I was first introduced to Amanda Winberg aka Amwin after being sent her single ‘Uber’, a few songs and music video later I was invested. We caught up briefly before she was getting ready to hit the stage her show at the Popaganda After Party. It had been a busy week for Amanda after being in London recording for a few days and walking in a show for her friend during Stockholm Fashion Week. “Performing is my favorite thing to do, it’s my favorite side of the job.”
After getting her start on Swedish Idol she then worked extra jobs in order to have outfits for the shows, it’s a reminder of her determination to follow her dreams of becoming an artist. Despite having great success with her previous singles “Living Mistake” and “Uber”, Amanda seemed somewhat reluctant to consider herself part of the new wave of Swedes currently dominating pop music such as Tove Lo, Zara Larsson, Lova, Tove Styrke. “I don’t even consider myself a part of that, but maybe I should.”
Now back with her latest single “DeLorean” which draws inspiration from the 90210 days and Leonardo DiCaprio’s prime, Amwin will leave you wanting more. This is why the humble young star is one our 2018 ‘Artist to Watch’.
You were originally a contestant on the Swedish X-Factor. how was that experience and how did it shape you into an artist?
I think to me, I personally, I don’t come from a background in music. I’m from the countryside, from the west side of the state. And I didn’t really know anyone in the music industry or work in music. For me, I felt like I had to follow my dream and I didn’t really know how to prove myself, make sure that I’m actually capable of quite a lot. For me, that competition wasn’t about winning or losing, I just felt like even if I wouldn’t make it from the casting, the audition part, I was just hoping that maybe one person would see what I’m trying to do. Or maybe just meet one person who would help me find my way in the music industry cause I just knew that I had to give my all at becoming an artist. That was when I was 19, so I just spent my last year of school planning and trying to think. I knew that if I’m going into this that kind of concept and competition, I need to be very sure of who I am as an artist and as a person. It’s very intense.
I just spent a year trying to prepare myself. I worked, had an extra job, saved all the money to be able to buy outfits for the show. This is my one time I’m going to give it my all, kind of. For me, that’s been great, but I think it’s also been great because I was so sure of what I was aiming for going into the competition. Not really seeing it as a competition but more of a platform for me to follow my dream, I guess, whatever you want to call it.
Your track ‘Uber’ is a popular one. Can you tell us a bit about the process of bringing that together?
I mean, it was kinda sick actually. We were just in the studio, kind of, we had one of those days where we weren’t really, from the start, going anywhere. We didn’t really know what we were doing. We just, kind of, started talking about my life. For hours, and then, yeah, we just wrote a verse. We knew kind of what the vibe was, so we made the track pretty early. Just wrote the verse, and it felt so good. Then a couple of lines from the verse ended up being the hook. We were like, this is a fun line, we should just have fun and play with it. That ended up being the hook.
We pretty much wrote the entire song just in 3 hours, but that was a result of 8 hours of just talking and not really doing anything.
I guess it just came from me just kind of being sick and a lot of different situations of people not being honest. That’s the one thing I have issues with. I guess in many situations I’m a very straight up person and I kind of expect that from people around me as well. I think it just started to come from that.
And what is your Uber rating?
My Uber rating is actually pretty … let’s check. But I know my Uber rating is pretty good. It’s 4.71. So that’s good, right? It because I don’t smash the doors when I leave. I don’t always talk that much in Ubers.
Going back to the whole Idol thing. You’ve been successful, I think, at an age that a lot of people inspire to have success at, but at the same time, I think, you have worked extremely hard to be in that position. Does that make everything you’ve achieved, that more satisfying?
To me, I’d say that I don’t even…I’m very happy. I’m very grateful that I get to, I never thought, growing up, that I’d be able to work in music. I thought that was the kind of dream I shouldn’t even say out loud because that’s not happening. Putting myself down with that a lot. What do you have that’s so special? You know what I mean? For that, I’m very grateful. And I’m also still kind of thinking, it’s weird but really cool that people listen to what I sing. Look at my pictures and my, I think it’s super weird but cool.
But at the same time, I’ve worked so, so hard for it. Sometimes when you set your goals really high, and you also put in that kind of effort and work. It’s hard sometimes to look at the things that you’ve accomplished and seen it that way, cause I’ve just been a part of the process. You know what I mean? I’m very grateful, very happy, just to be able to be on stage is super cool. That’s like super cool.
The only stage I’ve been on before was at my graduation singing a song.
Oh, you sang at your graduation?
Taking every chance I could get. Once every half a year. But it’s great.
And you said you never dreamed of that happening. Is that mainly because of, I guess, your background and not coming from a musical family?
I think so.
Growing up in the countryside, I guess that’s chasing music as a career path isn’t the norm?
