Burgeoning Danish singer-songwriter Kleo, loved for her ethereal vocals, shares her eagerly-awaited EP I Love This Movie today.
Kleo’s life is portrayed in song form on EP with each record serving as a different scenario in her storyline. She describes “Lucid” as a “heart song” for the visionary and the aesthete who has lofty, sometimes chaotic ideas about life and who seeks solace and healing in quiet reflection. Lyrically, “Miss You” is a tender ode to Kleo’s desire and the memories that play like a movie in your head whenever you try to forget them. It concludes with the lesson that it is possible to overcome bleak circumstances and rediscover beauty in one’s life.
As for “Broken Hallelujah,” it’s an ode to “the one who got away” and the worst heartbreak imaginable. This huge pop tune begins with a sad, flowing melody and crescendos into Kleo’s passionate, emotive vocals. The upbeat “Beautiful Life” serves as a love song to life and the people in it. Bringing the four-song project to a close, it’s a sonic homage to the iconic artists of the 1960s, a time when the power of love could conquer any obstacle.
In tandem with the full-length release, Kleo chats with us about her musical upbringing, movies, standout cuts from the project, and more. Check out our conversation below.
When it comes to your upbringing, what part has been the most influential on how you represent yourself through your music?
My sister was a lot older than me and watching her on stages performing and in her kitchen writing had a huge impact on me. Also growing up I was very sensitive to the impressions of the world and my surroundings. I never really believed that I could undisclose myself to anyone the way she was able to. And being on stages is — to this day — a great challenge, but somehow her being an artist, mirroring that, has given me the courage.
This EP is described as your manifestation of growth into womanhood through life-defining experiences. Each song is meant to be a different scene of your life—tell us about that.
Being vulnerable out in the open about my life and mental state of being is a recurring theme in my life. I tend to hide in order to feel safe, but it creates a distance between myself and the people in my close sphere, but also within myself. I honestly wanted to create songs that would reflect essential moments where I felt truly fragile and very human. I see the songs as polaroids captivating the moment, they are forever memories, defining moments and places I revisit – like we sometimes repeat the same lessons or go through similar parts of our own story and same emotions throughout life in different forms.
Through these four songs, you sort of hit the perfect mark to where there’s just enough to hold you over but simultaneously leave listeners yearning for more. How did you approach narrowing down the records on the EP?
Thank you, I am glad you think so! My producer Søren Buhl and basically recorded a lot of tunes chosen out of a big pool of songs. And from there we felt like some of the material kind of started interacting with each other. We wanted to keep it simple and ”urgent” in a way.
Talk to me about “Miss You” and “Beautiful Life,” where do these two songs fit in the fold, and what made them the perfect prelude to the full project?
To me, they somehow convey the contrast and juxtapositions within my music, the yin and yang, darkness and light. A space where longing melancholy is intertwined with hopefulness and ecstatic euphoria. And those contrasts create the exact movements in all kinds of art that have captivated me since forever. Just as in life; the darkness has a way of emphasizing the light in our lives. It makes the good things more significant and creates a certain grace in my mind.
As in “Miss You” where the main character allows the sadness to unfold which elevates and transforms it into a beautiful and consoling memory – and as the darkness melts away – bliss surfaces. In that way, I love how you can perceive the entire EP as a story in and of motion.
A recurring theme on this EP that I’ve picked up on is love—what is your definition of love and similarly, what is your love language?
Having already danced into the majestic abstract room in this interview I will continue down that road. To me, love is an ever-present force or energy that permeates everything across time and space. Equal to—maybe the same as—light and bliss, it is what is left when you subtract everything else. A sort of unified field existing within everything and all time as we know it.
Haha, and then there is a more down-to-earth version; the poetic never-ending story about how love for someone or something takes us to the edge of living and lights a fire under all the existential questions of ours. My love language is a combination between physical touch, spending time together and words of appreciation.
With the project’s title being I Love This Movie, what were some pivotal movies that left an impact on you, whether it be growing up or current day?
Definitely the visually striking Miyazaki films, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Chihiro” along with the classic Disney movies in general I think have created the framework around me and my generation. I adore the iconic 90’s movie “Romeo + Juliet” and cult movies and series such as Twin Peaks and Donnie Darko. The magical blend of a subtle supernatural vibe and the archetypal stories really fascinates me.
Music aside, how does your personal style inform your creativity as you continue to recreate different iterations of yourself?
I will always be fascinated by the times I grew up in. There is a sort of classic element to the nineties I feel, a timelessness. Like you can sense Beethoven beneath the layers in Radiohead’s tunes and watch the simple, classic colors influence the style on the runway. To me the ’90s were an anthem to the classic, big love story, painting with a big brush, great emotions, and maybe also romanticizing life a bit and distilling everything into simple equations.
Apart from all the important conflicts and structures that have come into the light these past few years that were still unresolved and left in the shadows during this decade – I think there is something beautiful about that era, the make-believe. Escaping into my own imagination has always been a habit of mine. I have to continuously remind myself to “wake up”.
Can you talk to me about your writing style as well? What emotions or experiences often fuel some of your best works?
When the waves go high they tend to bring something along with them, highs and lows! Heartache, thankfulness, loss of any kind, dreams coming true and life turning corners reveal new parts of a story I feel. I experiment with creating a certain alteration and distance. I try to captivate an atmosphere, a story, more than basing it on my own life.
2023 is not too far away, what are you looking forward to next year?
Releasing my debut album has been a dream of mine for so long and it is finally happening! We are currently creating the songs in the studio and at the same time the whole visual universe! The underlying tone within my music – which I feel can be very cinematic and soundtrack-sh at times – is that there exists an eternal love relationship between image and sound.
I am also looking forward to playing headliner shows and playing at festivals!