My name is Sarah von Reis. I grew up in Gothenburg Sweden, so I’m a west coast girl. I moved to Stockholm in 2016 when I was signed to Universal Music and the Swedish pop group Dolly Style. I spent some intense years touring, writing, doing TV, and then split with the group in 2018 and have been cooking up my own sound ever since. I’d describe my music as moody + dreamy + dark + pop.
We are launching Unlimited – a flexible pricing plan to suit every artist’s creative process. Unlimited allows you to release as many tracks as you want for a fixed price, from $4.99/month. We got the chance to talk more about creativity with Record Union artist Sarah von Reis.
Tell us what a typical day looks like. (Working during night hours, juggling with another job on the side, early morning walks? What is crucial for you and your creativity?)
Since everything stopped just as I had released my first single back in spring 2020, because of Covid, I decided to take the year and go back to school. On a regular day, I wake up and do an online class in my sweats on my couch. I do yoga or take long walks daily to clear my head and control my anxiety. I try to eat well and sleep enough. I talk on the phone a lot to my mom back home, my friends, and my girlfriend in New York.
To be creative, I need to feel like I have stuff in control to allow myself to put time into my music. Creating is a privilege, and I definitely learned that through Covid.
What inspires you the most?
Settings, moods, aesthetics, and words (yes, I was a Tumblr girl back in the day). I always start from a sentence or a theme and build my songs from there.
What does creative freedom mean to you?
In my small bubble of the world, I am about having enough time and money to focus on my music, undisturbed and uninterrupted. It’s about having the privilege to learn how to create music and express yourself without risking your life in a bigger perspective.
As we know, working with creativity rarely goes in a straight line. What is your creative process like?
I write most of my songs on my keyboard at home. I’ll start with a theme or a few words that give me a feeling, and then I build from there, playing with melodies and chords.
When I go into the studio and work with a producer, I try to explain the idea. I often see my songs visually in my head, and I have a full mood board in me that I’ll try to explain. I reference sounds, drums, synths from stuff that inspires me, and from there it goes.
What do you find challenging about being an independent artist?
I’m not gonna lie, MONEY is a challenge. I’ve done the full major label experience, and in some ways, it was luxurious as hell, and in some ways, it was extremely limiting. Although as an independent, I miss having a team of cheerleaders around me, someone who reps you to the old men with the $$$, PR budgets, and free fancy lunches, lol.
Do you have any tips and tricks when feeling stuck in your work? (For example, have you ever had writer’s block, and if so, what did you do to get through it?
Drink some wine, put on your music loud in your headphones, and remember how damn great you are. Works every time! Basically, don’t take it too seriously.
So, when you’re finally getting the creativity flowing, how do you know when a track is done? And how do you feel when you release it for others to listen?
I’ve never felt done with a track; I don’t know if that feeling exists?
When I release music, I’m terrified and excited at the same time. I have so many anxiety-like feelings, such as, was the timing right? Should I have chosen a different font for the cover? But at the same time, it’s a huge relief and so much fun.
Last but not least, what’s your next step? Do you have any projects in the pipeline?
I’ve just released my second single “The Saddest Girl”. I wrote it back in 2017 when my boyfriend in LA dumped me via an email. The song is about that period just after and how dramatic and self-destructive I was. A few months later, I realized I was totally gay anyway, so it was probably for the best. I’m also releasing my debut EP this spring!