Interview: Becky And The Birds Talks “Paris” & Debut EP
Becky And The Birds first caught the music world’s attention in 2018 with “Holding On” and then cemented her status as One To Watch by dropping an exquisite, self-titled debut EP. The Swedish artist/producer returned in early 2020, showcasing newfound confidence and a bigger, bolder sound on songs like “Do U Miss Me” and “Wondering.” Both will feature on Thea Gustafsson’s (her real name) sophomore EP, Trasslig, alongside a new gem called “Paris.” The latter, which arrived today (May 21), is a dreamy lament about missing the one you love.
I recently asked Becky And The Birds a few questions about her new single and the direction of her upcoming EP (due June 12). The newcomer revealed that she wrote “Paris” in a Parisienne hotel room and distorted her vocals just to switch things up. Other topics of conversation included the gap between EPs, going to school at Stockholm’s famous Musikmakarna, interning for the late, great Avicii and her eclectic musical influences. Listen to Becky And The Birds’ new single below and get to know the rising star a little better in the Q&A that follows.
How did you settle on the moniker Becky And The Birds?
I went in writing my first EP with no expectations whatsoever, and that enabled me to reach such a powerful state of complete freedom and creative bliss. That was a feeling I hadn’t felt since I wrote songs as a child. I also felt very protected by something much bigger than me, and so when I came up with the name Becky and The Birds after playing around with the first track on my first EP. It just felt like everything fell right into place.
“Paris” is such a dreamy song, but it’s essentially about your heart and mind being somewhere else. Was it hard to convey that experience?
I actually wrote that song in a hotel room in Paris, feeling everything very deeply. So the process of writing that came very naturally, and I just felt like I had to write it.
I love the vocal distortion on “Paris.” What inspired it?
Nothing. I was just very tired of my own voice at that time!
Why was there such a long gap between “Holding On” and “Do U Miss Me”?
Sometimes things have to grow in serenity. I felt like I wasn’t ready. I wrote the first EP and “Holding On” in a completely different stage in my life and that came out of me with such a force. So I needed some time to recharge and find new inspiration and focus. And also my external hard drive broke with a lot of new songs that couldn’t be recovered. So it obviously took some time to come up with new ideas from that.
Is there a theme that pulls your EP together?
This EP, and all of my songs really, is about complex women. And what it means to be a woman. Sometimes I find that being a strong, vulnerable, happy, sad, feminine, masculine, mature, childish, sensitive and emotional woman could be really scary. Both for yourself and for others. We often get put into boxes. You’re either a cold-hearted bitch or a sensitive girl who probably can’t get any “real work” done. I just wanna tell stories about being all of that, sometimes at the same time.
Your EP is called Trasslig. What does that word mean?
It loosely translates as “messy!” Also something a lot of women hear about themselves. And to be fair, sometimes we are. But that’s fine.
“Wondering” is so beautiful. Have you received any feedback from people who are grieving?
Thank you! Yes, I’ve had some beautiful conversations with people who are in that process right now. But that song has also gotten a second meaning in this weird time, where we’re all just missing everyone we love.
Do you have happy memories of studying music at Musikmakarna?
Haha, yes! I became friends with a lot of amazing people whom I’m very happy to call my friends today.
What was your internship with Avicii like?
I’m deeply grateful for that time. I learned so much and it was all so larger than life. That was my first introduction to Stockholm and it opened up a whole new world for me which I had only dreamt about before that. Even though the music wasn’t necessarily the music I naturally gravitate towards, I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. And everyone was so, very nice to me. Very good people who I really love.
I love your visual style. How important is that aspect?
Thank you! Very important. I see colors when I create music, so the whole visual part is something that I’ve got deeply rooted in me and it’s also something that I just wanna continue to expand and define. I’ve been making my own music videos now which is very exciting.
Have you already started thinking about an album?
Yes! I’m in the process of making that right now.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Sooooo many. I’ve got such a vast range of influences since my dad would play me everything from Klezmer music to Tango as I was growing up. But the predominant genres that were always playing in our house were soul, jazz and old Swedish traditional folk songs. And then my older sister would blast ’90s R&B and hip-hop from her room. The ones that I keep on coming back to though are Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Destiny’s Child, Monica Zetterlund and Mariah Carey. Forever and ever.