I don't often use the word beautiful to describe pop music. Adjectives like catchy, fun and cute usually seem more appropriate but there is something undeniably gorgeous about Sally Shapiro's latest offering. Dreamy synths collide with icy electro beats on this breathtaking collection of 80s inspired pop tunes. "My Guilty Pleasure" is already a clear front runner for my album of the year. It revives and breathes new life into the Italo-disco genre with an authenticity that is startling. Fans will revel in song after song of languid pop perfection. The production is particularly exquisite and perfectly showcases the wistful tone of Sally's voice. As much as I love the music, I'm equally impressed with Sally's approach to her career. She is the anti-pop star. Instead of turning up to the opening of an envelope and desperately jumping from trend to trend like most of her contemporaries, Sally has a real job and just makes music she is passionate about on the weekends. It's scary to think what she could do if she really put her mind to it! I was lucky enough to interview Sally recently and asked her about her low key approach to pop stardom, the Annie comparisons as well as her favourite Swedish takeaway food! Check it out.
1. Sally, in the past you have said that you're not interested in being a pop star. Is it the fame that turns you off or the superficiality (or something else entirely)?
Mostly that I don't like standing on stage, and I think it's impossible being a pop star without ever standing on stage. Also I don't like travelling so much, and late work hours. Doing art for a living would probably also make me stressed since you have to create despite being inspired, and I think my inspiration would be lost then. Also, being a pop-star and doing it for a living would probably make it easy to mix up fame with self worth, and I wouldn't want that to happen. So, I prefer to have a normal job and a normal life and singing as a hobby.
2. How did you meet Johan Agebjörn? He's an amazing producer. Is it true he choose the name Sally Shapiro?
We were working at the same office back in 2001. But it took until 2004 when we discovered our common taste in 80s disco and in 2006 we started making music together. He suggested the name Sally Shapiro for the project but we chose it together.
3. "Miracle" and "Love In July" beautifully revive the sound of 80s Italo-disco. Are you a big fan of that genre?
4. Your new album is called "My Guilty Pleasure". What are some of your personal guilty pleasures?
In a lot of situations 80s disco is still a guilty pleasure for me, and many others, I think. A lot of people like it but don't want to admit it. I discovered Mylène Farmer because my roommate by accident had forgotten the CD in the CD player in the kitchen. She hadn't told anyone that she liked her.
5. What can we expect from the album? Does it sound similar to the gorgeous "Disco Romance"?
It's similar in that it's a romantic pop disco album. But the production is a bit more varied.
6. What music did you listen to growing up?
Mostly Swedish 80s pop/disco artists like Lili & Sussie, Lena Philipsson and a lot of Eurovision Song Contest songs. Later on, indie pop music.
7. Who are your favourite singers now?
Suzanne Vega, Marit Bergman and still Mylène Farmer.
8. I believe you have never performed live. Why is that?
I'm shy and I don't like standing on stage. I tried with a few DJ gigs but it felt awkward. I don't like the idea of touring so much either, I'm not into travelling and working late in the evening. I prefer to have a normal life with a normal job and the music as a hobby.
9. People often liken you to Annie, which I think is rude because you are so much better. What do you make of the comparison?
I can understand the comparison since we both have a taste for disco and we both have quite light singing voices. But there are a lot of differences, Annie is a real artist, making a living on it and performing live. I am just recording songs in the weekends sometimes. Annie is a lot more famous than I and she deserves it.
10. Your remix CDs were brilliant and I believe you're a bit of a DJ yourself. What dance songs can you recommend to us at the moment?
Sorry - one of the reasons I quit DJing is because I'm terribly bad at checking out new music...
11. You have a strong cult following around the world. Are you surprised to have fans as far away as Australia (like me)?
I'm surprised by the relative success of this project, compared to what we thought it would become - we mainly thought some disco nerds would like it. However, it seems to be mostly spread on the Internet, which is a global thing, so why not Australia.
12. Would you prefer to eat a burger from, Max or Sibylla's?
Probably a veggie burger from Sibylla. I like that small town feeling.
"My Guilty Pleasure" is released on the 25th of August and comes very, very highly recommended! Check out details about the release and score a free mp3 of the album's lead single "Miracle" on Sally's website. Check out her latest release, the sublime "Love In July", below. Surely this is the video of the year?