Scandi songwriter for hire pens pop gems for herself...
Bathed in Norwegian sunshine, Ina Wroldsen is feeling liberated. As the summer of 2018 hots up, the singer and songwriter, originally from Sandefjord, south of Oslo, is feeling freer than ever. And the reason why is simple: music.
“There are so few places left in this world and in our minds where we can find true freedom,” declares Wroldsen, who’s squeezing our interview in before a trip to Paris to write with French singer and DJ Martin Solveig. “Writing for myself is mine. I am so grateful for it.”
Wroldsen will release her debut EP, Hex on June 15, following years successfully creating hits for others. Her CV reads like the tracklist for a Now… That’s What I Call Music comp: Britney Spears, One Direction, Little Mix, Clean Bandit, Rag’N’Bone Man… The list goes on.
“Writing for myself feels free,” she continues. “I can breathe freely in the music and there are no boundaries or fences. I write, knowing that this sound is my sound.”
Those emotions run right through Hex, which features four songs, each depicting a character from Scandinavian folklore.
Cinematic, ambitious compositions and Wroldsen’s heartfelt vocals are undercut by the pop tricks she’s honed over years as a co-writer, after she opted for the shadows when her electropop duo, Ask Embla, came to an end.
“My goal was for the listener to be drawn into a whole story,” she explains. “Hex is all about my rediscovering of myself. My homecoming, my flaws and my victories, but most of all it is about fear.
Fear is terrifying, and yet it is the base for pretty much every human emotion.”
Wroldsen says she is “proud of her fear” and wants anyone who listens to Hex to connect with it deeply:
“It’s important to me that the listener understands where I am coming from.”
The singer – and Wroldsen is very clear that, yes, she has always loved to sing – has taken her time to get to Hex, but as she re-found her voice its creation became inevitable.
“I think this was something I was suppressing for a long time. I always found a refuge in singing, and while I love and adore writing songs, I need to sing,” she explains.
“So in the end, this is about expression. I want to express myself. Also, songwriting for other artists can sometimes mean diluting your message.”
Wroldsen believes the most important quality songwriters must possess are “good ears” and has often left co-writing sessions feeling emotionally exhausted, so high are her standards.
“I always expect 100%, and my goal is always to come out of the studio with something special,” she asserts, “otherwise it’s a waste of a day.”
Wroldsen’s hit rate suggests such misfires have been scarce, but with the singer in complete control the world should brace itself for more special songs.
“Now I can just say things exactly how I want to. I am loving it…”