ABOVE: SEINABO SEY. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKAEL DAHL
It’s surprising that Swedish songstress Seinabo Sey is only 23 years old, but she’ll be the first to tell you that she isn’t getting any younger—literally, in her breakout track “Younger,” which has made waves in both the US and the UK. The song is nostalgic, yet hopeful; a reminder to start living life to its fullest capacity right now. We’re excited to premiere the Maps remix of “Younger,” in which Sey’s soulful vocals meet spacey electropop production, below. The remix builds catchy danceability into the original, with trancey beats and chiptune influences fluttering in the background. We also spoke with Seinabo Sey about working with Magnus Lidehäll, creating such a powerful song, and the Swedish influences on her music.
ILANA KAPLAN: How did “Younger” come to be? What’s the story behind it?
SEINABO SEY: I met Magnus Lidehäll about two years ago, and the beat that I originally wrote “Younger” on was one of the first ones that he sent me. I must have been around 21 at that time, feeling a bit lazy and disappointed with myself and my life. The song is all about questioning my lack of action and control in my own life.
KAPLAN: That’s understandable when you’re that age. There are a lot of talented artists coming out of Sweden these days. What do you think sets you apart?
SEY: That’s hard for me to say, but I guess one thing that makes my music stand out is that it is quite hard to determine what genre it is. I totally accredit that to Magnus, since he produces all of it. He’s a true genre bender.
KAPLAN: I can definitely see that in your music. Can you tell me a little bit about how Maps ended up doing the remix?
SEY: I got introduced to Maps by my label, and I liked his sound. I had been living with the original version of “Younger” for quite a long time when I heard the result of his remix, and I loved it. It actually made me find a new love for the track.
KAPLAN: Awesome. Do you have a debut record coming out this year?
SEY: [laughs] Yes! If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be done by the end of this year. I will be taking my time, so if I’m not satisfied I’m not rushing it. I’ve waited 23 years, whatever comes out now better be good.
KAPLAN: I’m sure it will be, especially if you’re taking your time. Who are some of your soul/pop influences?
SEY: I’m a big fan of skilled singers. Some of my favorites are Cee-Lo Green, Donny Hathaway, James Fauntleroy, and Kim Burrell. As of late, I’m really intrigued by the melodies of Kate Bush.
KAPLAN: They’re all very talented. How does it feel to have “Younger” blowing up on The Hype Machine?
SEY: To be honest, I had no idea what The Hype Machine was before I released the song. But I’m happy about it, of course.
KAPLAN: It’s exciting! What’s the biggest challenge, being someone young in the music industry?
SEY: Understanding all of the bureaucracy and learning when to trust yourself and speak up. I have an amazing team around me, so I don’t feel the need to do that, that often but I still find it really hard when I have to.
KAPLAN: How has Sweden influenced your music?
SEY: Perhaps the cold weather and solitary culture is why I mostly write about having to hang in there in a way.
KAPLAN: Is this your first time playing at by:Larm? Who are you most excited to perform alongside?
SEY: Yes this will be my first time at by:Larm as well as my first time performing my new songs. And ZHALA, hands down. I love her!
KAPLAN: Will you be touring the U.S. anytime soon?
FOR MORE ON SEINABO SEY, PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE.