Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Eee gee press shot

On the Rise
eee gee

21 December 2023, 10:00
Words by Jen Long
Original Photography by Niklas Adrian Vindelev

After a battle with confidence, Danish songwriter and performer eee gee found the inspiration she needed to take centre stage and create flawlessly produced, intelligent pop.

“We’re always saying, when we’re in a new place and we don’t have a lot of fans, we call it catching Pokémon,” laughs eee gee, the stage name of Danish songwriter and performer Emma Grankvist. “The vbest feeling ever is when you see people standing there and all of a sudden their eyes just get bigger and bigger and you can see you’ve won them over. After a few songs you’re like, I just won over a Pokémon. I just caught a good one.”

Calling in from the tropical climes of a winter vacation, Grankvist is ending a year that’s seen her artist project tour relentlessly across Europe, playing festivals including the likes of The Great Escape, Iceland Airwaves and Roskilde. After playing at Eurosonic Noorderslag in January as part of the ESNS Exchange programme, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, eee gee was the recipient of multiple live offers. She capped off the year releasing her explosive second album SHE-REX this autumn, a collection of songs full of big hooks, timeless songwriting and intoxicating production.

Originally from Copenhagen, Grankvist grew up with her mother who loved music, exposing her at an early age to the likes of ABBA and The Cardigans. In her younger years, her mother had been a dancer for the hugely influential Danish band Kliché. “She’s been on the main stage at Roskilde, she was playing tambourine and fake singing and dancing,” she laughs. “My dad builds guitars and he’s a really good guitar player but I didn’t grow up with him so I guess there’s definitely some daddy issues going on with me playing music.”


Despite her mother’s formative influences, it wasn’t until Grankvist developed her own tastes that things started to click. “I remember finding Velvet Underground, The Doors, Radiohead was a really big one for me. I really wanted to be like, everyone’s about OK Computer, I’m more about Kid A. I really wanted to impress,” she says. “I think that actually made me fall in love with really diving into different music that requires a bit more patience than an easy pop song.”

She took guitar lessons but felt too shy to perform in public. The British and American pop artists that were popular in Denmark never felt like role models to her and the local music scene felt too male dominated for her to quietly infiltrate it. “Finding Björk was a turning point for me, and Sia and Fiona Apple. Those were the female artists that showed me you don’t have to have that natural, beautiful voice in order to make interesting music,” she says. “All of a sudden I could hear lyrics that were weird and didn’t make any sense, more about the phonetics of the word or saying something in an obscure way. I started seeing how it was more about the music, and I loved that.”

Niklas Adrian Vindelev SCAN EEEGEE May2023 9

In her mid-teens, Grankvist was taking saxophone lessons. She noticed that after playing for twenty minutes, her voice was warm and her singing stronger. She asked her teacher if she could switch to vocal lessons and quickly she found her voice. “I think that way of thinking of singing as an instrument helped me a lot to improve,” she says.=

After one lesson, her tutor challenged her to try and write a song. I wrote something on guitar that was very simple and it was like… I can’t believe you can just sit down and make up your own words with your own melodies,” she says. “I think it took me a long time to realise, being an artist for me at least, is 95% about the songwriting. As soon as I started writing the right songs I felt more like going on stage and playing the songs.”


However, she still didn’t feel confident enough to declare herself an artist, instead looking for a framework to guide her into music as a songwriter or composer. She began applying for The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, taking a three-year pre-school course to try and improve her chances of acceptance.

A small course for which a place is highly competitive, Grankvist’s applications were declined time and time again. Alongside her continued efforts, her formative project began to pick up attention and she signed a major label deal in Denmark, releasing an EP. The experience only made her further adamant that she didn’t want to be an artist. “I got burned,” she says. “I tried for a second to be an artist. That sucked. I just wanted to be a songwriter. I don’t want to be out here struggling with the rest of these artists.”

An introvert to the core, Grankvist never wanted to try and break into music through an avenue like X Factor. Instead, she applied to the Danish Academy six times in total, never making it past the second round. However, the week she got her sixth rejection, everything changed. Visiting New York at the time, she met her now husband, and her current, longtime producer. “I decided to move to New York,” she says. “But this was in January 2020. Everything went to hell.”

The US introduced a Covid travel ban which Grankvist could only bypass by spending two weeks in Mexico en route. She made two trips to the US before her now husband flew over to Denmark to help her secure a work visa. As the US embassy was only accepting appointments for citizens and their spouses, she got married, all in less than a year.

Once back in the US, she began to further develop her new songs with producer Rasmus Bille Bähncke. They sent one track, “Favourite Lover”, to acclaimed engineer Eric J Dubowsky in the hopes he might mix it. “We thought he’s probably not gonna have time, he’s probably not gonna want to do it, he’s probably too expensive,” says Gankvist. “But then he was like, ‘Do you have more songs?’”

Through Dubowsky, she was introduced to the Future Classic label and instantly offered both a record and publishing deal off the strength of her demos. “I just feel it went from zero to one-hundred in no time,” she laughs. “It was just a shock to me. I was so beyond proud and happy.”

Niklas Adrian Vindelev SCAN EEEGEE 61

Sharing a string of direct and striking singles, Future Classic released eee gee’s bombastic debut record Winning in 2022. She started 2023 with a sold out show at Copenhagen’s Vega venue, but not before a trip to Groningen in the Netherlands for Eurosonic Noorderslag. “It’s funny with that show,” she says. “That show really turned out to be a huge milestone for our live shows, and we had no idea. It was a really good lesson. You never know what show you’re gonna end up playing.”

Only eee gee’s sixth ever gig, they took festival attendants by surprise becoming one of the most booked artists off the back of their performance. The European Talent programme ESNS Exchange aims to facilitate the unrestricted global circulation of creative European musical talent. For eee gee, it was nothing short of a success. “We got the email saying we were one of the acts who’d been booked for the most shows this year,” says Grankvist. “It was just an amazing show and it really motivates us to take the long trips.”

Their show at Eurosonic came less than twenty-four-hours before their hometown headline. “We were like, this is our most important show ever and we have to do this annoying show first. And then Eurosonic turned out to just open the entire summer for us outside Denmark,” she laughs.

From their summer of playing live, eee gee have experienced some incredible moments, none more so than their performance at Lowlands Festival back in the Netherlands. “We played in this small tent, I think the capacity was five or six hundred, and it was packed. I don’t think anyone knew the music, I just think the Dutch were really good at browsing and then they all stayed. After that we could see our numbers on streams, the Netherlands came into our top five,” she says. “Sometimes you can go out and play live and the audience will find you and fall in love with the music if you put your heart and soul into it.”

Eee Gee tours Europe from February 2024 onwards, with a London show at Lafayette on 19 April; full dates over at Who will be the next act with such a success story at ESNS 2024? Check the full lineup.

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