Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone
Smoky slow jams
" An emotionally rich mix of soul and R&B from a stunning new voice "
The story of Swedish-Iranian singer-songwriter Snoh Aalegra’s rise reads like a fairytale. She began writing songs at the age of 9, signed a development deal with Sony at 13, then spent a number of years honing her craft before releasing her first singles in 2009. Since then, it’s been more of the same – she’s been sampled by Drake, signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, and recorded with Common and Vic Mensa. Oh, and just the small matter of being a protégé of Prince, who mentored her for two years after falling in love with her music.
Born to Persian parents in Northern Sweden, she chose the stage name “Aalegra” as it means “joyful” in Italian (changing the spelling to make it more personal). Her smoky, heartfelt R&B slow jams bring all the feels which, fittingly, was the title of her debut album – 2019’s follow up was cheekily called Ugh, Those Feels Again. Equally at home playing the part of the sad lover or a lovestruck teen, there’s a real vulnerability to her vocals, unsurprising given she cites Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday as big inspirations.
But there’s joy and hope beneath the darkness; soulfulness too. “I write from a really authentic place – it’s just a continuation of my life,” she says, and it’s true; listening to her music is like diving into a sea of emotions. Her writing talent burns bright but carrying all this is her voice, a rich, bluesy totem that pierces the heart and positively shimmers with energy. All the feels indeed.