- Words Ross Mondon
- Photography Annie Reid
- Styling Shannon Kelsey Ann
Swedish artist Aida Lae dishes the deets on her latest single, "90's Baby", relationship with Maya Jama and why we should never know what to expect.
Born in a small town in Sweden, Aida Lae was brought up in a non-musical family and took the risk to move out at the age of 19. Now at 25-years-old, the Stockholm-based artist is slowly reaping the rewards of her hard work. Recently, she penned a deal with Insanity Records and collaborated with Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” writer, Tayla Parx, on her single, “Heartbroke”.
Inspired by greats such as The Spice Girls and Rihanna since the age of eleven, Aida Lae has been serving up her own platter of nostalgic pop with a blend of old school yet modern R&B. Her latest single, “90’s Baby”, once again proves that she knows how to craft an irresistible bop and positions her as a talent to watch.
With her upcoming mixtape slated for release later this year, Aida Lae is truly in her element and ready to take her next steps. Dive in below!
You’ve just released your latest single, “90’s Baby” – what has the past week been like for you as an artist, and how excited are you for the next steps of your career?
I’m good. It’s been a bit crazy, a lot of work, obviously. It’s hard when you’re not in London. I wish I could be in London now working. But you got to do what you got to do.
It’s been a journey, to be honest. I’ve been working for such a long time to release my stuff. To finally be able to do that feels like such a relief. I’m excited to share my music with everyone and I have a lot coming out.
You bring a flavour of your early musical inspirations and R&B confidence in “90s Baby”. What inspired you to delve into these themes, and have you always used these points of reference?
I would say I’ve always been inspired by 90s music and the early 2000s, and I use those elements in my music. I was listening to a lot of it when I was a kid. I was glued to MTV, watching all those music videos. But then, when I grew older, I started listening to different kinds of genres and sounds. So, I’ve been taking inspiration from every genre. But recently, I’ve been delving into elements from the 90s and early 2000s into my music.
Talking about your sound, if your music were a flavour, what would it be?
Oh, that’s a good question. It would be garlic because you never know what to expect.
In the music video, you’re joined by presenter and DJ, Maya Jama. How did this relationship start, and was there a particular reason why you wanted to feature her?
It’s so crazy because I did not expect that to happen. She heard my song before it was released because she was going to launch her skincare line, MIJ Masks. She heard the song and fell in love with it and then asked if she could use it for her skin line campaign.
When they called me, I was like: Maya Jama! Then she asked if she could be in the video as well. I was like: wait, she’s asking me – I’m asking you! It was just crazy to me because I didn’t expect that to happen at all.
You’ve got an upcoming debut EP – which song means the most to you from the project and why?
I have a song that is called “Are You Done Yet?” that is coming out on the project. And then I have another song that is called “Humble Home”. They both come straight from the heart, and they are really, really personal to me. I don’t want to say too much, I just want people to hear it.
Looking back at your time growing up in a small town in Sweden and writing your first ever song at the age of eleven, how did you discover your singing voice, and what made you pursue music?
To be honest, I don’t think my singing voice was that good at the beginning because, at the time, I didn’t really know how to use it. I just love to sing. I then had some friends from a musical family, and their dad told me I could sing. He told me: you should take care of that voice and practice – so that is what I did. I was listening to other people singing, trying to do what they would do. I think that’s how it came along, but it was hard in the beginning.
With a non-musical family, was there a key influence that helped you decide to pursue your career?
Definitely. I would say everything I watched and listened to as a kid is my main inspiration. But also, life, in general, is my inspiration as well. It can be anything I see on the street. I was also going through a lot of mental health issues, like depression and stuff, so that made me write music more easily.
You decided to move to Stockholm at the age of 19. How did you transition from one place to another, and do you believe it was the right decision at the time?
It was the best decision ever. I was coming to a point where I got so tired of having no opportunities in my own city. I was so tired of it. So, I just took my bags, literally, and moved. I didn’t have a job. I just got an apartment. But it was the best decision ever, and now I’m feeling the same about London.
From cementing your name in the city to working alongside hit producers, how does the music scene differ from the UK, and what has been your biggest learning curve?
I think it’s different because I think Swedes and British people work in different ways. That’s the first thing, and then I think you’re more open to different sounds and genres in the UK. That’s what I love about it. That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to the UK because I felt like no one was seeing my vision. No one was hearing what I was hearing. I still appreciate Swedish music, but I don’t think I fit in.
Who are some of your favourite artists to listen to right now and why?
Right now, I’m still listening to all the old-school R&B. I’m listening to a lot of Brandy’s old stuff. Also, love her new album that she just dropped [2020’s ‘b7’]. But if it were someone new, I would say Masego.
After more than five years of graft, you are now reaping the rewards, from signing a deal with Insanity Records to collaborating with Tayla Parx. What do you feel has been your biggest achievement so far, and what do you hope to happen next?
So that is one of my biggest achievements, to be honest. I’ve been watching Tayla Parx for a while, following her on Instagram, and just to be able to be in the same room riding with her was so crazy. I was starstruck at the beginning, but she’s like a sister now. I would love to work with more people in the UK and brand myself there. I also would love to work more in LA. But I’ll take one step at a time.
As we reach a sense of normality again, what has been your favourite song or album to dance to?
I’ve been dancing a lot to Burna Boy’s last album, not the one he dropped recently, but ‘African Giant’. Such a bop and that album is so good.
Finally, with new music coming out left, right, and centre, do you have anything else up your sleeve? What can we expect for the rest of 2021?
So, in 2021, I hope to release my mixtape. You can expect a lot of different sounds. I want to try to develop my music and try different genres. I don’t want to stick to one genre. I want people to hear that it’s Aida Lae.