer’s block, so that is why you should always create without it.