Danish-born singer songwriter Amalie Bryde relocated to London to follow her passion of music. Now she’s released her debut EP Lay Down which is filled with six “rhapsodic, resonant and reflective” tracks. She sat down with us to delve deeper into the meaning behind the EP as well as explaining her artistic vision for herself.
INDIEPENDENT: What have you been up to recently?
Amalie: I’ve started a live series on the Performa app every Wednesday where I write a song for a fan in an hour besides that. Doing these live performances made me realise how much I miss performing.
Alongside that I’ve been doing a lot of preparation for the EP! I’ve been shooting and finishing up the music videos for the songs on the EP as well as making promos which can be shared on social media. I want to have as much content as possible finished so I can just celebrate.
INDIEPENDENT: How are you going to celebrate the EP release?
Amalie: I’ve been working on the promotional side of the EP since before December so I’m going to have some time off! I really need it as I’ve reached a point where I need to rest my head a little bit. I also would love to go out for dinner with my boyfriend, I did ask him about it and he went a bit quiet so I think he’s planning something big!
INDIEPENDENT: How did growing up in Denmark affect your music?
Amalie: That is a really good question! I think growing up in Denmark gave me a lot of curiosity because Denmark is a very Scandinavian country and I wasn’t exposed to much else growing up. Musically, it was mainly pop and that made me want to discover other music and cultures.
In Denmark, I heard people say ‘oh, you have one shot (at music)’ and that scared the shit out of me! It still does a bit, I think that’s where my perfectionism comes from. I’ve always had a curious mind to figure out what the other ways of living are, and other ways of doing things. That feeling was always bubbling away inside of me but I didn’t have the courage before moving to London to just go for it.
INDIEPENDENT: How did moving to London alter your music?
Amalie: First of all, the music scene here is insane. The level of independent artists here is just incredible, I’m so honoured to be able to share this space with my peers. Just being in this environment is amazing and it has improved and altered my musicality drastically. I just feel a lot more able to express myself, in my music, how I dress and even how I speak. I’m not as shy anymore and I ask so many questions.
I think there is such a thing as a ‘London mentality’, like I’m focusing on what I need and want, and what’s important to me. I’ve also learned that the only way I can succeed with this is if I am actually doing it. I’m the one who can make this move forwards. I felt like in Denmark I was living on a cloud, waiting for someone to come and save me or that X-Factor moment. In London, if you want something done you have to do it yourself. It can be quite overwhelming and there is a lot to think about but I’m excited because I came to London to be around like-minded people. I really hope Laydown shows my potential to other creatives and brings about collaborations as I work the best when I work with other people.
INDIEPENDENT: London can definitely be a pretty full on place, what do you do to unwind?
Amalie: I’ve been struggling with this because of the lockdowns. I used to unwind by going to Spain for like a week for a total detox. No social media, healthy food and relax. Or, I’d go home to my family. But since these days those things aren’t really possible I’ve been trying to get into nature and do some hikes. I’m really creative and I love doing things with my hands so I also crochet quite a lot! I’ve got a brand called Kool Kat where I sell t-shirts I’ve dyed and crocheted things too.
INDIEPENDENT: You used to perform under the name Kool Kat, can you tell us more about this?
Amalie: Yes! Some people used to call me that so I used it as a stage name back in Denmark. I wanted to have a divide between myself and my performance self back then so I would wear sunglasses and I altered my voice to sound more like Erykah Badu when I performed. But, I struggled with it though because I found it hard to connect with people while using the Kool Kat persona. I felt like I was just trying to be someone that I’m not.
When I started working with producer Glen Scott in 2019 he said to me “you have the most incredible voice so why are you trying to sound like Erykah Badu?”. Now my voice is drawn from everything I’ve learned. It still has that little quirkiness, from the jazz-influenced side of me. But, I can also belt like and say what it is when it really matters and I want to get all emotional. Glen taught me to just sing from my heart. Like, that people want to hear me, and hear my story. That’s another reason why I love jazz, it’s trying to tell a story.
