“Fuck, this should have been my year.”
During 2019, Greta really started to take off as a solo artist. At the turn of the year, her forthcoming schedule looked amazing. There were performances at SPOT Festival and the Roskilde Festival, and a tour with the Faroese singer-songwriter Teitur - you name it.
Like so much else in 2020, all the performances were cancelled just a few months into the new year. Her joy was ousted by worry about whether all the hard work she had put into making a name for herself was now wasted. But that was not the case. On the contrary.
“At the time, I was thinking:’ Fuck, this should have been my year. What do I do now?’ But luckily things turned out well anyway. I’ve had a lot of media coverage. I also feel that people needed music even more at this time – especially during the lockdown when I released my Wild and Young EP. Art kind of helped people get through it all. It made me feel that releasing the recording really meant something.”
Thoughtfulness is a recurring feature in Greta’s texts, which tackle everything from life and death to human changeability. But she stresses that there are several layers, so it is up to the listener to decide how sad or light-hearted the music is. A single song can delve into profound, existential thoughts or simply create a delightful atmosphere.
“One of the most important things in life is to do things you can remember. I hope people do that while listening to my songs. To dream away to them and travel into space with me. To feel like dancing to the music in their living room or playing it in the morning to get the day off to a great start. They’re my absolute goals,” says Greta.
Although 28-year-old Greta Schenk didn’t actually experience the 1980s, that decade pervades both her look and her sound. We met up with the Danish-German pop musician for a chat about disco, freedom and making a breakthrough as an artist at a time when nothing is normal.
“Before a show, I often think: ‘What are you doing? Run far away right now! This is far too dangerous.’ But I’ve always had an urge to do it,” says Greta Schenk.
The 28-year-old, German-born pop artist, currently working on her debut album Ardent Spring, was passionately interested in the world of music from a very early age. On the stage, she can show everything she is without any kind of filter and, although it is sometimes unnerving to step into the spotlight, every performance makes it all worthwhile.
“What turns me on about being on a stage is that I can be myself completely, both creatively and musically. It’s where I can delve into some aspects of myself that I don’t regularly show - like wildness and darkness, for instance. I get so passionate on stage, I want to envelop other people in my universe and totally forget everything else around me.”
ABBA Look and Disco Sound à la 2020
The catchy, electronic beats of Greta’s first big radio hit ‘Hydrogen’ do not sound like any other 2020s pop, but they still sound somehow recognisable. The young artist wraps her lyrics in sounds that many people will know from the disco and glam universe of the 1980s. Greta associates it with her father’s record collection in her childhood home in northern Germany.
“80s music often has a lightness to it. It’s all about party and colours and ‘just go for it’. I also love those old synthesizer sounds and the warmth and edge they have. I think they work well with my texts, which often feature some important themes. So the overall effect isn’t so heavy and serious,” says Greta.
“I also love the whole 80s visual style. Agnetha from ABBA is my biggest style icon– the hair, the shiny texture of her clothes - the lot. When I was younger, I thought a lot about having to wear what was modern and trendy. But today I feel I can do anything - anything I really want, actually.”
Moving from Germany to Denmark also played a major role in making Greta who she is today – both as a person and as an artist. Her childhood in the small German town of Husum taught her discipline and diligence - but it was in Denmark that she found the freedom to follow her dream.
“Both countries have meant a lot in terms of who I am. In Germany, I tended to put things in boxes. But when I came to Denmark, I soon felt I could express myself creatively without so much pressure. This is where I became the artist I am today. I don’t know if I would have taken the same path if I’d stayed in Germany. I don’t think so, actually.”
WHO? Greta Louise Schenk, 28 years old, musician, songwriter, and composer. Formerly part of the groups Ida Red and Who Is Louis, but now a solo artist under the name of GRETA.
WHERE? Grew up in the northern German town of Husum but moved to Denmark in 2011 to study in Esbjerg. Currently lives in Copenhagen.
WHAT? 80s-inspired synth-pop with dreamy, spacy elements. Currently releasing her debut album, Ardent Spring.
“Agnetha from ABBA is my biggest style icon”
Be inspired by Greta