Introducing: Susanna Levin

This week we’ve talked to Susanna Levin, a young artist living in Gothenburg, Sweden. Read more about who she is what her song ‘Breathing Underwater’ is about:

Who is Susanna Levin?
I was gonna say that I’m just a normal girl, but that didn’t seem quite right, I can be pretty weird. Susanna Levin is a weird girl living a normal life. I am both outgoing and extremely shy, I oscillate between cocky and insecure. I would never hurt a fly, I’m a Mama’s girl and I sing everywhere except the shower.

How old are you and where are you originally from?
I’m turning 23 in April! And I’m from Gothenburg Sweden.

What is your musical background and when did you start with music?
I wish I could say that I have been into music since I was a toddler, that I played drums on pots and pans and that it has been my passion all my whole life, but to be honest I only started to sing when I was sixteen and had to pick a direction in high school. After that people started telling me I was pretty good. It was about one year ago that I finally discovered who I wanted to be as an artist and as a singer, after that I just couldn’t shut up.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! A lot of people inspire me. When it comes to singers I really look up to Lana Del Rey (surprise!) and watching other artists and bands live really gets me going. For example this weekend I was at P3 Gold (a Swedish music-award show) and I saw new artists that I haven’t heard before, like Seinabo Sey! When I woke up the next morning I just had to make music. I love when I wake up with the feeling that creativity just leaks from me.

Where does your single “Breathing Underwater” come from and what is it really about?
In August 2013 I moved out of my Mother’s apartment and into my own. While I was looking for a job I was very lonely. I had recently been through a lot of stuff that made me very insecure. To understand a couple of things that had happened to both me and my Mother, I really tried looking at things from other angles and I didn’t know how to do that, besides writing and singing about it. A lot of people have probably been through infidelity and have been cheated on but I honestly wonder how it feels for that other person that falls in love with someone that already has someone. So ‘Breathing Underwater’ is about falling in love when the person you love also loves someone else, just as much.

What’s ahead? Any live shows or new releases coming up?
When I make music, it’s just me and my computer and my microphone in my living-room, I don’t play any instruments so it’s hard performing my own songs live, but it’s a dream! People don’t know who I am yet, but I’m hoping they will find out soon. I’m currently producing tracks with my boyfriend, Elias A. Bolander and have made 5-6 other songs that will be on my first album, with my 2 singles.

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5 Things To Consider When Recruiting A New Band Member

Relationship’s are difficult enough to maintain with just one other person, add a few more into the mix, each with a conflicting artistic vision for something that means the world to them, it’s no wonder that not all bands stay together forever. Not forgetting the fact that talented musicians are at a premium, so people’s heads may get turned by other opportunities. Here are some things to remember when looking for a new band member.

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Scout Oscar Larsson: Don’t underestimate professionalism

You have made a kick-ass single and are about to release it to the masses. Your dream is to make the big-time and to have a career doing what you love to do. But on the road to success, you have got to make it past the first step: getting the listeners, A&Rs and/or talent scouts attention!

We’re living in a time when there is more music than ever before. We’re also living in a time when it is easier than ever to reach out to the masses, which is great news for you as a struggling musician. Except that it’s just as easy for basically every other struggling musician. How do you cut through the static? How do you get people interested in your music?

The important first impression that comes before the public even hear your music and that is the visual impression. Of course this is not always true; listeners exploring new music and talent scouts who are looking for the next big thing sometimes stumble upon an artist who doesn’t look like they have much to offer, but they are just amazing. I’m talking about enhancing the possibility that the ‘right’ person gets interested in your music, or put in other words: creating your own luck!

For that, one of the most important tools to use for getting in front of the line is the visual material; cover art, artist pics, logotype, music videos etc. If these things are done professionally, your profile will be the one that the listener or talent scout stops at. However, if it’s unprofessional (for example a blurry iPhone pic as cover art), it may drag down the first impression.

I understand that not everyone has the money to spend on a professional graphic designer or a photographer, but if that is the case, just keep it simple! No need to aim at that super-cool picture where it looks like you are holding the devil in one hand and the earth in the other and there is fire in your eyes (you see what i’m getting at). Plain and simple might not say it all, but at least looks professional.

Another easy way to make a better first impression is to always keep a professional tone when communicating to listeners and other recipients. When you put your music online, it’s often on a profile (on Spinnup, Soundcloud etc.) where you can have an image and also describe yourself as an artist. This is actually a great opportunity to show how professional and serious you really are with your music, which truly makes a difference in the minds of possible fans, talent scouts and other music professionals.

