Echoes of Distant Departures
Gothenburg-based Kristina Issa and her art pop band don’t usually make love songs. But “You’re Not Mine” needed to be written, as a form of closure to years of departures. The song’s pristine synthesizers seem to whisper goodbyes from a forgotten world. An ethereal sound that reminds you of Swedish indie pop acts like Lykke Li in her most intimate songs.
“You’re Not Mine is about getting to know yourself by saying goodbye to different parts of your life, and maybe different expectations”, Issa explains. But the haunting synthesizers weren’t present from the beginning: It all started as a humble piano ballad.
Kristina Issa collaborated with producer Simeon Hiller (A.K.A. Silveräpplen) to create a soundscape evoking echoes of Nils Frahm. “We made a magical version in his studio, just one day with many synths, and suddenly this was the version we wanted to do.”
“You’re Not Mine” is the mellowest song of Issa’s upcoming album. “It has more of a dark side to it.”, she tells us. “It also has a very flowy rhythm and makes you wonder what is about to happen.”
The song’s peaceful nostalgia comes as a strange continuation to “Can’t Stay”, the first single of the album. The song was released in the spring and got featured on Swedish outlets like Djungeltrumman, HYMN, and Popmuzik.
Kristina Issa has become a household name in the Swedish indie music scene. As a composer, she has worked on audiovisual shows like “Arabic Spring” and “Queen Zenobia” in venues like Stora Teatern (Gothenburg) and Södra Teatern (Stockholm).
Her songs about exclusion and longing are deeply rooted in her cultural identity and have been performed on stages all over Europe. Issa is currently preparing for the release of an album at the end of 2021, an exploration of the different forms of goodbye. “You’re Not Mine” will be released on September 3rd.
Press photos by Nadim Elazzeh.
Pop sounds of exile, departures, and longing are stitched together in Kristina Issa’s pop project. The Swedish/Syrian artist and her band have brought their mix of jazz and folk influences to stages across Europe. Eloquent synthesizers, bouncy drums and saxophones, and even an occasional touch of rock bringing musicians like Kate Bush and Regina Spektor to mind.
Music has been Issa’s “first thing in life” since childhood. She met her band members while studying at Gothenburg’s Music College. The project went through different experiments before releasing their first album “Afraid of Whales” in 2014.
“Mostly I write about hope, and maybe feeling a bit left out in this world.”, Issa tells us. “After seeing a war going down in my home country and living with a lot of fear, I think that’s why I wrote about this stuff.”
Her music combines these difficult, intimate subjects with colorful instruments that feel almost childlike. Songs like “This Little Heart” (2018) heal you through dance, while her album “Ocean” (2017) makes you stay quiet and listen through the resonant sea of feelings.
Kristina Issa has become a household name in the Swedish indie music scene. An active composer since her music academy years, she has worked on audiovisual shows like “Arabic Spring” and “Queen Zenobia” in venues like Stora Teatern (Gothenburg) and Södra Teatern (Stockholm).
Issa is preparing for the release of an album in November 2021, an exploration of the different forms of goodbye. The album singles “Can’t Stay” and “You’re Not Mine” got featured on Swedish outlets like Djungeltrumman, HYMN, and Popmuzik.
Photo by Nadim Elazzeh