Danish artist Jada chats about the creative process behind her album 'Elements', her upcoming European tour, and why writing music is her form of alchemy.

Emilie Mølsted is having somewhat of a last supper. Her second album Elements  is releasing soon, festival season is coming, and that means the Danish singer better known as Jada is about to get in tip-top shape. “This is the last one for me,”  she motions to the glass of wine she’s holding, ensuring that the waiter has filled it up real good. “I treat myself like a top athlete when the festivals come around.”


After releasing her first album I Cry A Lot to critical acclaim in Denmark and winning a P3 talent award – think BBC Sound Of… equivalent – Jada is more than ready to conquer the UK and Europe next, one festival at a time. For someone who thrives on performing live, these are the best stages to play. “I just get very inspired by the way that it’s about community,” Jada explains. She smiles mischievously, then points at her brightly coloured hair as if to show that of course she enjoys the attention. “I love to be seen, but what I love most is to be the one that creates a community – and bringing whatever I have to that community.”


She gathers it’s probably a family trait, something to do with her upbringing. “Everyone in my family plays music – they’re folk musicians. My granddad is a classical composer, and so the way they’ve always been around music or about music has been to bring your talent to the table if you’ve got something to put on the table. For example, my aunt would maybe bake a pie, and we would sing. It was not performance. It was just, something like – everyone gave what they had to give. And that’s inspired me a lot.”


Traditional folk music isn’t that big in Denmark, and neither is it a main ingredient of Jada’s current music. Still, it remains a source of inspiration and there are certainly subtle undertones of it in her storytelling and soundscape. “It’s what made me connect to music, and now as a 29 year old, I’m redefining what my musical roots are.”


Both sonically and lyrically, Elements is indeed incredibly diverse – while still holding true to the quintessential Jada quality of each track. Unpredictable, smooth, and courageous. Above all, it’s honest. “I didn’t hide on album one, but that was a lot less intense. It was more me going, oh I remember a feeling I had when I was 13, let me write a song about that. It wasn’t an option with this album – it was more like, you are feeling this, so make it into a song,” she adds.

  • Photographer Josephine Löchen

In a way, this album cycle was a lot more straightforward than the previous one. At that time, she was writing music and immediately taking it out to play live on tour. “I’d just play my one song and then a lot of covers, and long intros. The first album just kind of happened, but this was a totally different process. I love my first album,” Jada stresses, “but I feel like this second album is the most honest I’ve ever been, and that’s a good feeling.”


However, Elements definitely wasn’t an easy one to create. Sophomore albums tend to be challenging in general, but they’re especially difficult when you feel like you’ve suddenly lost your sense of direction. Jada calls it her Saturn Return. “At no point did I think that this was the album I was going to make. I had totally different plans with it,” she starts. “Before the pandemic hit, in the beginning of 2020, I felt really free and like – I can do whatever I want with this second album. And then, I don’t know, my Saturn Return hit. I feel like I went through my second puberty. I lost all confidence in myself. So all the thoughts I had about just me being free and creative, and I kind of knew what direction I wanted to go in, I just had to drop it. Because every time I sat down in the studio trying to accomplish that, I just felt empty and numb. And I felt like that for a lot of months.”


It wasn’t until Jada stopped fighting for the album she thought she was meant to create and let go all of her expectations that she was able to write again. “I just started writing about what I was feeling in the moment, and that’s when this album actually became a real thing.”


One of the songs that helped break her writer’s block was “Dangerous”. Jada says she had originally written a completely different lyric to the song. “I didn’t want it to be about that. Everything was done and ready, I was just supposed to go and record my vocals. But when I came to the studio, I was just like – these are not the lyrics. This is not what the song is about. So I just poured my heart out and wrote new lyrics for everything.” She struggles with putting the right words to the feelings that inspired the final version. “I don’t know, but I was really afraid – fucking scared really – that I was being embarrassing. I was afraid of that, and I don’t know why that doubt came into my mind. But I wrote it all down, those weird feelings I couldn’t explain. And that’s when it hit me – okay, you have to write about what’s in your heart right now. You can’t hide.”


It’s an interesting juxtaposition – being someone who loves to be seen, but then suddenly experiencing this debilitating fear of what people might actually think when they do exactly that. Imposter syndrome, perhaps, or fear of failing the expectations of all the fans and critics who’d praised her so much up until that point. Track 15 on the album, “I’m Back”, regales Jada’s perspective on the external pressure she felt.

