In search of her own musical voice and new collaborators, Swedish singer Cornelia Dahlgren moved from Stockholm to London. At that point her career had included highlights such as reaching the final of Swedish Idol, as well participating in the Red Bull Music Academy in 2008. Six years on, her decision to jump into an unknown adventure has proven the right one, with her promising debut album Balun out on June 15.
“I wrote ‘Balun’ on the brink of a big change in my life - moving to the UK,” she says. “I felt I was at the edge of a border, both physically and mentally, having to relearn basic things like language, culture and conventions. I had a new story to tell.”
These stories are brought to life in enchanting electronic pop songs that bear traces of her prolific collaborations with artists such as neo jazz band Portico, downbeat connoisseur Bonobo and dub step producer Scratcha DVA. Balun is a gem of mysterious melodies, playful beats and Cornelia’s mesmerizing tales about London. Here she reveals her favourite corners of her adopted hometown.
Check out this new track by Cornelia feat. Kwes called “Make Anew”, exclusively on The Red Bulletin.
Where is the best place to go for breakfast in London? What would you recommend?
Honestly there are so many new cafés popping up around here that I’ve lost count! Nothing beats a greasy spoon like the Upper Clapton Café on the corner of Brook Road/Upper Clapton Road. I had my first ever English breakfast there with the Portico boys five years ago and the veggie plate is still my number one hangover cure.
A hidden treasure not many people know about in your city.
The Choral Evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral and St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street. You get to experience a five star live performance in a building with perfect reverberation time for these sort of vocal compositions. And it’s free.
A tourist trap I should avoid at all costs.
The London Eye. There are plenty of other places where you can get a good view of the city without being locked up in a glass cage for 30 minutes.
What’s the city’s best club night?
You leave the club at closing time and you don’t want to go home yet. Where would you go?
The clubs I go to tend to go to shut pretty late/early, but if I’m really drunk and the sun is rising I’ve been known to sit chatting to the swans on River Lea. We understand each other.
A fun fact about your city not many people know.
I hear Maida Vale Studios was originally built in 1909 as the ‘Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club’.
The best place to go for a walk, relax, get a bit of nature in London.
Hackney Marshes Nature Reserve with it’s many habitat types. One of the few remaining places in London you get to experience real nature.
What’s the best record store?
There are plenty, but I usually splash out a bit at The Diggers Record Fair at Oval Space.
How should I get around the city?
In addition to a standard digital release, Balun is available as a limited edition audio poster which marks the first step in a series of technological musical endeavours, brought to you by Cornelia in collaboration with Novalia.