Now I’m sure these all sound like obvious things to many of you but I believe it’s too easily forgotten when you are focusing on your music. It’s too often you see a good artist who hasn’t got these things together. It’s a shame since it really is a deadly weapon that a struggling artist has to fend off his/her/their competitors with!

Scout: Oscar Larsson

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Artist Management – Decoded

As an emerging musician with ambition you will have researched, read and asked around about how it happened for other people. This means you will be familiar with the need of artists to have managers. This bond can take many different shapes, almost essentially so. Just as every marriage and friendship is different, so is the artist-manager bond as well. But how does somebody become your manager? You just ask the local bar owner, he gets you to sign a napkin and now he owns your caravan? No.

Make sure that when you are on the look out for a manager you actually need one. Looking for one too early could be vanity or procrastination or just not knowing, but get on with the first part of your career yourself and don’t rush anything. At the very beginning what is there that a manager can really do? You can manage writing your songs and posting on Facebook by yourself.

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Intellectual property – Decoded

You make music – congratulations you are now intimately connected with and a part of the world that lawyers call ‘Intellectual Property’! Didn’t realise that? Well you are. And that is a good thing. Allow us to explain.

What is intellectual property? According to no less authority than the World Intellectual Property Organization:

“Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.”

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Building A Fanbase – Decoded

“How should I treat my fans?” is a wonderful question to have to ask yourself. Fans are what make you possible as an artist. The label, producer, manager or tour bus driver, all they do is help you and your fans access each other. So how do you get fans? When you have them how do you keep them?

In this short guide we are going to ignore solutions as simple as ‘Be awesome at music’ and for the sake of argument are going to presume that you are. In fact we’re sure you are. No the key to building a fanbase comes down to one word, and that word is ‘Engagement’.

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Social Media – Decoded

Social media has changed the way that artists promote themselves – in today’s world you can build a fanbase in your bedroom wearing nothing but your pants. In the past there were never the same opportunities for connecting with fans whereas now, when used correctly, social media can be very powerful in helping to spread the word about your music. It is an essential tool for all artists, from the very newest to the biggest and most famous in the world, so here’s what to bear in mind when establishing your social media strategy.

The key word to remember is ‘social’: it is called social media, not self-promotion media. This does not mean that you must never self-promote, rather always remember that you must be social. Try not just to inform people of gigs you are doing or things you have for sale, people will soon tire of having you endlessly trying to sell them things if you are not also giving a sense of yourself. Don’t overdo the retweeting, especially when it is from other people praising you – this only comes across as either being conceited or insecure or both. Ignore people when they are trolling you, they are not worth it. It never looks good to engage in a war of tweets and it shows that they have gotten to you. And it’s never advisable to be hateful on any form of social media, that will only make people dislike rather than admire you. It’s the kind of attention that never works out well for anyone.

What people want from any artist on social media, and the reason it has been exploding, is the sense of their idol’s personality it shows. If you post images or videos that you like you are giving people the opportunity to enjoy something you think is beautiful. People will appreciate the chance to discover something new and remember you for introducing them to it. They may even try and start a dialogue with you or listen to your music on the strength of you recommendation. Be active, honest and friendly, just as you would be in real life.


As well as using Spinnup to publish your music online on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other digital stores you may also want to think about what you make available on services like YouTube or SoundCloud. You want to be showcasing your music wherever fans go. And make sure you regularly publish new music so there’s a great representation of what you are out there online so people can find you and listen to your music when they are looking for you.

Finally make sure all your profiles look clean and professional and have consistent names. Maybe use different variants on your logo for different banners and backgrounds. The more professional your pages look, the more pleasing they are to visit. The first impression many people get from you is going to be your internet presence, so make sure it’s the best one you can possibly give.

Social Media is just one of the things it’s important for a new artist to keep a close eye on. Here are 5 things every unsigned artist can change so don’t worry too much about.

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Drums live set

Publishing Deals – Decoded

The most famous and attractive part of signing a publishing deal is getting an advance then buying cake, shoes and a new house for your Mum. However, a publishing deal means far more than just the advance. Allow us to explain.

Your songs legally become yours the moment you record them to any device or write them down, essentially the moment there is proof that the song came out of your brain (or brains) first. This is how easy it is to copyright your songs. And if more than one person wrote the song then the copyright is split between everyone who was involved in the writing, and it’s up to those involved to agree what the split should be.

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