  • Photographer Josephine Löchen

“It felt like everyone in Denmark was guessing, what is she doing? Why is she away? People had so many opinions about what should be my next move. And then it’s like, oh, she’s not making any moves right now, is she lost? Like, has she lost it?” It’s at this point during the conversation that ironically enough a group of fans passes her by, squealing in delight as Jada takes the time to say hi and wave at them across the street. The contrast is striking, of just how quickly such adoration can be both suffocating or welcoming. In a way, it’s also the perfect antidote to any potential insecurities. These fans are excited and love Jada exactly because she talks about such issues in her songs. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take away from the fact she too had to work on reclaiming her self-confidence. “Obviously, I’m not made of stone – I’m a person. When people say stuff like that, it makes me think and it makes me doubt myself. Even just for like a little bit. It starts a process, and that feeling has to percolate for a bit, before I can get rid of it. So I wrote that song while that was taking a turn in my body.”


When asked if she thinks this plays more of a role for women in the industry than men, she nods emphatically. “For sure. There was some kind of internalized misogyny where I’d think to myself, am I just being crazy? I could feel that voice in my head going – oh, you’re just being hysterical. And then I just thought to myself, you know what? Maybe. Maybe I am hysterical. I don’t care.”


It’s a theme she’s also explored in other songs on the album. To what extent has misogyny actually affected the way in which she appreciates herself or views herself? The song “s.e.x.y.O.M.G.”, a collaboration with Debbie Sings details Jada’s exploration of her own sexuality. “For many years, I felt like I was performing a person with a sexuality, if that makes sense. Like, I had really big troubles discovering what do I actually think is sexy? What do I like? Maybe I don’t like doggy that much. I feel like in the last two years I’ve actually taken ownership of my sexuality, so I wanted to write about that.”


The fact that Jada has insisted on including songs that discuss such diverse topics also helps dismantle the idea that women, and people in general, are unidimensional. “I did think – can I have a song like this and ‘dangerous’ on the same album, will it just be confusing? But then I considered, no, people are not going to be confused. Because if I feel like this, if I contain all these nuances, I want the album to represent that. It’s not just one story, it doesn’t have to be that narraw. I’m a complicated person, and I contain a lot of different things, and that’s okay – and my songs can do the same.”


You can love the stage, love standing out, and still worry about how people will perceive you, or if they’ll understand you. You can have won 13 awards, and still wonder whether or not that means anything – especially when it comes to your next album. Self-doubt is a powerful, insidious feeling. Thankfully, Jada likes to listen to her gut. It’s also how she ended up with the title Elements. “I was sitting in the car with my boyfriend, listening to the demos of all the songs. And it just hit me – I whispered, I think the album is called Elements, but I don’t know. And then as I repeated it out loud, I thought, yeah, that’s what it’s called. Because I’ve been passing through the elements in these songs, like in alchemy.” She laughs, “I just feel like I’m this crazy professor that’s been working in the top of some castle tower. Creating new elements by mixing water and fire.”



  • Photographer Villads Sommer

The elements don’t let themselves be controlled, that much is clear. Where Jada had originally envisioned to then group the songs according to different elements, it then became clear that was not going to happen either. “I had this idea that I wanted four songs for each element. And I had like this idea that I wanted it to be a journey. But the songs were just like, nope, sorry lady! You don’t control us. So I had to give up and let them have their way.”


It also meant that Jada had to trust in the process and give up some of the control. “I feel like I’ve been clinging on to these ropes, thinking that there would be a horse at the end of the rope,” she explains. “And I feel like these past three years I’ve been like, there’s no fucking horse. Like, I don’t control this. I should just let go of the ropes and use my hands for other things. Picking out the order of the songs was just another lesson in letting go.”


Jada playfully refers to it as the Pokémon cycle – her own process of growth and evolution. “A lot has happened around me, and also emotionally within. The pandemic, my Saturn Return, and my beloved grandmother died – which also sent me flying into like a maturing process,” she states. “I’m not yet recovered from all of that from the last three years. I feel like this little alien child that’s just being spat out of the universe, if that makes sense?”


It probably rings true for a lot of people, who now share a very communal sense of grief for the lost lives during the pandemic – both literally and figuratively speaking. It’s hard to adjust to a world that’s suddenly abruptly changed the rules of the game. As a result, Jada’s also been thinking more about her own mortality, and the circle of life in general. “Whether that’s a good or a bad thing – it’s a powerful thing, and that’s also become a part of the album.”


