DEBRAH SCARLETT (NOR/CH)
Debrah Scarlett is the 23-year-old singer crafting an entire musical world from a sleepy Norwegian town. Taking the experience of a childhood spent traveling, Debrah makes the kind of life affirming pop music that speaks to the human condition - with all the memories, nightmares, dreams and stories that come with it.
“I think a lot of people get very confused when they ask where and when I’ve lived here and there. I’ve kind of been like a yo-yo, moving back and forth,” she says of a youth that saw her born in Switzerland in the summer of ’93, move to Norway at the turn of the millennium, back to Switzerland for her teenage years and back again to the small town of Nittedal, Norway in 2014. Daughter to a Norwegian mother and a Swiss-Italian father, Debrah felt, as she puts it, “like an alien, different from those around me,” and although she spoke several languages from a young age, never seemed to perfect any of them. “Music became my language,” she says of the time. “It enabled me to truly express myself.”
That expression is fully explored on debut EP DYS(U)TOPIA. A four track journey of reflections, not-quite-love songs, and songs such as the cooly restrained Blurry - “remembering back to loved ones, your childhood, their faces, the smells and tastes” - DYS(U)TOPIA takes the listener on the same sort of voyage as early Sia records, or Gotye at his most cathartic. From the haunting Neon Eyes - a song about a recurring dystopic nightmare that hounded Debrah in early youth - to lead single Cynical Youth - which asks “can you break the patterns society has placed on us as the ‘norm’, and live as an unfiltered human?” - it is a searching questioning listen, one that sets Debrah apart from the typical mainstream pop music currently associated with Scandinavian countries.
“My ambition is to create a world,” she says, on the eve of that lead single’s release. “And just have experience and learn from other people and other musicians. The idea that you can have a fulfilled life by doing what you love. Sounds very naive but I think that’s the goal. To try to do what you like and hopefully bring a smile or a tear on another one’s face.”