Born and raised in the Hackney neighborhood of North London, 22-year-old Szjerdene (pronounced JhurDEEN) has quietly commanded the attention of music lovers, journalists and artists.
Citing Mariah Carey as her sole childhood inspiration, Szjerdene credits the superstar with introducing her to a life-long love of music. “I listened to her most of my childhood,” she reveals, “I didn’t care for anyone else really. I was aware that others existed but my early influences came from classic albums such as Music Box.”
But as Szjerdene’s musical taste evolved past pop, she found herself immersed into the world of jazz. “I fell in love with Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, and Dusty Springfield” she shares. Equally important were her fellow UK songstresses like Corrine Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse. This mix of modern pop influences combined with yesteryear blues/jazz illustrates Szjerdene’s eclectic sound. “It’s old, but fresh…Very pure vocals and honest lyrical content”.
This purity is easily understood when Szjerdene divulges what inspires her the most: “Sounds, light, colours, space, time, nature, and silence. I enjoy nothingness—it’s just as important as sound. People take silence for granted.”
After graduating in 2010 from the University of Westminster with a degree in Commercial Music Performance, Szjerdene walked away with one important realization: “There are formulas for being a pop star,” she divulges, “if you follow the criteria you’ll do okay. But I learned that it’s not the route for me. I respect those who choose it; but I would rather write my own material, and collaborate with artists spanning different genres/languages while making music that’s not always conventional to the commercial ear”.
And that’s exactly what Szjerdene set out to do when she reached out to Robin Hannibal of the Danish duo Quadron (Plug Research Music) to join forces. Having already been familiar with her work through members of the Boom Clap Bachelors collective, Hannibal was eager to work with the talented songstress. “She has ‘it’” he says of Szjerdene. “She isn’t the typical R&B singer. The way she phrases over a melody or chords…her voice dances like a feather in the wind”.
After breezing through two tracks together (the forthcoming “Lead the Way” and “If 6 was 8”), Hannibal introduced his Plug Research Music family to Szjerdene and the rest is, as they say, history. Szjerdene is currently working on her first official album release which she says will be “Conceptual, folk inspired, electronically manipulated, but pure sounds and vocals–A spectrum of my abilities in songwriting and arranging”.
With Szjerdene’s natural talent, global influences, and innovative sound – she’s not only gearing up for an impressive debut album – she’s out to redefine the formula for stardom. /www.szjerdene.com
Written By Aliya Ewing
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