She says it’s humbled her even more throughout the album process. “Maybe not everyone can hear it, but like, I know that, okay, that song. I sang that right after I was down with COVID. I can hear that my voice is a little bit more raspy. Or like in Young Woman’s Cry that’s like my wolf sound, I wanted to make like a vertical sound to announce that I was in grief, like I was a grieving animal mourning my grandmother. I was emotional while doing it, and you can hear that. I just feel so humbled by that. My life, the world, my body – it’s all a part of the album and you can physically hear what I was going through, and what people all over the world are going through. And that’s just very powerful, I think.”

  • Photographer Villads Sommer

One of the songs that captures a feeling of empowerment whilst being both moody yet anchoring, is “Blow”. While it wasn’t necessarily the inspiration, Jada is pleased that the song may remind listeners of Ariana Grande’s “God is a Woman”. She started writing “Blow” when she was in the middle of her identity crisis. “I didn’t know anything and was feeling like numb from the neck down. I was still writing music, and my best friend was playing the strings on his piano. And I couldn’t ignore it, it sounded really right. So then, I thought, okay – I feel lost in space, but I do have something to hold on to. What do I know about myself? I know that I’m a feminist with a temperament. I know that I’m exquisite.


And, and, and that totally makes sense to me. Because I feel like that song. I wrote that when I didn’t know anything. And I was feeling like numb from the neck down. And I was, I was writing music. And then again, like I had, I had this idea, I wanted to make that kind of song. And then my best friend, melody was just playing the strings on his piano. And I was like, I couldn’t ignore that. That sounds really, really right. And then I was like, Okay, I’m numb from the neck down. But I do know, something. I would like I felt like, Okay, I’m lost in space. But, but still, I do have something to hold on to what do I know about myself? I know that I’m a feminist with a temperament. I know that I’m exquisite. I know that I don’t care about some things, and I care a lot about other things. Like, I just started gathering this information that I had about myself. It allowed me to make myself my own centre again. And when I listen to God is a Woman, that’s the same feeling I get.”


Because Jada worked with a tight-knit group of Danish producers and writers that she trusted, it was also easy for her to tell them about how she was feeling. She’d let them know up-front if she was in a phase where she just didn’t like anything, and told them not to have any expectations. It meant she felt safe to experiment and see where it’d take her instead. “I feel like the Danish culture is – we love being weird, and contrary. Sometimes that just means that we keep on making stupid shit that nobody wants to hear. But it also means that it’s filled with courage, and I love that.”


One song that took her a lot of courage to write, was “Saturn Return”. She laughs, before explaining that for whatever reason, she just kept on resisting writing it. “I think maybe it was just because I was a little fed up with having a crisis. Like, ah, not this shit again! I don’t want it. So I could feel my inner resistance every time I was working on that song. It was a real struggle, because I could feel there was something there – it felt like the song had an important place on the album, but it took many months for me to actually accept that.”

  • Photographer Villads Sommer

There’s a lot of strength in admitting to your vulnerabilities, showing them – and sharing them openly. It’s also why Jada decided to put the song “Don’t Say My Name and Forget It Again” as the closer of the album. “It’s just very much my vibe right now. I’m proud of the lyrics – I’ve got others that are maybe more vulnerable, or stupid. But the chorus, that sentence possess power. It’s a little demanding, but at the same time, you wouldn’t demand that without revealing that it does really matter to you. So it’s both vulnerable and powerful. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t demand it. It’s a bit of a plea, really. Please treat me right, otherwise I’ll be really sad, if that makes sense?”


Hopefully, Europe and the UK will live up to that sentiment as well, as Jada is gearing up for tour and ready for new countries to get to know her. Although, she’s already guaranteed a warm welcome, having already amassed quite a following across the continent. “The only reason I’m doing this tour, is because I’m getting messages from people around in Europe. And I didn’t want to go before I knew that there was people who wanted me to come. I don’t have that need for ‘conquering’ inside of me. I just hope that whoever comes are the ones who really want to come. Whatever will be will be,” she smiles.


Her only wish from this album and tour? “I want people to feel even more like themselves after listening. That they got reminded about who they are. And I hope they feel like themselves…. And cute and sexy.”


Perhaps we’ve always misunderstood the quest of alchemists to find the elixir of life to mean immortality. Perhaps instead, it just means finding the right balance between all the parts of yourself that make you who you are. And perhaps, alchemist Jada has written us the perfect recipe for that on Elements. Out now.

Listen to Elements below: