Last August, "Sad Girl Fall" was ushered in by Snoh Aalegra. As the inverse of Megan Thee Stallion’s "Hot Girl Summer" moniker for being carefree and happy, Snoh’s second studio album Ugh, Those Feels Again put all those warm-weather flings and romances under a microscope. But Snoh's music has always examined the chemistry of love and broken it down like a periodic table.
"I'm a sad girl. I'll take that title," Snoh tells Teen Vogue. "But it's funny because I've always thought it was kind of difficult to make happy songs. But then I found myself doing a lot of happy songs on this album, like 'I Want You Around.'"
Her sophomore album was lauded by music critics, called "unusually complex", and has been named a favorite by celebs like Victoria Pedretti. Hailing from Sweden (she speaks English, Swedish, and Farsi as a child of Iranian immigrants) but having settled in Los Angeles, Snoh’s music transcends place and time by capturing the emotional state of young listeners — while also paying homage to the greats.
"I was very drawn to big vocalists when I was growing up. I'll never forget when I heard, 'I Have Nothing' by Whitney Houston," she says. "The chills that I got from that song made me want to start singing. It was this weird feeling of, 'What is this doing to me? I want to do this to people too.'"
Snoh, who was mentored by Prince three years before he died, still holds a lot of the lessons he taught her about ownership and aesthetics close to her heart.
"He was one of the first people — on his level — who told me I'm great and spoke to me like an equal when I had two songs out," she says. "[He] gave me so much confidence and I think he just made me feel like I'm good the way I am. It was like a receipt, like, okay, you're good enough to do this, don't give up. One of the biggest things he just told me was just to stay true to my artistry and not change."
Like Prince, Snoh's visuals are equally as intoxicating as her songs. When the high-art video for “Whoa” dropped last month, it was so beautifully intimate that fans suspected a real-life romance between Snoh and her costar Michael B. Jordan. And while Snoh didn’t deny or confirm any rumors, she did speak to the true meaning of the song.
"The song is like about my love for music and also the highest state of love," the singer says. "This euphoric feeling you have when you almost bouncing in slow motion. I wanted to kind of capture that. I have certain aesthetics when I'm doing my visuals; we always shoot on film. I shot this in Berlin. Michael was in Berlin."
Next is a bit more touring for Snoh. She completed seven stops last fall and plans to go back on the road in the spring. Collaborations are already in the works — she casually mentions flying back down to Miami to finish recording with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo (aka the Neptunes) — but she’s still humble.
"When I dropped this album I had a party for it in L.A., and I think I felt something at that party," Snoh says about one of her proudest moments. "I felt really happy. May not have been my proudest moment [but] I was proud of the journey. It felt like everything was worth it. You know? All the blood, sweat, and tears. I felt that. I felt like people were having a good time; the album was coming up. It was just a vibe that I won't forget. That was one of those moments."
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue