This week’s Gup Shup introduces us to remarkable London based singer-songwriter Pollena.
Stumbling upon new music is a little joy we all find satisfaction in. We recently discovered talented artist, ‘Pollena’ who is building a reputation for herself having been featured on BBC introducing with her debut song ‘The Pool’, a track that found its way on to our playlist and hasn’t left since.
Hey Pollena, thanks for giving us your time. What should people know about you?
Thanks for having me!
I’ve been writing songs from the age of seven and have never stopped. I see it as a form of release and an essential part of who I am. Currently collaborating with interesting producers is what excites me. I find it can be alienating and lonely if you write and produce alone. I get too stuck in my own head and can be a bit of a perfectionist. The moment songwriting started working for me in a productive sense was when I started collaborating with producers. There is something truly unique about a song that has evolved through collaboration.
Your Spotify profile mentions you were a vocalist for Girlhood, what made you pursue a solo career?
I’ve always had hundreds of songs waiting to be recorded and released, but nothing felt right in terms of how I wanted my debut sound to be. ‘The Pool‘ was the first song I thought, ‘yes this will work!’. But its taken a long time! Its been fantastic to be a vocalist for Girlhood, as their songs are so fun to sing live especially as I get an echo mic to sonically experiment with.
How would you describe your work?
That’s a tough one. I would say evolving, honest and hopefully unique. I always try to sing and write lyrics without pretention, so I hope that comes through.
‘The Pool’ is incredible, what inspired the lyrics and the tempo?
Thank you! The song started off as a very chilled loop track that the producer Kirk sent me right before I went for a swim in a purple lit pool at night. I was the only one at the pool (rare!) so I was able to really get into the song’s ethereal vibe and was imagining all sorts of crazy things. Kirk then transformed the song as he was so inspired by my ideas, it became a whole new thing. I hope the track feels like escapism, entering another realm, as that’s how I felt writing it.
How did you come to work with Kirk Spencer?
Kirk saw my performance with Girlhood at Latitude, came to chat with me after the show and we went from there. I feel lucky to have met him as not only has he been brilliant to
collaborate with musically, he’s also just a really great guy.
How do you choose who you work with?
Well first I must like music they have previously created, it has to be slightly delicious to me. Then the music they send me should spark melodic ideas within the first few seconds, otherwise I know the track will be doomed!
Is there an album or EP in the works?
Nothings set in stone in terms of an EP or album, but I would love to release another single within the next few months. I’m currently working with some incredible producers from all around the world who specialise in all sorts of genres, so I’m just being as creative as possible and seeing what works. There are a couple of tracks I’m really excited about and can’t wait to share.
How are you handling promotion during the pandemic and how have you had to adapt?
The pandemic has been a very sensitive time for self-promotion. Everyone has had such diverse experiences and yet are aligned in this vague sense of change and semi-subconscious fear. I’ve just tried to bare that in mind when I’m sharing, whether it’s being
honest about my mental state at the time of posting or sharing my genuine joy when something goes right. As ‘The Pool’ is all about finding release from social constructs, I think it has connected with people more than it may have done pre-pandemic.
Have you made long-term plans to adjust to the new restrictions?
To be honest no! I have no idea what’s going to happen, so for the moment I’m using this time to hunker down and get creative.
What artists motivate you and are there any you would like to work with?
I love what Arlo parks and Sylvan Esso are doing currently. A collaboration with one of them would be incredible.