Music Moves Europe Talent Award winning singer-songwriter Lxandra released her second major label single "Swimming Pools" in late May. The song continues the battle against the outdated image of women in our society. The Helsinki-raised Berlin-based 23-year-old encourages women to be loud and free.
It has been over a year since Lxandra released her major label debut single "Dig Deep" (preceded by independent singles "Hush Hush Baby" and "Flicker" with major licensing). "Dig Deep" gained the attention of music media both domestic and international. The young Finnish singer-songwriter’s voice drew comparisons to Adele (“That’s a huge compliment, of course!”) and she was predicted to be our next pop export since Alma (“Her success has opened doors for us Finns.”).
Besides a handful of well-picked gigs – mainly festival performances and a couple of opening spots for Dua Lipa – and a lively Instagram account we haven’t heard much from her. Until now: her sophomore single "Swimming Pools" breaks the silence.
“"Swimming Pools" is about who you are and where you come from and always holding onto that. Be grateful for what you have, you have everything you need”, Lxandra tells me.
Growing up with music
Lxandra was raised in Suomenlinna, an inhabited sea fortress built on a group of islands fifteen minute ferry ride away from the centre of Helsinki. It’s one Finland’s most popular tourist attractions and belongs in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique monument of military architecture. 800 000 people visit Suomenlinna annually and 850 people live there.
“Growing up there was perfect! There’s room for imagination. Nature and sea surround you but the city is near.”
My own taste in music has also been cultivated by the stuff we listened back home.
Lxandra’s father Pekka Lehti is a respected musician and producer, plaing bass in one of Finland’s most classic rock outfits J. Karjalainen & Mustat Lasit in the 80’s, double bass for the internationally acclaimed folk band Värttinä in the 90’s and double bass in the award-winning jazz-sextet Dalindèo since 2004. Lxandra thanks his father for her musical awakening.
“It’s hard to know if I’d ever started making music for a living if I hadn’t been raised surrounded by it. My own taste in music has also been cultivated by the stuff we listened back home.”
It's a family affair
Lxandra’s family ties aren’t limited to her cultural upbringing: her father is also her business associate and her brother plays guitar in her band. The producer Lxandra’s been working with the last couple of years, is also from the same village-like community of Suomenlinna. So remember “where you come from” and “hold onto that” like she said, eh?
“It is absolutely necessary to work with good people. The kind who understand me and who I can trust and respect. I’m glad to be in a position where I can choose the people I work with.”
I’m glad to be in a position where I can choose the people I work with.
That’s not something that can be taken for granted in the music industry. While some festivals and organizations have openly pledged in battling gender inequality, problems still remain in the structures of the industry.
“There are situations when my opinions are looked down upon even though I’m the artist. I’m not being taken seriously just because of my age and gender. I’ve had my share of inappropriate comments from people working in the industry. I haven’t experienced any harassment more serious than that, and I’m glad for it, but it happens all the time. Men abuse their power and that has to stop.”
Be loud and free
Lxandra’s debut single Dig Deep criticized the image and expectations of women that still reigns in our society: be quiet, stay pretty and do what you’re told. Lxandra’s idols, on the other hand, are strong women who are more than “just” singers. She namedrops Sia and Lana Del Rey, artists with a clear and powerful vision. Lxandra encourages women to be loud and free – even if it causes fear among men. Other than that she refuses to speak about her artistic vision.
“You’ll find out when it’s time”, Lxandra says mysteriously. She hints there’s more news coming this summer – "Swimming Pools", which follows the themes of "Dig Deep", isn’t the only new song she has up her sleeve.
“It’s about being happy with what you have and showing a middle finger to the expectations of society”, she continues about her latest work.