Her outspokenness and eminently sensual tone have made Ängie one of the most talented and subversive Scandinavian artists of recent years. Meet.
Releasing two albums in the same year is not something everyone can do. But Ängie is. The Swedish singer is clearly not one to rest on her laurels: while Not Pushing Daisies has just been released in collaboration with her faithful friend Harrison First, a second album is announced for later in the year, this time co-signed with the young but promising Tail Whip. All in self-production, since she refuses to be a puppet for labels, and to be able to do "whatever she wants".
This reckless attitude is her credo. Since her debut in 2016, Angelina Dehn - her name in civil status - has stood by nothing and built a career at Lana Del Rey, of which she sees herself as the spiritual daughter. Through her almost romantic pieces, she deals with delicate subjects such as the use of drugs or suicidal thoughts. On the personal side, the artist fully assumes her bisexuality, dedicating titles to both men and women.
It's a Wednesday afternoon when we decide to make a call to Ängie. She picks up on the second ring, finishing pulling the last taffes from her cigarette, comfortably installed in a rather quiet bar in the heart of Stockholm.
You just released the album Not Pushing Daisies with Harrison First and you have a second album, Heartburn, also planned for 2020… Why do two albums in the same year?
Because they are two very different albums! Not Pushing Daisies is more commercial, while Heartburn is a little more artsy, with sounds that are new to me. I really had fun doing Not Pushing Daisies because Harrison and I have such a good friendship. It was more complicated for me to make Heartburn, because it's not the music I usually make. In this album, each song represents a challenge!
On writing too, have you exceeded your limits? You are famous for your pen…
My first goal is to tell a story. A story about who I am and what I went through. And to make people identify with it all in one way or another. I consider my songs as pretty poems. I write all the lyrics myself. For each song, it's different. Sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes it can take me two months.
I have a title in the Heartburn album which is very moving for me. It talks about the loss of a friend and it took me a while to find the right words. It becomes more difficult to express yourself clearly when it is a subject that is so dear to you, when sometimes you can just let yourself be carried away by your ideas and let the soul of the poet inside you speak. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's hard. The mood plays a lot.
You’re not afraid to use profanity in your songs or touch on themes that can make people uncomfortable. Do you see yourself as someone provocative?
I’m not intentionally provocative, I just think it’s important to talk about things that matter like drug use, mental health or LGBT+ issues. Sometimes it’s acceptable and sometimes it’s not. And I find it really incomprehensible. My single "Smoke Weed Eat Pussy" was super controversial but you have to be honest, male artists have sung this kind of thing millions of times. So it's different just because of my gender? It’s stupid.
Are there contemporary artists with whom you identify and with whom you might like to collaborate?
I will always answer Lana Del Rey. It's like my mother [laughs]. I also really like this group called Unloved. They just did the soundtrack for the Killing Eve series and they make incredible music. They haven't broken through yet but they have so many pieces. I would like everyone to listen to them.
You have always spoken freely about your own love orientation in the media. Does your bisexuality directly influence your music?
Of course ! Any aspect of my life inspires me to write. For my part, I'm fed up with all love songs about men so I make sure that my lyrics are not gendered. I'm trying not to mention people's pronouns now. I think we should be more open-minded about hearing a love song dedicated to a man or a woman, it really doesn't matter. If you have a crush or you're crazy about someone, shout it all over the rooftops! The world needs it.
You are from Sweden. How is being LGBT + there?
It’s getting better, I think. It was weird when I was growing up but now I find it much better. Especially in the past few years, I’ve seen so much more coming out than usual. I think it's great. I’ve seen a huge change in a short space of time. But unfortunately, there are not yet big artists who assume themselves.
Lots of queer people follow you and love your music. Do you feel a form of responsibility towards them?
Of course! I talk to my fans a lot. I have a lot of fans from Brazil and we’re having a group chat. I talk to them almost every day and they share moments in their lives with me, like coming out to their parents... I try to support them all and make them feel confident. I love being useful in this way, I find it really important. You will never be satisfied with yourself if you cannot be sincere with yourself.
Whether in your music videos, through your album covers or on Instagram, the aesthetics are very worked. Is it part of your job?
Yes, I’ve always been very visual when it comes to art. I love clothes, I love makeup, I love everything that allows you to express yourself. Photography and video production are ways for me to express myself. I find it very important to have control over how we present ourselves in the media because if you let a label do that for you, it is not really you that you are showing.
Being a high profile woman can sometimes have a negative impact on the way you perceive your body. Do you think that was your case?
Of course, I still have image problems but I think that’s how it is with everyone. I feel happy nonetheless. I know everything you see in the media is more or less a lie. Let's be honest, Kylie Jenner doesn't look like that [laughs]. Yes, the media can make you feel bad about yourself, but if you just remember who you are and it doesn't matter that much. People try so hard to find the right angle in order to appear slim or busty or whatever ... It's important to just be yourself and remember that everything you see on Instagram is often lying.
Did people try to control your image when you started?
I never let them do it. Maybe they tried, but I'm not easy to handle. They may have been trying to change my dress style but I have a strong opinion on it so no one can come in and get involved.
What do you think should change in the music industry?
Lots of things, honestly. I would like this industry to be more accepting of all people in the world. I would like this industry to stop judging people all the time. Above all, I would like us to stop signing with labels because they are going to suck all your energy like vampires. I’d like everyone who is thinking about signing with a label not to do that because in my experience it’s so much better to control things yourself. Don't let them make money on your back when you can raise that money for yourself.