INDIEPENDENT: What has kept you sane through the lockdowns?
Amalie: Workouts for sure. I also read from this book called The Daily Stoic everyday which is about wisdom, perseverance and the art of living. I’ve also been quite diligent with my time, writing a list of things I have to get done.
I’ve also been trying to cut myself some slack. It’s easy to fall into a trap of looking at social media data too much and that’s not healthy at all. I try to take a step back from social media as the more I get into it, the more I kind of lose myself completely. The algorithm initially helps you but then it stops because the platforms want you to pay for it, and I sometimes take those dips in numbers personally, like ‘what am I doing wrong?’. You forget that numbers don’t matter. What matters is the people who are watching. I have to remind myself that it’s not a brand I’m working for, it’s myself.
INDIEPENDENT: What is your vision for yourself as an artist?
Amalie: When I was a kid I would imagine myself on a big stage like Beyonce or Shakira! I used to dance professionally in Copenhagen and while I don’t do that so much anymore, it’s always going to be a part of my performance. I’d love for people to come to my gig and enjoy themselves, dance and sing along. But, I’d also like them to go home feeling loved and having gained a fresh perspective or learning.
I’m still thinking about those big shows though too, I’ve always, always wanted to have a live band perform with me. Live bands are so important, it’s like ‘who am I without a live band?!’
INDIEPENDENT: How do you ensure you’re moving forwards within your music?
Amalie: I try to use my perfectionism as a tool to better myself and my music. Like, I always record myself gigging so that I can review it and be like ‘oh, that wasn’t so good’ or ‘I need to relax here’. It can be quite cringey sometimes but its the only way. I’m quite alone in this life in the sense that I don’t have a manager, or agent, so I’ve got to watch over myself. Even when I think ‘oh, that went really well’ when I watch back on the tape I’m like ‘why am I looking down all the time?!’ I can see that I’m holding back, which allows me to reflect on it and that’s how I improve.
INDIEPENDENT: Lay Down is your debut EP, how does it feel to release this into the world?
Amalie: Amazing. I think now it’s out, I have to just leave it alone though. It’s like sending your kid out into the world, haha! I think I’ll keep growing as an artist and release new music, make a new baby.
One thing I think will be important now that it’s released is for me to actually celebrate, I’m usually straight onto the next thing and the next thing. Looking at numbers, planning etc. Numbers are important but they’re not the reason I make music and remembering that this EP is just not an instant gratification. That’s the thing, my generation expects things to happen overnight. And it’s so draining, because it’s not realistic. So, now I just want to recognise my hard work and relax!
INDIEPENDENT: The EP is filled with such tangible emotions ranging from defiance to joy or melancholy, how does music help you process your experiences?
Amalie: It’s very therapeutic. When I haven’t felt my greatest I can sit down, put some piano keys to a beat and just sing whatever comes out.
INDIEPENDENT: Could you elaborate on the meanings of the tracks on the EP?
Amalie: Okay so, ‘NO’ came from the idea that I wanted people to chant with me when I performed. I was really inspired by a gig Nina Simone did at Ronnie Scott’s. I also wanted to have the message of ‘just do your thing’ in the song.
I wrote ‘Lay Down’ in 2016, initially I thought it was going to be a really sexual song but that’s so not me. So I left the song for a while and came back to it when I was working with Glen Scott. We spoke about my past experiences with men and how we could flip those, and ‘Lay Down’ was finished!
‘Mine’ has quite a funny story because obviously it’s about making something mine but I wrote the lyrics with buying a bag in mind! I didn’t want the song to be too ridiculously corny and part of my writing practice is to find new ways to express things. It’s like John Mayer and ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’. He’s not just saying ‘oh, your body’s gorgeous’, he speaks about it as if its an amusement park. So in ‘Mine’ I wanted to use my senses of wanting someone, almost like wanting to collect them.
