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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Rakel

Behind ‘August’

Just over a month ago, I released my single ‘August’. Despite it being released in 2018, I actually wrote the song on a warm June day, back in 2016. It was the day after my self-made bachelor graduation (I finished my studies online, so I threw my own ceremony). At the time I lived in Copenhagen, and as I sat on my terrace, my friend next to me started playing electronic music. There was a particular beat that just inspired a lot of lyrics and a melody. So, while we sat in the afternoon sun, sipping gin and tonics, ‘August’ came to life.

My father has often asked me if I can write a happy song. I don’t really get inspired by the feeling of happiness to be honest. Whenever I’m doing well, I journal less, and overall write less. If something comes and ruins that state, the lyrics come tumbling out. August however, is a slight departure from that mentality, and a far cry from the songs on my EP.

During one of my many facetime sessions with my long-time music partner Mette Damm, she said something interesting; “it’s not that we’re scared of the dark, we’re just not there any longer”. Every song on the EP ‘Soaked’ has an element of sadness to it. Even though the EP was first released in November 2017, far after ‘August’ was written, the songs on there had existed long before ‘August’. In a sense, they had the right of way. It wouldn’t have made sense for me to come out with ‘August’ first, or any other songs written after that. The songs on the EP, signalled the birth of my music career, and it was a chapter in my life that needed to be told. When that EP had its release, it was as if a weight lifted off of my shoulders; like the cover of a book closed, and I became free to move on with the next chapter of my life.

Photo by Lauren Conley

‘August’ is about that intoxicating feeling you get when you have a crush on someone. It’s about that state of anxiety where you’re not sure if it will develop into more. I loved writing ‘August’ and watching it come to life in production, because it’s so innocent. There’s no catch, it just is what it is.

It was important to me that the visuals for ‘August’ stayed in line with the simplicity of the lyrical content and production. In the music video, I didn’t wear any foundation. Only on the second shoot did I wear some CC cream, but there are no face shots from that day anyway. In the shot where I’m dragging my hands through the tall grass, you can see the jewellery I’m wearing. The small gold ring with a purple stone in it, is my grandma’s wedding ring. The diamond fell out many years ago, and when I graduated with my bachelor, the ring was her present to me. Knowing purple is my favourite colour, she had a purple stone put in. On the inside of the ring, my grandpa’s name is engraved and their wedding date. The top bracelet has ‘I am enough’ engraved in it, a daily sentence I say to myself, and the bottom bracelet is a present from my parents. My nails were painted lavender as a nod to my favourite purple hue, and this blog (the lavender row).

The video location was in Green Park, London, and was shot with just one camera. No super fancy set up – it was just me walking towards the videographer, Viktor Rödlix, as he held the camera and Karin (Viktor’s girlfriend, and my good friend) watched over our bags. It was a simple set up, and I think the simplicity translated beautifully onto camera. Lauren, my other good friend, took the photos for the cover. Though an avid photographer, this was the first time she was photographing a person. It was also my first time not being in full control of the visual content – I usually have my camera on a tripod, and a timer on so that I can run back into position before the camera snaps. It felt very luxurious to have other people shoot the visuals for me!

where 'August' was recorded

With ‘August’ I had the chance to collaborate with other creative individuals, and let go of the creative control a little; and that’s what made it so fun. Mette also just immediately understood what I wanted the production to sound like; lush and summery. The piano you hear in the song, is the small brown piano Mette and I sit at, when we meet for our sessions. So that element of the song is deeply personal, because that piano has been there from the very start of our collaboration. Anyone who follows me on social media will have seen small snippets of when Mette and I sitting by the piano, creating songs.

‘August’ made it onto five Spotify playlists: New music Friday Denmark, New Music Friday Iceland, New & Cosy, New Talent and Denmark Viral 50. To date it’s been played over 5700 times. Considering no song on the EP was played over 1000 times, I am massively proud of these results. Unfortunately, the big radio channels are hard to get through to, as have the major publications, but I still feel like I’ve made a lot of progress in my career with this song.

Mette and I are continuing to create songs, with two more singles coming out later this year. One will have its release September 7th - the day after my show in Copenhagen at Studenterhuset September 6th. And the other a little later in autumn. ‘August’ feels like a breath of fresh air; it’s positively influenced my song writing; and I can’t wait to show everyone the songs yet to come <3

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