waterbaby is Stockholm’s swooning singer-songwriter

100%: The musician talks bed bugs, crunching on ice cubes and exploring "embarrassing feelings" on her lovestruck new EP.

waterbaby has had a bit of a nightmare this week. Just a few days ago, she had to have emergency dental surgery; the morning of our interview, dogs were called to her building in Stockholm to sniff out bed bugs.

Can you believe they have dogs for that? Luckily I don’t have any bed bugs, but I haven’t been able to stop scratching my body since,” she says, shuddering over Zoom. As for the surgery, the pain is starting to creep in, but I got to keep the teeth!”

All is well, then, not least because waterbaby is also gearing up for the release of her debut EP, Foam, a gorgeously constructed five-track project exploring the trepidation of new love. I could be your last love and you could be my first /​For you, I’d do the things that I said I’d never do for no other”, she sings on stand-out track 911, before melodically emulating an ambulance siren in the chorus: We-ooh, we-ooh, we-ooh”.

Foam has grown slowly but surely over a three year span,” the 25-year-old says. I worked with [producer] Marcus White and it took us a while to find it’, but I think we did. Before, I would have described myself as a very open person, but I’ve come to learn I’m not at all. Music helps me express my embarrassing feelings – love, that kind of stuff.”

Growing up in Stockholm’s suburbs, waterbaby was hugely influenced by her grandfather, a jazz pianist. When she was nine, her mum encouraged her to apply to a classical music school. waterbaby wasn’t so keen – she wanted to be in Destiny’s Child, not sing in a choir. I really grew to love that kind of music in the end, though, because all I’d ever known was R&B, garage and neo-soul,” she continues. Then I started writing my own stuff, which I’ve been doing ever since.”

Has she still got her eyes set on Beyoncé-level stardom? For now, waterbaby just hopes her EP elicits some kind of emotional reaction in her listeners, whatever that may be. It doesn’t really matter how they feel – I just want them to feel something, to relate,” she says. When someone can put words to your feelings or thoughts that you can’t quite figure out for yourself, that’s amazing.”

10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

I was born in… Where the fuck was I born? Somewhere in Stockholm. I was born and raised here, and I’m still here. I think I’ve lived in thirteen different places, literally on all sides of Stockholm. I’ve been around!

20% What’s a bad habit that you wish you could kick?

Oh my God. Do you want a fucking list? I’m addicted to ice, but I love it so much that I don’t want to quit. So I’m not gonna say that, even though it fucks up my teeth from crunching on it. I haven’t admitted it to myself yet, but vaping is a bad habit I wish I could kick. I can stop. I can quit.

30% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

My friend said the other day: Never expect or assume that people have their shit together”. I’m such a messy girl, so I always assume that I’m the worst and that no one else is messy, that they all have their shit together. But people literally don’t and that’s fine.

40% If you were cooking food to impress someone, what would you make?

I actually made my mum a menu today for her birthday. So, I would probably make some sort of pasta, with chicken, mushroom, garlic, lemon and parsley. Or fufu, the way my dad makes it.

50% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?

How much can you really get done in a day? I’m really indecisive. Fucking hell, there’s just too much to fix, I don’t even know where I would begin. I’m worried that whatever I say, in some alternate universe it’ll become true and have some kind of butterfly effect that’ll fuck everything up. So I’m going to say nothing.

60% Love, like, hate?

I love my family and my younger siblings – I’m obsessed with them. I like the Swedish summer. I hate toothache.

70% Number one holiday destination?

I’ve been dreaming of the French Riviera for a really long time. I’m actually going in the summer!

80% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?

I was recently in Singapore doing back-up singing and apparently it’s illegal to sing in the streets in front of people.

90% If you could travel back in time to see an iconic music act perform, who would it be?

Maybe The Jackson 5 or just Michael Jackson.

100% What can artists do to save the world?

This goes for everyone and not just artists specifically, but I wish that people would be nicer and less judgemental. If you don’t have something nice to say, shut up. That’s all.

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