I wrote ‘Slave To My Mind’ about how hard I am on myself. It was a neat way for me to express that. I particularly love the guitar solo in that song because it’s so emotional and also very angry. It was a really therapeutic song, like a way for me to say goodbye to those emotions.
INDIEPENDENT: ‘Colours’ is such a gorgeously intimate tune, how were you feeling when you wrote that track?
Amalie: ‘Colours’ came from such an honest place. I was practising guitar for an upcoming gig and during that practice ‘Colours’ just came out of me. At the time, I was dating someone who just didn’t want to open up to me, he was so scared to show that side of himself. This song really came from my heart. I wanted to add some nature sounds, like the subtle birds, and make it really intimate.
INDIEPENDENT: ‘Slave To My Mind’ in particular is such a personal song, it features lyrics taken from your journal, what led you to wanting to include such intimate detail?
Amalie: It’s hard to not include the intimate details, otherwise it’s not coming from an honest place. I don’t think there is anything wrong with fiction. I write in my journal everyday and I do think like ‘why wouldn’t I use this tool of mine?’. Music is such a therapy for me, and what I’m singing about comes from the most raw place. I’m writing about my life and that’s part of being an artist.
It also stems from the fact that I’m Danish. While I sing in English and that’s my language within music, I still sometimes find myself making up phrases that don’t quite make sense! I find if I haven’t written in a long time, it gets harder too.
INDIEPENDENT: What thoughts do you want the listeners of Lay Down left with after they listen?
Amalie: I want Lay Down to be the soundtrack of all the emotions we go through. It finishes a bit depressingly with ‘Slave To My Mind’ but I hope that at the same time it gives people the feeling like they can be in control. Music for me is very reflective, and I hope this EP can be that for other people too.
INDIEPENDENT: Can you give our readers some recommendations for other artists to check out?
Amalie: I really love, admire and respect Marie Dahlstrom. She’s extraordinary and just does not give a shit, she’s doing her own thing. She doesn’t seem to feel the pressure to be on Tiktok or social media. It takes balls to just release good music, to trust the process and that you’re doing good. I also really like Hans Philip, he raps in Danish and he is so poetic. I struggle to express myself in Danish but he mixes words beautifully. He just did a Colors show on Youtube actually. I also want to mention my friend Laura Roy!
INDIEPENDENT: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in their career in music?
Amalie: I’d say just DM me! I think it’s important to support each other, especially women supporting women. I really want to be a part of that. I think my advice to people is just to do it. Whatever it is. I took a long time to release music because I thought I only had one shot, which isn’t true at all. I can admit that there are days where I have my doubts, and I don’t mind saying that. What has helped me a lot is creating a brand slide about myself. Asking myself ‘why am I doing this?’, ‘where do I see myself?’. Once I had narrowed that down, it was easier on days where I didn’t feel so confident. I would love to be able to help someone else, I’ve had so many helping hands since coming to London and it would be great to be that person for someone else, so if you’re reading this you can reach out to me!
INDIEPENDENT: Can we expect any further releases from you this year?
Amalie: Oh, yes. I have quite a few songs I’ve been working on… I actually have a second EP ready. I’m still deciding on the title but I might call it In and Out of Love. It’s very heartfelt, and has the vibe of artists like old school Jennifer Lopez. I think the next song I will release will be ‘Like This Like That’ that I performed live at The Global Soul Live. It’s a very groovy tune that you just want to swing your hips to.
INDIEPENDENT: Are you planning any live shows?
Amalie: I’ve two shows booked for June! The Dalston gig is now sold out but there are still tickets available for my show in Newcastle! I’m working on a headline show… it’s a little bit difficult with the restrictions as no one really knows what will be happening but that getting that organised is one of my top priorities.
Lay Down is available now on all platforms.
Interview conducted by Ella McLaren
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