Korantemaa crafts the kind of richly harmonic, honeyed sounds that you just want to melt into. With the second single, ‘sound waves’, taken from her upcoming debut EP out now, she takes us through a photographic journey from her London trips last year for our latest In Photos series.
Last month Korantemaa, the creative moniker of Johanna Karlsson, released the slick, lo-fi ‘matches’, which instantly entranced us with its hazy blend of ethereal melodies, soft, R&B beats and dreamy, dulcet vocals. Her latest single continues in this vein, where laid-back, jazz-infused rhythms, resplendent piano refrains and soaring vocals further affirm the Swedish artist’s songwriting prowess. Speaking on the track she expresses “It’s about wondering if you’re enough for a person. You might feel like you can’t really see a place in their life where you would fit.”.
Take a visual trip with Korantemaa through recording the EP, graduating, and dealing with last summer’s heatwave.
right after new years 2019 i flew to london to do sessions with a bunch of producers. i had never done anything like that before so i had no idea what to expect. despite that, i was excited because i knew this would be a milestone in my career as an artist, and i was stoked to get out of the small town i was living in, even though it was just for a few days. and the days went by fast. i experienced what it was like doing sessions, i got to make my way around the big city of london, i made a new friend, and had 4 new songs that was way different from my usual vocal and guitar based ones.
it was time for the second london trip for the year. this one was a full week of sessions with lots of new producers. this time i realized how much energy it takes to do sessions. you’re meeting a new person, trying to find out where to begin musically, you’re sharing all the emotion and soul that goes into a song, and you have to find a kind of flow together. and i also got to practice how to express my opinions, to learn how to communicate when i wasn’t happy with something. and while i was in studios most of the time, london was sunny and warm and beautiful and i felt like i was on my way somewhere.
freshly graduated and overwhelmed with the fact that i was finally done with school, i went to london once more. i could feel that things were getting more serious. the trips before were a lot about playing around and learning how to work with others, but now i felt like i wanted something more to happen. london was extremely hot during this time. for the ten days i was there, i don’t think the temperature sank below 25 degrees ever. i was constantly sweating and trying to focus on working in the studios, trying to make something i would feel happy about. but it was hard. i felt lonely and directionless. you know those periods that come every once in a while, where reality hits you over and over and harder with every beat? that was where i was. and after over a week of sessions, with a brain that felt like a piece of gum that had been stepped on a thousand times, it was time to do my first london live show ever. it was at lay low and it was cosy and nice and left me feeling that the trip was worth something after all.
first half of october 2019:
new london trip, new sessions. as an artist and a perfectionist you have to battle your self-doubt all the time. and when you’ve tried something over and over again, but it just doesn’t work out, that judgemental voice in your head gets louder and meaner. i just wanted to feel proud of something for once. to feel like i had made something that i could stand for, something that truly was a part of me. and during this trip i finally got a spark of hope that i might get there. i made a song called ’observing / staring’, and making that song felt like exhaling after a deep breath in. i am grateful for that. i also got another song done, ’open’, that would end up on my upcoming ep.
second half of october 2019:
just a week after coming home from london it was time to go back again. i wasn’t sure my brain was fully charged since last time, but sometimes you simply have to force creativity. and i am glad i did. as the last trip had predicted i finally felt i was becoming something, i was discovering something. the sessions i did felt calm and natural and by the end of the week, i had made 4 songs i actually was proud of, and 3 of those would end up on my upcoming ep. it was a huge relief. i went home, and finally i was feeling pleased with myself.