Credit to Interscope
The first time Miriam Bryant ever tried her hand at songwriting, the, 22-year-old Swedish singer ended up creating a hit single. Called “Finders, Keepers,” the sweeping and soulful track showcased Bryant’s masterly vocals and spent more than 20 weeks on the Top 100 chart in Germany following its autumn 2012 release. Soon enough, Bryant’s powerful vocal work and passionate lyrics caught the attention of multi-platinum artist Zedd, who partnered with Bryant on a larger-than-life version of “Push Play” (a moody but shimmering song featured on her debut Scandinavian release Raised in Rain). With “Push Play” platinum in her homeland—and dozens of sold-out European shows under her belt—Bryant is now set to take over American audiences with her stunning debut EP for Interscope Records.
Both edgy and elegant, Push Play announces Bryant as a dynamic new force in the world of soul-inspired songstresses. Created in collaboration with her longtime friend and newly found songwriting partner—composer/producer/engineer Victor Rådström—the EP supercharges its soaring arrangements with high-drama strings and piano-driven melodies. And while Push Play also boasts plenty of hypnotic electro effects, Bryant’s boldly confessional lyrics and urgent yet dreamy vocal delivery stand as the centerpiece of each song.
Throughout Push Play, Bryant’s smoldering vocals twist heartbreak into something gorgeous and glorious like a classic soul diva. From “Raised in Rain” (a brooding piano ballad laced with sorrowful lyrics about “tired eyes and dirty minds, chasing what we left behind”) to “Alone Isn’t Lonely” (a slow-burning, beat-powered number revealing Bryant’s incredible range) to “Bleeding Out” (an irresistible tribute to romantic self-destruction featuring girl-group-like harmonies), she upholds a raw emotionalism that’s endlessly captivating. Built on heady synth, thundering beats, and barbed lyrics like “You paint it black upon the whitest lies,” Push Play’s title track seamlessly swirls together pain and redemption. And with its graceful swell of strings, haunting imagery (“Breaking waves, changing names, crashing crystal ashtrays”), and vocals that veer from tender to growling, “Finders, Keepers” emerges as a supremely soul-stirring epic.
For Bryant, honing in on heartache was key to her quick mastery of the songwriting process. “I usually get in the mood to write when I’m feeling angry or sad or heartbroken, and I just put all those feelings directly into the song,” she says. Although she’d written poetry for years, Bryant never attempted lyrics until Rådström approached her about teaming up on songwriting for a school project in late 2011. “At first I was very scared about trying to write a song for the first time,” says Bryant. “But it ended up feeling so natural, and it didn’t take me long to feel really comfortable with it.”
Despite her inexperience with songwriting, Bryant is proud to point out that she “could sing before I could talk.” Growing up as the daughter of a baker and a teacher in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, she fantasized about a career in music from a very early age. “My sister and I used to perform at home all the time, bouncing around in front of our parents during the commercial breaks when we were all watching TV,” she says. Still, Bryant suffered from stage fright that kept her from singing in front of her music class. Eventually overcoming her shyness, at age nine Bryant enrolled at a school that dedicated an hour a day to choir lessons. “The opera in Gothenburg used to borrow kids from my school,” she explains. “The first time I had a solo performance I was 10-years-old, and I was up there singing a song about a dead cat,” she adds with a laugh.
After graduating, Bryant spent a couple years studying and working in musical theater, an art form whose grandiose scope and intricate arrangements she regards as a major inspiration on her own music. But once she joined forces with Rådström, Bryant’s career gained unforeseen momentum. “We wrote ‘Finders, Keepers’ in a day, and then came up with two more songs that same weekend,” she says. “Sometimes we’d have just a track and no melody, other times I’d have a stack of lyrics that I’d go through and piece together. It’s like a little puzzle every time we write.” Creating an entire album’s worth of material in just four songwriting sessions, the duo soon recorded Raised in Rain (an album released through Bryant’s deal with a subsidiary of EMI). Along with earning considerable critical acclaim, her songs soon went on to rack up more than 14 million plays on Spotify in Scandinavia alone.
While her music obsessions range from the avant-pop of Lady Gaga to the orchestral indie-folk of Bon Iver to the electro-infused neo-soul of Florence + the Machine, Bryant makes no attempt to tap into any particular influence when dreaming up new songs. “I have lots of stories to tell, and the most important thing to me is to tell them in a way that’s honest and true to myself,” she says. Now gearing up for a late-autumn tour of German—and diving into the songwriting for her first full-length album for Interscope—Bryant notes that performing her intensely personal songs live is one of the greatest thrills of her music career so far. “I love letting go of all those demons onstage and making some kind of connection with the people in the crowd,” she says. “Even if I’m singing about something that happened ages ago, and I’m completely over it now, getting to share that feeling with even just one person in the audience always feels so special to me.”
Credit to Interscope
We will have a featured interview with Miriam next month so stay tune! Until then continue following her success as she continues to dominate the music industry. Download her EP “Push Play“