Interview With Grandi: Swedish Pop Perfection

emilytreadgold #7, Features

Listening to Grandi's music is like being inside of a candy shop for your ears.

With bouncy, fun synthesizers and lyrics that perfectly capture the essence of youth, Elsa Levahn, and Stella Ringdahl of Grandi have created a sonic landscape that one will never want to leave. Get ready to replay their songs over and over again as you fall into their bright and vibrant trance of musicality.

Pairing their production and songwriting skills with infectiously delightful melodies and sugar-coated harmonies, the Swedish pop duo are already serving A+ bangers with their debut EP, Winner, which was released just last year. Tracks like "Catch A Storm" and "Everyone" sound like a million bucks, with top-notch production, glistening vocals, and the catchiest of choruses. Their new song, "Childhood Dreams," also continues their streak of releasing non-stop pop bliss.

Under Universal Music Sweden and PALANG, a label managed by Swedish pop singer Laleh, Grandi plan on releasing much more music in 2024 – which will hopefully build up to their first-ever album. It's a very exciting time to become a fan.

Grandi chatted with The New Nine about how they came up with their band name, their latest single, "Childhood Dreams," and their excitement over touring and furthering their new music career. Keep reading for the full interview!

Hi Grandi, thank you so much for chatting with me today! What are the vibes like over in Sweden right now?

Elsa: Oh, it's so cold!

Stella: It's freezing and horrible. North Pole vibes right now [laughs].

What is the origin story of Grandi? How did you first meet each other, and how did you come to be the powerful duo you are today?

Elsa: We were studying in the north of Sweden at a school there for production and songwriting, and we were in the same class. We were just vibing over the love for pop music. We grew up on the same type of music. The indie pop from Sweden. The Cardigans and The Wannadies. Also, the love for Robyn and those more really pop vibe girls.

How did the name Grandi come about?

Elsa: Originally, we had so many names in mind. At first, we were talking about naming our band something with "kid." And then our manager told us, "But maybe when you're like 30, you don't want your band to be called something with 'kid.'"

Stella: You want to have the chance to grow up as a band. We were like, "Yeah, that's true."

Elsa: And then we thought about "granny." Just "granny." And then they were like, "Maybe people are going to think it's going to be granny-themed."

Stella: Yeah, we thought that the word "granny" had maybe too much associations with it.

Elsa: Yeah, I'm thinking Red Riding Hood grandma. And then we just added a "d." It's nice with a vibe. It's grand and big.

Stella: It's grand, and we like that it's something you feel like is big and grand, but it's still something that's not a word that already exists. It's our Grandi world, and we fill it with stuff! Also, back then, we were really into crocheting and knitting, and they were like, "Oh, yeah, it's because you have granny hobbies!" And we were like, "Oh, maybe we don't want to push too hard on this theme!"

You debuted in June 2022 with your first single, "Everyone." How long did the process take from deciding that you wanted to do music together to actually going ahead with releasing music for the first time?

Elsa: First, we met in school. The first year, we hung out all the time, and I think I wrote with everyone in our class [except Stella].

Stella: Everyone else except each other the first year. We were too busy just hanging out once we were in the same room together. We talked about music, but we didn't have time to make any [laughs]. And then after that first year, we started writing a lot of music together. At first, it didn't come from the idea that we were going to start a band. It just came from, "Let's write! Let's try and write music together!" And then, "Wow! This is so great and so much fun! Now, I kind of don't want to work with anyone else. These songs are very nice. I kind of don't want anyone else to do them."

Elsa: Yeah, because we were aiming to become songwriters for other artists first, but then we were loving the songs a bit too much and were just like, "We're keeping them!" I think we started writing together in 2020. Two years, and we met our label and the people we work with. And, of course, that was a process of making everything like making the artwork, choosing the songs, and making everything come together.

Stella: I think also by the time we released "Everyone," we sort of had the EP already figured out. We didn't want to just release something and then not know how to follow it up because they're all connected. That's also why we took a full year, almost, to just write the EP. And then we started releasing it.

I know a big part of your journey has come from working with Laleh, as you're both under her mentorship now. What has working with her been like, and what was it like going on tour with her for the first time?

Stella: I grew up listening to Laleh. She's one of the biggest artists in Sweden, and she's a huge songwriter and producer. We were big fans! Going on tour with her this August and releasing "Childhood Dreams," that song is all about that. Like honestly, I can't believe this is happening because it's almost not even a childhood dream – because I couldn't even imagine.

Elsa: It was too big [to have as a dream]. Obviously, we've both been dreaming about touring, but doing that with one of your childhood idols is crazy… We're signed to Universal as well, but under her label PALANG, so it's kind of like a collab thing. I think what's different from it being just a regular label is she's our label but manager. Being an artist, she's done everything before us. She's done the songwriting thing, and she's a producer like I am. She's been doing the artist thing for like 20 years. It's been such a good education coming from someone who's done it herself.