I didn’t know anyone who before who did that when I was younger. I just put my own dreams, kind of pushed them down. I did that a lot. I was just trying to be realistic and not get my hopes up cause I’ve been so afraid of being disappointed in myself and also it’s a disappointment to not, you know. Then I just felt like, I’d be even more disappointed in myself if I didn’t try. That sounds like a cliché, but it true.
When I was 18, I was like, fuck this.
In “Living Mistake” you sing “Don’t know what keeping quiet is, and I’m always on some stupid shit”. It’s quite a personal one. Are the songs you write a reflection of how you feel about yourself?
Yeah, sometimes. ‘Living Mistake’ is 100% about me and kind of just wanting to show a different side of myself. The people who know me, have seen so much and I wanted to share that with people listening. I also felt like I wrote all these songs about when you feel really good. And then I wrote songs about when I don’t feel that good. But then there’s a place in between, so, yeah, I just crashed my mirror and locked myself out of my apartment for the 20th time. But I’m still pretty happy and life goes on.
Would you say that the people around you influence it or is it purely based on your own personal experiences?
See, both. I kinda feel like the people around me is my own personal experience sometimes. I’m one of those people, I take in my surroundings a lot. If I watch a movie, I feel like I am the character in the movie. I just want that to be as genuine and true to reality as possible.
Is it daunting to be so honest with people because they might interpret it different from what you intended when writing the song?
I think it is scary, it’s always scary to share personal things. I think it’s even scary sometimes to force yourself to go to that space where you have to face it and think about it as you do when writing things.
That’s been a really hard part on my process. I think I’m really outgoing and social, but when it comes to things that are really hard for me like, emotionally, then I kind of want to take care of that and not share it. But I’ve just realized that just putting it out there makes it so much easier cause then you don’t have to live up to anything that’s not reality. I mean, it is scary, but I also think it feels good, it’s the type of artist I want to be so I just have to push through that scary part.
And having people connect to it too, because they might have also gone through the same thing.
That’s even cooler! Cause I’m like, oh I’m not alone about this? People actually relate to that? So that’s why I think it’s so good. It’s so easy to feel alone with your feelings. I’ve felt that a lot and I think a lot of people feels that way too.
Sweden doesn’t seem sort of talent with the likes of Tove Styrke, First Aid Kit, Zara Larsson, Tove Lo. How does it feel to be within that same pool of Swedish musicians?
You didn’t mention me [laughs]. It’s so fucking cool. I don’t even consider myself a part of that, but maybe I should.
You definitely should!
I just think it’s so cool, we’re such a small country, like 9 or 10 million people. Still, we have so many talented people in all different areas or whatever. Soccer players. But in music, we have a history of being good at music. But I also think in many ways, Sweden is also one of the countries that have been kind of, in some ways, not in all ways, but in many ways been kind of open and free, early with freedom of speech, and everyone’s right to vote. You know what I mean? So I think that also plays a big part in the way people feel that they’re free to express themselves. We’re not fully there, I wouldn’t say, absolutely not. I don’t think any country is right now.
And you guys have elections coming up right?
Like in a week. The 9th of September.
You mentioned freedom of speech and this makes me think of Tove Styrke’s set earlier today, with exploding confetti, pride flags and two males dancer kissing. Like that was truly the most amazing show I’ve seen so far!
I didn’t see. I missed that.
I think you guys are quite more progressive than a lot of other countries. Very open.
We’d like to think so ourselves. But then, you do have the bad side of it, like any. We’re not fully there. So easy to think it’s because it’s a progression and we have come so far in comparison to 100 years ago, 200 years ago, 1000 years ago, but we’re not there. At least it’s a lot better. It’s also cool to see, I think that I’m very positive, I have a positive mindset. I’m very excited to see what’s going to come out of this generation where we’re all so aware. And we’ve also grown up, I hope, and I feel and I think in a more accepting time. I’m just kind of staying hopeful and it’s gonna be a very nice evolution, whatever you want to call it.
Do you think it is important for artists to be political? A lot of artist during their show kept reminding the crowd to vote.
To me, I’d say if you want to be, it’s important. I think it’s great for people to use their platform to do something good. I think it’s important to vote. It’s not something we should take for granted. I feel like in that way, it’s important to use your platform in a good way. But also to not be political is political.
It depends, if you want to be, then it’s important. If you don’t feel like that’s your role or the role you want to play, it’s not your duty.
Your music videos are also standout aesthetically. How important is being to have that creative control over what your releasing? And to also make sure that it fully represents you as an artist?
Thank you, you like them?
Yeah! they are unreal
It’s like the two sides to why I want to keep evolving and working as an artist. The visual side of it. It’s one thing to create a song. To create music. It’s also another thing to see that music come alive. That’s actually one of the parts I find the most exciting and I’m very interested in that, so it’s very important to me.
Watch ‘DeLorean’ here