The Swedish artist, songwriter and producer KELAA grew up in a musical family with traditional folkmusic from the Kurdish regions of eastern Turkey. While touring and taking the stage on the live folkmusic scene together with her sisters she also completed a masters degree in biochemistry, but her desire to release music for her own project could no longer be held back as she participated in the programme, ‘Who can become a producer?’ Swedish pop star Robyn and Popkollo created the latter with the purpose to create a safe space for female and transgender music producers to make music and to change the outdated view that a music producer always is a man.
Despite being totally new to the popmusic scene KELAA’s first single Good Things which she releases through her own label MMW Music gained great attention.
When words aren’t enough, KELAA’s obsession with creating memorable and catchy melodies entices the listener further into her personal narrative. Her sophomore single, Serefe, addresses the desperation and pain in having to deal with the final separation from a loved one. “It is written for everyone who doesn’t want to let go of the person they’ve lost, sometimes you just can’t accept such a blunt reality of someone being gone”.
First and foremost, KELAA sees herself as a creator and wants to put out her work without compromising her artistic integrity. As a contrast to the straight forward and dark storytelling, she juxtaposes it against light-hearted melodies and production to bring a sense of balance. Her main epitaph is that everything is going to be alright, even at times when we are standing at the edge. Aside from her work in her studio, KELAA is motivating and teaching female and transgender creators about music production.
Speaking to the motivation behind Serefe, KELAA shares: Serefe is the Turkish word equivalent of cheers. When you drink in honour of someone or something, you say Serefe. Serefe is about the desperation and pain in having to deal with the crisis that follows losing someone you loved deeply. It is about longing to drink and laugh together, to a point where you try to find rituals and strange ways to reconnect with the person who you’ll never meet in physical life again. It is written for everyone who doesn’t want to let go of the person they’ve lost- sometimes you just can’t accept such a blunt reality of someone being gone forever. It makes you vulnerable and small and you are ready to do anything to escape the feeling of loss.
The inspiration behind this song is someone very close to me, whom I lost last year. He was a survivor of war and had been through unimaginable loss himself, but he never lost his hope in life and humanity. He inspired me because he had the patience of a saint and was at peace with death. “While there is life there is hope” was something he often said. And that is a message I want to give with this song too. Suffering is hard, but it can be beautiful at the same time, as you honor those you love. Time will pass and you will get stronger. That is worth celebrating!