interview | shenie fogo

Swedish Jamaican artist Shenie Fogo’s moody R&B is back. Since releasing her last album Meet Me In My Dreams in 2021, the musician has been fine-tuning her sound. Set for release this year, Fogo’s next project promises evolution. Her honey vocals and delicately arranged Scandinavian soul result in a sound that sits somewhere between Solange’s sultry tone and SZA’s banging beats. Peppered with nods to the music she grew up listening to as a child, for Fogo music is the only form of self-expression she has ever known. 

The Stockholm-based musician is inspired by the ever-changing energy of the places she has travelled to yet finds the most solace in the comfort of her home. The melodic beats of her music invite listeners with open arms into the inner workings of her mind yet strike a universal chord with their magnetic relatability. Schon! chats to the about her latest work. 

Are there any formative moments you remember from growing up that cemented your love of music? 
I grew up in a very creative household. My parents were dancers when they were younger, and my sister and I always used to play around with music or dance just for fun. From childhood I’ve always grown up in an environment surrounded by music.  

Who or what inspires you musically? 
My mum played a lot of Swedish music and my dad is Jamaican so I grew up listening to a mixture of genres. I would say R&B influences me the most today. Singing and writing have been my form of expression since I was a kid because I’m such a shy and introverted person. It’s mostly the creating part which has driven me to continue and be where I am today. Expressing myself through music has always been such a big part of who I am. 

As a young artist, is there any advice you’ve received which has stuck with you on your journey? 
Yeah, the producer I started working with when I was around 18 always used to say “let the music do the talking.” If it’s good music, it’s going to speak for itself. I’ve always kept that in mind whenever I felt doubtful or felt like I need to do more. Being independent, you have to think about so many different aspects. You can sometimes forget that you just need to focus on the music and forget about other things. Also, it’s a cliche but just being yourself is very important because you can see when someone isn’t authentic. I think it’s important to stick to what you like, what feels right for you and the rest will just flow.  

Your songs are always very rich lyrically, as a songwriter where does that creative process begin for you? 
I always start off with my producer, we just vibe with instruments and different sounds. When we have some type of idea, melodies and topics just flow from there, and then I’ll start improvising. I’ll lay down some parts of the lyrics and then I always have to live with a song for a couple of days, sometimes weeks. I’ll play it at home and in different settings, just to get a better understanding of what I really want to say with the song and how I want to move forward with it. I like to write a lot at home as well because it feels like I can get a better connection with the feelings I want to articulate.  

You grew up in Sweden but you have a lot of family in the UK too. How do the music scenes differ and does your environment affect your sound? 
I live in Stockholm but I do spend a lot of time in London. The people and pace of the cities are different. London is fast and there are a lot of things happening but Sweden is very slow. Whenever I’m here in Stockholm it’s my time to be with myself and be with family. When I come to London or when I travel in general, I definitely draw inspiration from the environments I find myself in.  

It’s so nice to have a little safe haven to escape the chaos. Have you got any dream collaborators in mind you’d love to work with in the future? 
I’m a big Solange fan. I love her music. I also love Sampha and Daniel Ceasar, those are my top three at the moment. 

The visuals for your music videos are really striking, can you tell us a bit about the concept behind them? 
I always work with the same set of people when I do my visuals. It usually starts with an idea I have. I’m very passionate about my visuals. It goes hand in hand with the music. When you hear my music I want the visuals to enhance what I’m saying. I direct and edit everything myself. It’s such a big part of how I want people to experience my sound and I want that to translate.  

You’re working on a new project currently. What can we expect? 
It’s definitely more experimental. I released my last album in 2021 so there is a little gap between them and I definitely feel like I’ve grown as a person. I have more life experience. It’s just going to be about what I’ve been up to and how I’ve evolved as a person.  

What is performing live like for you?  
I love it. One of my favourites was this very intimate little gig I did in Stockholm. We only invited about 15 people and we had a cocktail specialist who made a cocktail for each song. I told him what the song was about and the feeling, and then he made a cocktail out of the song. It was such a special night for me. It was amazing. 

As an artist working today, what are you listening to?  
Right now, I’m listening to Daniel Caesar’s new album. I think he’s amazing, as I said, I would love to collaborate with him one day. I also always go back to Sampha’s album Process. I also have different music for every mood. Wen I go to the gym I’m probably listening to trap or rap music but when I’m at home I put on low-fi music and low-frequency sounds in the morning. It’s always something different.  

Shenie Fogo’s next project is expected to release in Autumn 2023.

This Schon! online exclusive has been brought to you by

photography. Andy Carnegie 
fashion + creative direction. Ezenna Okotcha
talent. Shenie Fogo 
movement. Joe Grey Adams 
printing. Rhys Williams 
words. Ella Joyce 

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