Mina Okabe‘s whirlwind year of inspiration and creation culminates in her latest release, a heartfelt mixtape titled Spinning Around. The 22-year-old Danish-Japanese singer-songwriter looks back on an astounding year marked by the highly acclaimed debut album Better Days, welcoming fans into a new era of her artistry.
Spinning Around is a personal and intimate offering that feels like an old-school mixtape of heartbreak, self-reflection, and good times. The collection features three previously released singles—”Take It Further,” “Waiting Is A Waste,” and “Rain”—alongside three new tracks. On the lead single, “Talk to Me,” Okabe finds confidence in an irresistible bossa nova groove. The song delves into the frustration of trying to decipher someone’s thoughts and feelings when they’re not opening up, setting it apart from her other work with its playful production and uplifting message.
As one of the most promising new artists to emerge from the Nordics, Mina Okabe’s world shows no signs of slowing down. With her undeniable talent and captivating presence, she is poised to keep Spinning Around and capturing the hearts of music lovers worldwide. Listen to the EP below and continue scrolling for our interview.
Mina, congratulations on the release of your new EP, Spinning Around! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the title and how it captures the essence of your whirlwind year?
The reason I called the EP “Spinning Around” is because this past year really did feel like a whirlwind of new experiences. I played concerts abroad for the first time, played some of my biggest shows and have met so many new people. I sing “spinning around” in my song “Shut Up” and when I had to think of a title for the EP I felt those words really stuck out to me.
It seems that your music connects with a wide audience, especially on platforms like Instagram. What aspects of your sound do you believe resonate with people so strongly?
I think a lot of people relate to my lyrics. I always write about personal thoughts and experiences so I think and hope people can feel my honesty when they listen to my music. I have seen people quote my lyrics and have received messages from people who told me they could relate to what I write about, which means a lot to me.
With the rave reviews that your debut album, Better Days, received, did that success impact the way you approached writing and recording Spinning Around?
When I started writing music, I wrote songs in my room with my guitar, and I still do the same now. I know the producers I worked with on the EP very well because they were the same producers I worked with on the album, so making the songs was a very natural process. I guess the fact that I have had a good response to my debut album also helped me believe in myself and in my songwriting even more. I don’t let the fear of someone else not liking a song have an impact on my decision to release it. I do always hope people like the songs I release, though!
You’ve described the project as an old school mixtape, featuring songs that express various emotions and experiences. Could you share a story or anecdote from your life that inspired one of these tracks?
This EP was very fun to put together because I was able to release some of my favorite songs I made this past year. I feel that they all show sides of me that I have not expressed in my music before.
An example of a song that is different from the songs on “Better Days” is “Rain”, which is a song I wrote while I had corona in December 2021. I think that the thoughts and feelings I sing about are feelings that a lot of people can relate to. Rain is probably one of my most personal songs. Many of my songs are about love, but this is the first song I have released where I am reflecting on myself.
The bossa nova-inspired lead single, “Talk to Me,” has a unique style. What attracted you to this genre, and how did it help you convey the song’s emotions and themes?
I feel that the guitar and the beat of the song naturally inspired the confident and straight forward lyrics. I have very few songs out where I show this much confidence, so I thought it was fun to bring out this side of me. I like how it is different from anything else I have released, but still sounds like me.
Incorporating references to popular culture and current trends is a recurring theme in your music. How do you keep up-to-date with what’s happening globally, and in what ways does that influence your songwriting process?
I am generally a curious person so I guess being up to date with what is happening around the world comes with that. I also love having long conversations with friends and meeting new people, and sometimes ideas for lyrics are sparked from these conversations. I am also always very interested in discovering new music. I love listening to music that inspire new sounds, and ways to use words and chords I don’t typically use.
Now that Spinning Around has been released, what’s next for you? Should fans anticipate more live performances?
I am playing support for Lukas Graham in his “In The Round” tour. We have played shows in Norway and soon we are playing shows in Sweden and Iceland, which I am so excited about! I am also going to play my first festivals in Asia this Summer and I can’t wait! I am also working on a new album so new music is coming soon!