All eyes on Rhys

Singer Rhys Clarstedt Frank has turned her American-Swedish upbringing into a bittersweet symphony. Her melancholic pop songs have been streamed more than 60 million times and tell the story of a heartbreak. Now the world is waiting for a debut album, out in September.

You describe your music as bittersweet, why?

Lyrically my songs tend to be pretty sad or angry while the productions are more pop and up beat. The mix of happy and sad create the bittersweetness. Of course the songs on the album will kind of vary since the album was written during different stages of my heartbreak.

Your music, written together with Swedish hitmaker Jörgen Elofsson, has been streamed millions of times worldwide, describe that feeling!

It feels strange and exciting. I honestly try not to think about it too much because it’s pretty daunting and I feel like if you ponder it too much it goes to your head. But of course sometimes it hits me while I’m on stage or someone tells me about how they heard my song in an H&M or a Whole Foods in London or Seattle. It hits me how awesome it is that I get to sing for a living and people all around the world might be relating to little old me.

Do you have a favourite song so far on the new album?

All the songs on the album are super personal, so I love each of the individually, but yes my fave is probably Maybe I Will Learn (released), or a song called On My Own. Can’t really decide. They’re both very dark which I love.  

This summer you’re part of the new Swedish festival Queens of Pop which has a clear feminist statement. What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism means equality to me. It means me being able to act/look/dress/speak/think however I want without being judged based on outdated norms or suffocating expectations of how a woman should or should not be.

What is your best festival memory?

Watching Sam Smith perform in a super small tent at Bråvalla before he broke as an artist. He sang so beautifully and seemed so nice and genuine. I was also a little tipsy, so I was really enjoying myself.

What is your first memory of music?

My mom singing ”Vem kan segla” to me as I fell asleep. It’s a super sad and pretty Swedish lullaby that still gets to me.

You grew up in Portland, Oregon, in what way would you say it has influenced you?

I think I grew up really believing I would one day be on stage or be on Ellen or be best friends with Miley Cyrus (which i’m not yet for the record which i’m sure people already understood). I think growing up in the states gave me that confidence somehow. I know that it’s very ”Swedish” to not want to think too highly of oneself or dream too big or unrealistically.

Who would you most want to meet?

I feel like the last answer kind of gave me away hehe but Ellen Degeneres or Adele.  

What is your favourite ritual?

Eating snacks and watching a good movie or show.

Describe a garment you love and why.

I love my fave blue jeans because they just fit right, you know? Nothing can really compare to those fave jeans.

Do you believe in love?

YES. I am very much in love with my boyfriend.

What do you dream of?

Being super confident in myself as an artist and one day filling a huge arena and hearing people sing my own lyrics at me. And also living by a lake with the person I love and having a dog.

What is your strongest asset?

Haha probably my hair I guess. I hope something more deep but I honestly can’t come up with anything right now. Maybe my voice? Is that a better answer? Oh well.

What is the most complicated question you ever received?

”Describe yourself”.  

What is your biggest privilege?

Being able to do what I love and to have so many amazing people working with me to help me achieve my goals and dreams. It’s really pretty crazy.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My own and other people’s experiences in life and love. And also Adele. Love Adele.