Get to know Lilla Vargen, the Virgin Money Emerging Star who is sure to enchant you with her sincere songwriting and cinematic melodies.
Emerging on the music scene in 2018, Irish singer-songwriter, Lilla Vargen, has been driving in top gear ever since. With 30 million streams and a support slot on Dermot Kennedy’s mega arena tour already under her belt, it’s no wonder she’s been selected for the Virgin Money Emerging Stars Programme.
One of those productive people who used lockdown to upskill themselves, Lilla has spent the last few months teaching herself how to produce. Her Virgin Money bursary development fund will therefore be put towards expanding her production equipment. Plus, when it’s safe to perform live again, Lilla is desperate to play some shows, and the fund will help to make this happen for her.
At the start of 2021, Lilla Vargen can count a whole host of “sad pop” singles and two EPs under her achievements, so there’s no doubt this star on the rise will see a successful year.
Always grafting to make her dreams come true, Lilla is currently working towards her keenly anticipated debut album. Whilst she may have previously summarised her music as “sad pop”, one listen to Lilla’s enchanting pop ballads and you’ll be hooked. Cinematic and sincere, if you’re looking for your next daydreaming soundtrack, you’ll find it here.
We spoke to the siren-sounding singer and Virgin Money Emerging Star about her most recent song, “Blueprints”, advice for her younger self, and much more. Dive in!
What first got you into music?
I think it was probably my family. We were always singing and listening to music around the house. I have two older sisters and an older brother so there were a lot of different genres being listened to and I loved that!
Describe your music in three words.
Honest, hopeful, real.
What was the inspiration behind your recent song “Blueprints”?
I was making some big decisions in my life and I was going in a different direction than I thought I would. Everything was changing and that’s what made me think of plans not going ahead. I had been let down by someone I really cared about and this spurred me into writing this song.
What advice would you give to your 13-year-old self?
Trust yourself! And don’t be afraid to do what you love. I was always really shy about loving to sing and I think I could have done a lot more if I had a little bit more confidence.
How do you go about writing a song?
It changes a lot, but I’d say I start with playing the guitar or piano and sort of mess around with melody’s until I find something I like, and then I immediately put my voice recorder on, on my phone and start trying to sing along with the melody. This way I don’t lose any of the ideas or mistakes that I might like when I listen back! Then when I have something that I think will work I’ll start to think about lyrics. But sometimes this happens in the complete opposite way, with lyrics coming first.
Although live music has been on pause for the past few months, what is your favourite thing about performing live?
It’s that energy you feel from the crowd. I love that feeling. Music is such a beautiful thing and to share that with an audience is the best feeling in the world. I love the nervous feeling I get before and the adrenaline when I finish. I also love meeting everyone after. It’s so nice to get to hang out with people who are fans of my music! It’s surreal.
Which song defines the teenage you?
Hmm. This one is hard because I listened to so much music back then. It would probably be ‘Hard to Explain’ by The Strokes. I used to borrow the ‘Is This It’ CD from my friend every weekend (before I bought my own copy) and I would listen to it the whole way through on repeat. I love every song on that album.
And which song defines you now?
I’d have to say “Describe” by Perfume Genius. I love them so much. The new album is amazing and I can’t stop listening. Such powerful and melodic songwriting. I’ve listened through so many times!
How will the Virgin Money Emerging Star grant help you achieve your goals?
This grant will firstly help me to add to my production equipment. I’ve loved learning how to produce during lockdown and I can’t wait to get better. It will also help to facilitate my live shows next year which I am so excited for. I cannot thank Virgin Money enough for what they’re doing. This grant has really made my year.
If you could collab with any artist (dead or alive), who would they be?
Ahh! This is so difficult. I’ll do one of each. Alive, would have to be Tobias Jesso Jr. He is incredible. His writing is just out of this world. And I wish I had the chance to work with Dusty Springfield. She was a pioneer and I find her so inspiring. She didn’t care what anyone thought and she was always proud to be herself.