About a month ago, Amanda Winberg, better known by her pseudonym AMWIN, released her debut single, "Uber."
"Uber" is an unapologetic anthem about hookup culture and the struggle of guests who linger too long after the act. Her lyrics are an authentic portrayal of the (often unsaid) thoughts that bounce around our heads after a one night stand. While the language in the song feels almost punk-rock, the music is mellow, pink-tinted pop against a brutally honest backdrop, and the beat, while simple, is incredibly powerful. That said, the song sort of appeared out of nowhere, pulling AMWIN into the limelight from complete obscurity. With this in mind, we decided talk to her about her new single, her musical aspirations, and where in the world she came from in this Popdust extended interview.
Have you played in The States at all?
No. I've [only] been twice.
Did you like it?
Yeah, I did. I went to New York a couple weeks ago and I liked it a lot, so I'm coming back soon. I felt very at home. It was nice how there were so many people but it felt like everyone was very open and helpful.
It's not like that everywhere, I promise. So how'd you get started in music? What instruments did you play as a kid?
Yeah. I've always had a passion for music. It's always been my safe zone in some way but I haven't practiced music. I haven't learned how to make music. I really had no one around me growing up that was into music. I always went home from school and was on Youtube for hours and I watched music videos and I tried to learn the choreography. I just practiced because I was thinking, "When I get on that stage, I need to figure out who I want to be." I never really performed, I just knew that I loved it. I studied law in school, and when I was 18, I decided that I couldn't go through my life without giving myself a shot at doing what I love. I just knew I had to give music everything I had. I practiced for a year. I just knew that if I was [going to do this] I needed to figure out who I am.
Then, when I was 18, I applied for Swedish Idol. I just had a goal to be myself and present who I want to be as an artist and hopefully meet one person who can help me. I came in [second place]. Then, I signed with Universal when I was 19. Since then, I've been taking these two years to be in the studio for the first time and work with different producers and writers. It's been a process of getting to know myself as a grown-up, and as an artist and writer. I feel like this first single that I released as AMWIIN is the first result of that process.
For "Uber," you definitely had a producer. Did you write any of the music or did you write the lyrics?
It's been very important for me to be a part of the entire process. Even though I don't play any instruments, it's important that everything comes from me and my energy. If that means one word or all the words, that's not what's important to me. I'm very specific about what I like and who I am, and it's just important for me to be a part of [the process]. I'm there from day one.
Who are your influences? Who makes you, you?
I've been thinking about that a lot. I've never been about liking [a specific] genre. I'm really about getting a vibe. I'm inspired by artists that aren't afraid to be weird or say things that people don't normally say. [I like artists] who aren't afraid to mix different worlds and who aren't compromising their vision for anyone or anything. Someone I've been obsessed with lately is FK Twigs. I spent an entire weekend just sitting at home and watching her videos. Everything about her and the way she expresses herself, not just through music but through dance. But, I've [always] listened to different types of music. I had my grunge period when I was totally obsessed with Nirvana. When I first discovered hip-hop was when I was on Youtube when I was younger. [I liked] Lil Wayne and Missy Elliott. I've really been listening to a lot of different types of music. I feel like that's what inspires me when it comes to my own, to make music that doesn't have to fit in a box but just feels natural to me.
"You're just an uncomfortable pillow. Just fuck me then get dressed. Your Uber's outside." Not that your music is punk-rock at all, but that sounds like something a badass punk chick might say. Who's the asshole who inspired those lyrics?
It's not really about someone being an asshole. It's about me telling someone what I want. For that, the other person doesn't have to be an asshole. I think it's me being honest and upfront and saying what's on my mind. In many ways, I feel like that's more polite than just leading someone on. I'm just not about fake relationships. I'd rather be honest and then the person can do whatever they want with that information.
This is your first release ever right?
What's coming next?
You can expect more from me this year. It's a lot of different tracks and different sounds but I feel like they really fit together; they give you a view of who I am. We've had live [performance in mind] when we've been in the studio. The one thing that I love most about being an artist is being onstage and making songs come alive. We kept that in mind when making the tracks.
Are you a laid back performer or are you really crazy on stage like Billy Eilish?
She's really cool and very punk which I love. But yeah, I love to dance and I love to be in that zone. The thing about being on stage for me is that it's the only time when I can just be in the moment. I have a hard time with that otherwise.
You tour mostly in Europe?
I actually haven't had a tour yet. I've just been focusing on getting my music there. I want to present a clear version of who I am to the audience.
Are you champing at the bit to get out there and start performing?
That's why I'm so excited to share what I've been doing. It's such a great feeling to finally share that. I'm eager to meet the people who listen to my music.
Do you feel lucky to be so successful so young?
I feel like I've been working very hard, so I don't feel lucky, but I feel like I'm very blessed that I get this opportunity to express myself. Not everybody gets that, but I've also worked very hard to get that.
It seems like today, a lot of really great music gets swept under the rug, while a lot of stuff that's just okay gets a lot of traction. How do you balance wanting success with staying true to your artistic vision?
I feel like we're entering a new era when it comes to creative people being able to take control of their art. To me, it seems like the power is in the artist's hands now because you have the opportunity to build your own platform. I also feel like people, in general, are starting to look for and get inspired by things and people with integrity. People are looking for a connection. [With that in mind,] social media provides a great opportunity for artists to take control over their work.
You've finally released some music, where do you want to be this time next year?
It's really easy to answer that question by just saying "I want to be on this big stage" or "I want to sell out this arena." But, I'm very much just about appreciating the moment. In the end, I just want to keep doing this. It's all I care about. Whatever comes from this is just a bonus.
Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found on PopDust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine. Website: https://matthewdclibanoff.journoportfolio.com/ Twitter: @mattclibanoff
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