Stella: There's not any question you could have that she doesn't have a great answer to… When you have that trust and respect for someone, and they open up their brain for you to look through, it's such a…

Elsa: Because she's such a good songwriter! It's so good because she's been helping us with writing the EP. The process was we wrote the songs, and then she came in and edited. [She] maybe changed the chorus or rewrote the lyrics with us, and she just mentored us through the whole process.

How did you decide on "Everyone" becoming the debut single, and what was the creative process of writing that song like?

Elsa: My mom turned 50, and I was really broke at the time, so I was like, "I'm going to give her a song!" Originally, the song was called "Only You." The chorus in "Everyone" is like, "I need everyone," and originally it was like, "I need only you, you, you!" That was the demo idea, and then I took it to [Stella] when we rewrote it. We rewrote it again with Laleh and she came up with, "Maybe you don't only need one person! We all need each other!"

Stella: Since the theme of the song is more wider than, let's say, "Catch A Storm" or "Bitchcraft," it was a good introduction to us as a band. It's a simple pop song with interesting production.

What's your favorite song that you've released so far?

Elsa: I think mine is maybe "Catch A Storm," but I think "Childhood Dreams" is my favorite.

Stella: I would say maybe also "Childhood Dreams" because it's so filled with memories of touring. Playing it live and meeting the audience… that song when we're out playing it, I get this sense when the intro comes on. People have a reaction. You feel the energy in the crowd, and it's a really fun song to play. It just makes me so happy!

Elsa: Also, we wrote that song last winter, I think. We wrote it so quickly, and it just kind of came out. We were doing a club tour in Sweden, and I think we wrote it mid-tour because we added it to our set list in the middle of the tour, and we started playing the demo and trying it out. We finished it between the spring tour and the summer tour, and then we were playing the final version.

Stella: Also, I must say when speaking of live and favorite songs, "Eighteen." That's dedicated to both of our little sisters. That one is very close to my heart as well. It's not that I usually go around and listen to our own music in my earphones, but that's the song that I wouldn't even put on because sometimes I'm like, "I can't feel that strong of emotions!" We had a moment in the summer tour when we started playing it, and both [Elsa] and I had the same thought. We were like, right now, we can't look at each other because we'll cry [laughs]!

There's Zara Larsson, Robyn, Loreen, Lykke Li, Tove Love, Tove Styrke, Laleh, and both of you guys, and the list goes on and on! What is it about Sweden that creates so many amazing pop stars?

Elsa: We like to get together around music. It's a part of our culture, and everyone is really music-interested whether you work with it or not.

Stella: It's a big part of tradition and storytelling through folk songs. You sing at school, and you sing at all different kinds of activities from when you're a kid.

Elsa: But one thing I've been thinking about is also church songs in Sweden. Sweden isn't a religious country at all, but we all have our graduation every year since you're a kid in church. We sing these songs, and also, even if no one is religious, everyone's been growing up with these songs. The harmonies in these songs are very emotional. It's this melancholic vibe, too. I think that's a big part of the big Swedish songs and artists. They have this happy kind of melancholic vibe to it, and I think that comes from that. "Psalmer" is what it's called in Sweden, but it's like church songs. They're really, really beautiful.

Are there any up-and-coming women artists out there that you'd say are currently inspiring you or that you'd like to shout out?

Stella: Majken! You have to check her out. She is definitely one of the people to look out for right now as a songwriter and as an artist. We've been working with her in the studio, and it's really inspiring, fresh, and fun.

Elsa: I think one, she's from Sweden. It's a friend of ours as well, but she's blowing up now. She's called Waterbaby. I'm not sure if you've heard of her. She's so, so good. But then, obviously, I love Griff. I love bülow. I think they're going to be big. Really big. [And Griff], I love her clothing!

Stella: Also, Yaeger! She's a Swedish pop artist and a friend of ours.

We haven't seen any music videos from you yet. Is that something that you think might change in 2024?

Elsa: Well, we really hope so! We really want to do it on our next releases. Obviously now, we're working on music that will later become our debut album.

Stella: That's definitely going to include a lot of visuals and art as well.

Is there anything you can tease about what's to come from Grandi in 2024?

Elsa: [Our debut EP], it was a lot about writing to our sisters, about friendship a lot, and going from being a teenager to a young adult. Writing to our sisters was maybe a little bit of therapy for us who were going through that as well.

Stella: For us, the EP feels young in a great way. Writing it, we were young and new as a band. Right now, we're just spending all the time in the studio writing new stuff. The sound of the new era is definitely more…

Elsa: It's still the pop vibe. It's the synthesizers and all that we love, but I think we've been touching on our… we were growing up with indie bands and a guitar vibe. We've been adding that feeling to our new music. It's still really pop, but it's a bit messier. It's being in your 20-somethings more than being a teenager, kind of.

Keep up with Grandi on Spotify and Instagram


Hi, my name’s Austin! I’m a 6’3” iced coffee addict who’s obsessed with reality TV, pop music (Lorde’s the best), Taco Bell, shopping, writing, etc. I currently live in Hollywood and am loving the vibes. You can follow me on Instagram (@austinashburn4) or Twitter (@AustinJAshburn) to stay updated on all my terrible music opinions!

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