Photo Credit: Polly Hanrahan (@pollyhanrahan)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // May 15, 2020
Growing up in Sweden and Spain, Ayelle continues this constant traveling throughout her life–visiting London, Los Angeles, Bali, Cambodia, and Stockholm. It’s this very itinerant life that inspired her newest mixtape, NOMAD, which features 12 stellar tracks focusing on certain aspects of her life journey. Without further ado, prepare to be blown away by Ayelle’s captivating songwriting and stunning vocals on NOMAD.
On NOMAD, Ayelle reflected,
“The mixtape is a collection of songs written over the past two years and an intimate self-reflection where the listener is invited to explore feelings that are sometimes uncomfortable–yet essential–to one’s fueled growth. It is an invitation to be fearless and step out of one’s comfort zone, whether that means physically in the form of travel or emotionally in one’s relationships and personal experiences.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Ayelle about traveling, mental health, and of course, NOMAD.
HH: What was it like growing up in both Sweden and Spain? Do you think this affected your music at all?
A: It was amazing to experience two different cultures at the same time and really get to immerse myself fully in both. I definitely picked up musical influences both in Sweden and Spain and the experimenting that I did there in those early stages was crucial to my development as a songwriter.
HH: You’ve visited so many places like Cambodia, London, New York, Barcelona, and Amsterdam… What’s been one of your favorite memories from all this traveling?
A: When I went to Han La Bay in Vietnam (next to the famous Ha Long Bay), I felt as if I’d drifted up into heaven/the Avatar movie set. I spent two days sailing around it on a boat and the landscape and the peace woven into that place was truly magical, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
HH: NOMAD is a 12-track mixtape of which every song represents a part of your life journey. Did you find any particular track more difficult to write than others?
A: All of the songs on this mixtape came about really naturally so I wouldn’t say one was more difficult in particular in that sense, but there are definitely songs on there that brought up really difficult emotions. “Supposed” and “Child” are among those.
HH: Can you describe the creative process behind NOMAD?
A: I like to use a technique I call subconscious songwriting, which is basically when you show up to the session completely unprepared and see what the music brings out. I try to clear my head of any concepts and just feel my way into the song, often not knowing what I’m talking about until I hit the chorus and that’s when things fall into place. This way what I write becomes completely uncensored and I’m able to elaborate on topics and emotions I didn’t even know I needed to explore. It’s the ultimate therapy.
HH: What was it like working with Rationale on “Choice?”
A: Amazing. He’s quickly become one of my best friends and I’m so grateful for the musical chemistry we have. Our sessions are so much fun and I feel completely comfortable writing about absolutely anything with him. He’s seriously one of the most genuine and lovely people I’ve ever met in this industry.
HH: How have your experiences been leading online workshops and op-eds on mental health and self-care? Why are these opportunities so important to you?
A: It’s been a great way of getting myself out of my own head and into a state of service, feeling into the different ways I can connect with other people and hopefully help out in some small way. Mental health has been something I’ve struggled with a lot in the past and I still dip in and out of depressive states now, although thankfully not for long usually. It’s still something I have to work at constantly and just having been there myself the thought of being able to contribute positively to anyone else’s state of mind feels like a blessing.
HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?
A: That’s so difficult, haha! Julia Michaels is high on my list cause I adore her writing and she seems like a genuine down to earth person. I’d love to songwrite for BANKS also… her songs got me through some of my toughest years.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
A: “Insecurities” by LOVA
“Picaflor” by Lau Ra and C Tangana
“Too Much” by Reece