From the time Swedish singer-songwriter and producer Pauline Skott, who performs as Skott, was just a kid, music always drew her deepest fascination. By the time she was 13, she was already experimenting with production, one day hoping to compose tracks for video game.
“Then when I got older, I got a piano, and I started to explore my voice as well,” Skott said. “And that’s also when I started to listen to more pop-rock and got inspired by that.”
Flash-forward more than a decade to June 26, when Pauline Skott released her debut LP, Always Live For Always. The album was finished while she was home during the earlier stages of the pandemic. As the entire world was being toppled, she found herself living out both an “unbelievable dream” of being a professional artist, but through one of her wildest weeks ever.
“I was on the start of a mini tour,” Skott said. “A few things got canceled, but nothing had happened really yet. And then it started to get strange, and things started to escalate really fast.”
Skott and her band were scheduled to perform at the two-day Viva Latino music festival in Mexico City. She and her visuals designer were able to fly from Europe for the performance, but with airlines beginning to shut down amid coronavirus concerns, her band and the rest of the crew were unable to make it out, putting Skott and her designer in a frenzy.
“I really didn’t want to not perform, so at the hotel room we completely changed the sets,” Skott said.
With the designer now a DJ, the two pulled up tracks of her band playing live on a laptop that had already crashed multiple times before she even walked onto the stage, she said.
“When I was about to go up on stage, I knew it was going to be maybe a 50 or 40 percent chance that the computer would crash, and then I would be standing there alone on stage with no music, even,” she said. “So I was extremely nervous.
She let the audience know of her precarious situation in advance, but as luck would have it, the show was an overall success. But the stress and tension didn’t stop there.
“Then I almost didn’t get home after that,” Skott said. “When I went to the plane I wasn’t allowed on board because it was passing through the States, which shut the border. And it was really strange, no one knew what was going on, so there was kind of this panic at the airport.”
Skott ended up running around the airport, looking for someone who could help. One by one, agents would shake their heads “no” with the same result: All flights to Europe were canceled. She had friends ready to come get pick her up if she’d make it the U.S. but no further.
“There was kind of this panic mode because we didn’t know if we could leave Mexico for a month or two, or half a year,” she said.
After scrambling for the next 48 hours, she was able to scrounge up an exceedingly rare ticket back to Sweden.
“It was crazy—just really, really strange times, and nothing you would ever expect to happen,” she said.
Pauline Skott is happy to be home, and even more so that she was able to put the finishing touches on Always Live For Always, where she shows off her electro-pop flare with songs like “My Name” and “Talk About Me.”
Even though the album carries a part of her old self within its sound and lyrics, it also reflects a new identity that she has been unlocking, she said.
“Now, I’m also playing with the upfront lyrics, with a very clear way of communicating,” she said. “I also love going back to the more innocent, dreamy way of writing, as well. I’d like to think I’m not changing the foundation, really.”
She grew up shy used to be more comfortable working behind the scenes. In there beginning, she’d signed with a publisher to write for others.
“I thought that was a great idea; I got to be in the background and just be creative and be comfortable in a studio,” she said.
But she quickly learned that writing for others meant that her own creation would eventually get twisted and reconfigured to fit someone else’s style, a part of the job that she found absolutely cringeworthy. The only way to change that would be to record and release her own songs. While she has no idea when she may play in front of people again, Skott is already planning her next collection of songs.
“Now it’s very obvious that I’m supposed to make music for myself and perform it to an audience,” Skott said. “I absolutely love that.”
Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.