Quite recently there was an interview with the Swedish/Greek author Teodor Kallifatides in Swedish television. He said something in the line of being lucky being a foreigner writing in Swedish because then he isn’t that emotionally attached to the Swedish words. As if since one hasn’t grown up with the emotional significance of a word it would be easier to use it. This thought has remained with me now for, I don’t know, maybe a couple of weeks, while I’ve been pondering my own usage of languages, my lyrics and my emotional attachments to words. Could that be the reason why it’s so hard for me to write lyrics in Swedish? I doubt it would be the whole truth actually, but the more I think about it the more it intrigues me.
With English I feel like I have just the right level of emotional attachment. I can write lyrics and I can sing them. In Swedish it’s very hard to write lyrics and even more difficult to sing them. As I often write about painful things I tend to cry instead of singing whenever I manage to put words to them in Swedish. Perhaps the other language helps me to distance myself just enough? It doesn’t work always though… There are some songs I’d never sing at a concert. I just don’t know if I can.
I have tried to sing in other languages too. I did some collaborations in hindi for example, but there on the other hand I felt completely emotionally detached, blind if you will, which is kind of scary to be honest. There is another song we sing in Russian in concert sometimes and even if I know what it is about, I’m still bind.
Lately I’ve experimented a little with my third language; Spanish. But I still feel a little emotionally detached. It’s like I doubt the words. I think I know the meaning, but I can’t feel the exact shade or weight of emotion in the words. However, I just might keep trying and see what happens. I don’t even know if I’d like to sing in Spanish and if my voice could work. That is another aspect that intrigues me. How the voice becomes so different depending on which language I choose and how much time and practice is needed to figure out just how to get your own personal style in each.