Swedish artist SHY Martin returns to her roots with the pensive "Are you happy?", written just a few weeks ago, it's the final track to be taken from her sombre second EP.
The moniker of songwriter Sara Hjellström, SHY Martin's sad songs follow the lead of the greatest sad songs of all time, on the surface, they're cheery and at times push towards euphoric sonic climaxes, but their lyrics and messages are of lost loves, heartbreak and Hjellström's own struggles with mental health.
At this point it's clear that Hjellström can turn her songwriting prowess to any topic of her choice. Her credits with other artists alone cement this. When she's not focused on the SHY Martin project Hjellström can be found creating perfect pop songs for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne and Bebe Rexha.
"Are you happy?" sees everything come full circle. Last year's "Make us never happen" kickstarted this new era and Hjellström expalains "["Are you happy?" almost feels like a second part to "Make us never happen" which is the first song on the EP, so for me "Happy" feels like the perfect way to end it... the song is about looking back at an old relationship appreciating that it happened even though it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. The ending of one relationship is often the start of a new one."
We caught up with Martin to find out more about her thoughts around the new EP and how "Are you happy?" came to life.
We originally wrote it as a song to be pitched to other artists and I actually didn’t even sing on the demo version. After having lived with the song for a few days though I completely fell in love with it. It was written together with my friends Kristin Carpenter and Rasmus Budny, a few weeks ago in Stockholm. I remember the song coming out pretty easily. It was never a struggle, as it can be from time to time writing songs.
"Nobody likes moving on" was written two years ago now, but I didn’t know back then it would form part of an EP. All the other songs were written more recently in Sweden over the past year or so with different constellations of people I love working with. I feel like creating the EP has been a whole journey of becoming more honest in my lyrics, and it’s really helped me to open up about things and share a side of myself I hadn’t before now. Being genuine and honest with my music is super important to me and something I’m always striving to become better at.
I personally think my first EP Overthinking was more experimental. The soundscapes and genre of each song differed a bit more from each other. With this EP I really wanted to go back to how I wrote songs at the start of my career, on just a guitar, and in different environments other than just the studio. I’ve put a lot of time and heart into the lyrics as I wanted this EP to be even more personal than the last one.
Since I had to postpone all the writing trips and touring that was planned this year I’ve had way more time in the studio than the last three years. It hasn’t necessarily been more productive though, as I get most of my inspiration from travelling and meeting people. At times I’ve honestly felt totally uninspired. But I’ve really enjoyed being here in Sweden spending time in the studio, where I also feel the most comfortable. I hope to start touring as soon as it's possible and I’ll definitely continue releasing as much music as I can.