Ji Nilsson came onto the scene last year thanks to the success of tracks like “Heartbreakfree” and “Encore”. Hailing from Stockholm, Ji’s music is that of an R&B mermaid luring in the masses over dance-inducing electronic beats. Ji sings, writes and produces all her own music. Equally entrancing as her music are Ji’s music videos. The videos for “Heartbreakfree” and “Encore” recall the best parts of 80’s Madonna and Kate Bush music videos. Ji’s recently released her new single “Perfume”, which is a downtempo summer smash. I talked with Ji about the new single, future music and her love of mermaids.
Ryan: “Perfume” is an instant summer chill classic. What’s the inspiration behind the song?
Ji: I was inspired by winter finally coming to an end, the smell of nature slowly waking up, the pink cherry blossoms and the light nights that finally came to Stockholm in April. I’m not the only one loving summer so I think a lot of people all over the world can recognize that bittersweet longing for it. I was also inspired by the feeling of never getting to much of a person, just wanting to absorb everything about them and being in that moment with them forever. That’s how I feel about summer as well.
Ryan: Our blog listed “Heartbreakfree” as one of our top 5 pop songs of last year. I also just heard it on the radio at a random grocery store in LA. Did you ever think the song would be as popular as it is?
Ji: Thanks for the support! No I had no idea, I had only released one song as an artist before “Heartbreakfree” and since I had no major record deal or any PR or anything, just my Instagram, I really didn’t expect that. I still get very surprised and super happy when someone tells me they heard my song in another country. It’s so amazing that someone on the other side of the globe is listening to the words, melodies and production that I made here in my small studio apartment in Stockholm.
Ryan: Your music videos are so signature. They’re like beautiful 90’s fairy tales. Will you be putting out a video for “Perfume”?
Ji: Thank you! Or, thank you Joanna Nordahl and Karolina Bengtsson aka BoomBossGäris who did the videos. They are two of my best friends and I absolutely love working with them. It’s like they dive into my dreams, capture them and let me act them out in front of the camera. I’m not sure there will be a music video for “Perfume”, but if there will be it’s definitely going to be a BoomBossGäris video. It would be summery, romantic and magical.
Ryan: I know you’re working on new music. Any idea when it may be coming out?
Ji: I’m working on two EP’s that will both be out this year, one very shortly I think, and one later this fall.
Ryan: Will we get to see you playing any shows in the States this year/early next year?
Ji: I actually don’t do live performances right now. I love singing, producing, writing songs, doing music videos and interviews but I really don’t like stages. I use to love standing in the spotlight when I was younger, I took dance classes and performed in musicals all the time, but I kind of outgrew it. Who knows, in a year, performing live might be what I love the most, but right now it’s not my thing.
Ryan: I know you love mermaids and you are a beautiful land-mermaid yourself. Will we get to see you as a mermaid in any upcoming video?
Ji: Haha yes I’m kind of obsessed with mermaids and have always been. I’m definitely doing a mermaid video when I have the budget for it, BoomBossGäris and I have talked about that since day one.
Ryan: What are three of your all time favorite albums?
Ji: Nostalgia Ultra by Frank Ocean, Butterfly by Mariah Carey and the soundtrack to Amélie.
Ryan: If you could have any actress play you in a biopic about your life, who would it be?
Ji: Hmm I have no idea…I’ve never thought about it. I love Drew Barrymore so I’m going to say her.
Ryan: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Ji: You are the sweetest! I read everything you write to me and It makes me feel like a kazillion bucks!
Photo credit: Adrian Wigerdal