As part of our Music Made Us campaign, Saga Wahlström, a third-year Songwriting student in Brighton, explores her musical journey. Saga discusses her experiences, musical phases, writing emo lyrics on the beach, and speaking with the Swedish Embassy.
No one in my family is particularly musical, so I grew up with whatever was on the radio and with loads of Taylor Swift. I had an edgy metal phase, the indie phase, the K-pop phase, and even a classical phase, so my influences are all over the place.
When I first started hanging out with more pretentious music people, I often felt like I didn’t know what or who they were talking about. My eclectic music taste may not have given me a strong education in music history, but it did make me a great pop writer, and that I’m grateful for.
Outside of my current BIMM family, Brighton has many music creators, always encouraging me to collaborate with other people and start writing for artists. Living in Brighton means I can hit the beach, and writing emo lyrics on the seafront is always fun.
Since I moved from Sweden to the UK to come to BIMM Institute and collaborated with many artists from other countries, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of how the music industry is connected to different countries. Since pop music is so collaborative and global, I rarely feel like I’m in the UK music industry or the Swedish industry; I’m just in the music industry. I appreciate the UK because of how influential music is here and how many people are active in the business!
“ I love how much more diverse and thematically different pop music is becoming.”
Because I work with artists from all over the place, I don’t think I regularly work within the same scene. I work with diverse people, who have new things to say through their music without shying away from mainstream pop. Pop music is such a direct reflection of culture in many ways, and I love how much more diverse and thematically different pop music is becoming.
Being an outspoken feminist in the music industry
I’ve always been an outspoken feminist, and the music industry is one issue I am very invested in. The thing that annoys me the most is how some men in the industry see you as stupid or less knowledgeable until you exceed their expectations by 200%.
“In so many ways, it’s a boy’s club.”
When you make mistakes or say something incorrect, you don’t get the same level of understanding that men get. Other men laugh WITH other men when they accidentally mess up, while they laugh AT women when they accidentally mess up. In so many ways, it’s a boy’s club, where men lift other men and then maybe incorporate one token woman. I will be debating this issue amongst many others very soon on the Women in Music panel hosted by the Swedish Embassy.
Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by music. Discover their stories here.