On January 24, Estonian electronic-pop act NOËP and British rising star Chinchilla premiered their new song ‘Fk This Up’ at the gala show of the Estonian Music Awards 2019. Culture.ee now sheds a little bit of light on who is this ‘powerhouse of a lady’ called Chinchilla.
You recently completed a new single ‘Fk This Up’ with NOËP and performed it for the first time in front of the audience at the Estonian Music Awards show. How was it?
It was an extraordinary experience, what better way to test a new song out than on a crowd that big and supportive?! It was an epic night, NOËP and I had a great time and the performance and song seemed to go down well, fortunately!
How did you discover NOËP and how did the collaboration between you two start?
We met on a songwriting camp in London, by chance we were put into the same group together and began writing for NOËP. He played us some of his music which I loved so it was easy to get into a vibe and get started. I was in the room as a writer so it wasn’t until we were stuck on the chorus idea for a while that we decided to have me singing on the track.
Right now, ‘Fk This Up’ is probably one of the very few things that Estonian people know about you. If you were to describe yourself as a musician to someone who doesn’t know anything about you what would you say?
Well, I’m 22 and an Urban Pop artist from London. I’m massively inspired by female empowerment and big powerful female artists have always been huge influences of mine; from Janis Joplin to Amy Winehouse to Queen Bey! I write and produce most of my stuff and basically make sassy, feisty, empowering tunes that you’d put on when you need to feel BOSS.
You are working on your debut release right now, tell us a bit more about that.
It’s called ‘Elements’, I wrote and produced it all myself and I’m proud of that. For me, this song is all about female empowerment. It’s an upbeat, attitudey, solidarity song about three of my best friends; the girls I hung out with most growing up, and the individuality of them all and different aspects that make them incredible and fierce. It’s basically my favourite song I’ve ever written and with the messages behind it, it had to be my first single … can’t wait to release it on March 15th!
How does your creative process look like?
It depends if I’m writing by myself or co-writing with others, but usually I’ll start with a lyric or melody idea that I’ve come up with (in the shower or in the middle of the night recorded on my voice notes – somewhere inconvenient like that). Then I’ll make a bass line or beat to go under it and start riffing off that idea to create a concept for the song and section. I don’t have any set rules of writing the chorus first or verse last or writing it all to piano etc. I’m sure that works for some but for me, I like seeing where the song takes you naturally. I think production choices can really shape a song – so producing as I go along, adding bits of manipulated vocal as countermelodies etc and just seeing what happens and where it takes me – that is my favourite way to do it.
Who are your musical influences?
As I mentioned before, I grew up listening to massive female vocalists like Christina Aguilera, Tracy Chapman, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Amy Winehouse, as well as girl-bands like Atomic Kitten, Sugababes, and more recently I’m loving Little Mix. I then started to love Rihanna, and biggest of all – Beyoncé. I listen to a lot of different music, from Classic FM in the car to Radio 1 Xtra. I think you can really be inspired by anything. I love artists like Kendrick, Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Prince, MJ, definitely Mark Ronson. I could go on …
You are from London. Have the vibes of London influenced you as well?
It’s hard to say because I’ve lived here all my life so I don’t know how I’d be if I hadn’t. But I think London is a cool place to grow up and it’s inspiring, there’s a vibe of motivation and acceptance. There are so many cool characters here, people who wear and do whatever quirky stuff they want, so it definitely pushes you to be the best (and most extra) you can be – otherwise you’ve got no chance of getting noticed amongst the masses of talent here.
Have you discovered any recent phenomena in music that you are particularly interested in and that you would like to try out yourself in the future?
This is always changing for me, at the moment I’m really into Billie Eilish and James Blake’s new album. I love how they’ve changed things up. In terms of trying things out in future – I’m always inspired by artists from past and present and influenced by them but I wouldn’t ever directly copy anyone, it’s always more interesting to start a new trend yourself!
Can you briefly summarize what needs to be in music for it to sound ‘right’ for you?
I think all it needs is to be different or special in some way. I never think of music as being ‘right or wrong’ but some stuff is more to my taste than others sometimes and what grabs my attention is something quirky and different from what everyone else is doing.
What album or song have you listened the most during your lifetime?
Probably Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’. That album was a total game changer for me, and the closest to my heart.
What’s your favourite sound?
Anything with strength behind it and a beat which you can’t not move to.