Danish singer, songwriter and producer Marie Dahlstrom teamed up with Canadian rapper Aligo and London-based producer Dan Diggas to create a 4-song EP entitled 4inARow. The vision for the EP was to experiment with sounds and concepts, spontaneously exploring emotion through song. The project came together as a musical journey through the stages of an intimate relationship. I dug a little deeper with the songstress to discover the inspiration behind the romantic theme.
Gabrielle : This EP seems to tell a story. It feels very personal. Is it?
Marie : It does tell a story, but the story is not personal. It might draw from our own feelings. However, this is a fictional story that we created in collaboration with Caleb, an illustrator from Florida, who made it come to life!
“Sparks,” the first track, is about that initial infatuation we all love to feel—the suspenseful excitement—the butterflies. Two distinct roles stand out in this song. Aligo plays the part of a man on his game, slinging words in a laid back fashion; the vibe shifts when Dahlstrom comes in on the second verse. Her lyrics portray a woman more emotionally invested with much at stake. She sings, “I’ve been waiting for a long time,” with a sultry tone that reveals readiness and vulnerability. In the second track, “Rising,” Aligo takes the verses, his words carried on Dahlstrom’s beautifully blended backgrounds. The lyrics reflect a man that has been completely taken over by what he believes to be love, unveiling a more sensitive side of himself. Dahlstrom leads in the chorus echoing his sentiments, as she sings, “I don’t wanna live in disguise no more; wanna show what I’m hidin’.” The lovers seem entangled and entwined. This song is harmonically beautiful.
Gabrielle : Wow. These songs hit home in many ways. Do you identify with the characters?
Marie : I don’t personally identify with the characters in a literal way; instead, I draw upon my emotions and memories of other scenarios or moments that could have evoked a similar reaction to fit the right emotional expression to my singing and storytelling. I find that even though something is not a true copy of my own life, if I use my empathy and ability to put myself in other people’s shoes, I can deliver the correct emotion.
And deliver emotion she does. The third track, “Fall Down,” is the first single from the project. Aligo says, “You wanted everything,” to which Dahlstrom responds, “I wanted you.” The lyrics are heartbreaking—bitterly so. Yet the smooth R&B vibe of the music is the teaspoon of sugar that helps the medicine go down. As an artist currently using music to process and overcome my own heartache, I was genuinely inspired, cut deeply and comforted at the same time. There is satisfaction and relief in the honesty of every song. That brings us to the last stage and final track of the EP, “Growth”—that bittersweet opportunity that every heartbreak presents to us all. The mood of this one is sobering. Aligo drones on with reflections of the relationship questioning the purpose of it all, “Now you hurtin’- was it still worth it?” Dahlstrom holds to a single line that she hauntingly repeats throughout the entire song, “Facing the truth, learning to let go, fearing the unknown / so who was I when it was all said and done?” Damn.
Gabrielle : How much do real life events affect the music you create?
Marie : Usually it affects my music a lot! It is what I write about 70% of the time, but lately I’ve also found other peoples stories or more general life questions really interesting to address in songs—almost like bringing in a bit of general philosophy.
Gabrielle : What brought you all together as a team?
Marie : We lived together for a year! So it was easy!
Gabrielle : I am told you all completed this project in only 4 nights! Is there anything special about that number?
Marie : Daniel had created 4 beats, and the challenge was to write to whatever we had been given, so it just got structured that way by accident, haha! But it actually worked really well.
Gabrielle : Do you feel like this project accomplished what you needed it to?
Marie : Yes, this project was an experiment, and just a reflection of how nice it is to make music and try things—and not spend ages on it sometimes. It was fun and had momentum.
Gabrielle : What do you hope people will take from this EP?
Marie : I hope that people will feel inspired to sometimes not overthink the music they create—and sometimes just go with the flow.
Wow. I have definitely gotten caught up in that as a writer and producer sometimes—so desperate to perfectly express something that no sound or lyric is ever enough. And while there are seasons for everything, a successful spontaneous project like this one is a reminder that we’re often more prepared than we think we are, and that sometimes it’s freeing to stop micromanaging the creative process and just go for it! Speaking of finding the perfect sound, I couldn’t help but notice Marie Dahlstrom just released new samples of her vocals and instrumental loops on Splice.com! Splice is a popular subscription-based website where music producers can utilize an endless treasury of royalty free samples and instrumentals for their projects. Now everyone can add a little of Dahlstrom’s unique sound to their own projects. But back to the EP in review: this collection of songs could be a very therapeutic listen for anyone going through relationship woes or processing issues of the heart. The whole album is a vibe overall and definitely worth a listen. Check out the full EP here: https://music.youtube.com/browse/MPREb_GIJmCTidm2T
Gabrielle Solange’s IG: @gabswholestory