Get To Know Snoh
Snoh Aalegra is in LA traffic vibe when we catch her to speak about her current music, her upcoming September London show and what to expect from her new album, - Ugh, those feels again.
“I’ve been finishing up the project, the album. I mastered it a few weeks ago and I feel really good about,” Snoh tells me excitedly. “Now, I’m just focused on the rollout.”
Are there any teasers coming or any drops we should be keeping an eye out for? Her new track, “Situationship”, is out now. Her fourth single of her new album, - Ugh, those feels again, dropping on August 16th. It’s a mid-tempo song, still following Snoh’s signature melodic and deeply soulful sound, but a more happy and fun track. Influenced by old-school R&B and produced by P2J (who some might recognise from his work on Beyonce’s track on the Lion King album and Goldlink’s album). Written with Ari PenSmith (Sinead Harnett, Lily Allen) and J. Warner (Mahalia, Wretch 32), Snoh describes the process as one of the most fun experiences in the process of making the album.
Currently, the singer-songwriter is back in LA after being in Sweden and her sole focus is getting into the studio with her band and getting ready for her tour. She’ll be heading to London’s 02 Shepherd’s Bush venue, which she’s excited for. “London is where I have always found good supporters of my music. It always feels good to come back.” As well as London, she’s stopping in Paris, Amsterdam, Sweden, and heading to Asia in October for the first-time, before heading off on her US tour in the fall.
From Snoh’s first EP from 2014, she describes her sound as ‘changing a lot’. “I grow every year and my voice changes and grows, and I grow as a person,” Snoh explains. “All my projects are time capsules from me - they’re about my life. It’s everything that has happened to me and that’s been a lot, in both my personal life and my career.” Her new album shows a big change in both her voice and herself, she tells me.
Snoh first fell in love with music when she first heard “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. “I was in awe, I got chills all over my body hearing her voice. All these grand, big voices”. Houston and Carey became big influences, as did Brandy who Snoh cites as one of her biggest vocal influences. Lyrically, Lauryn Hill was a big influencer and Snoh talks of the importance of listening to her idols’ idols from Aretha Franklin to James Brown and Nina Simone.
I take Snoh back to talking about that very-real heightened physical feeling invoked from music. We discuss the likeness of the feeling to that of the feeling of when a plane leaves the runway and takes off into the air. “I get really emotional when she’s on a plane,” Snoh says. “There’s a scientific reason for it - when we take off like that, it makes us feel very vulnerable ‘cos we’re not supposed to be up there. Some people get a lot of anxiety and it evokes that feeling. We’ll call it ‘Take-off Music’.”
When it comes to musical influences and loves, her artist of the decade is Frank Ocean. “He changed the R&B game. He changed the way people wrote - and moved it into intelligent writing.” We discuss the similarity between Frank’s lyricism and hip-hop. “I think rappers are the best songwriters,” Snoh tells me. “Nas is one of my favourites, and hip-hop has heavily influenced my music. Classical production, live instrumentation and all that.” Having collaborated with Vic Mensa, Common and Vince Staples, who else would she love to work with? Frank Ocean is at the top of her list, as well as Stevie Wonder, followed by Drake - who sampled her song “Time” on his More Life track, “Do Not Disturb”.
“Fool For You”, the song that has catapulted Snoh into a bigger spotlight after she showcased it on Colors, is her most-streamed song. I ask her about the process for the song - “I wanted to sum up my personal life in a little bit of a funny way. I always fall for the same fucking type. It’s the same guy in a different body,” Snoh laughs. “It was making fun out of myself. It’s that thing that I should run the other way but I’ll stay right here cos I’m a fool for you. It’s me being weak for the ‘bad guy’.” The stripped-down soulful song is an emotional display from Snoh that echoes Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You”.
So, post-tour, what will Snoh be doing? Back to Sweden for Christmas to spend time with her family (who before heading back, she hadn’t seen in seven months). Musically, she’s looking to keep on with her natural process of making music that comes from her heart. “I only make music for myself and hope that people like it. I’m just going to make music that I love, and I hope my fans grow with me. As an independent artist, I’m inspired by others like Daniel Caesar. I’ve paid my dues with being on a label. You come to a point where you’re at one with yourself.”
Words by - Mireille Cassandra Harper