The Violet Reign of Snoh Aalegra

Bonsu Thompson
5 min readJul 11, 2021

On her new album, the soul songstress and scribe is still the princess of emo. But just a bit more fun.

In Sweden, the winter season monopolizes about 75% of the calendar year. Daylight is visible for an average of four hours a day. Basically, it’s the perfect country for a gifted singer and songwriter to turn rhythm & blues into emotional purples.

Snoh Aalegra uses the darkness of her native kingdom as a muse. So much so that before the release of her 2019 sophomore album, Ugh, those feels again, her October 2017 debut, Feels, became lionized as an antithesis to Megan Thee Stallion’s aspirational “Hot Girl Summer”: Sad Girl Fall. “Sweden is very gloomy, so it has a melancholy to it,” says Aalegra via phone. “People in Sweden are used to the melancholy, so I think it just sticks with me when I’m writing.”

Snoh’s sadness has been quite the commodity. Over the last half decade, the daughter of Persian parents built a devoted following with her debut and starship of a second album. The latter claimed the number-one spot on iTunes thanks to its singles “Whoa” and “I Want You Around” topping the R&B charts. Their stunningly rich videos — the latter casted actor Michael B. Jordan — only made a marriage with the songbird’s supreme style and beauty, attracting coverage from superior music and fashion publications alike (Pitchfork; Elle). Snoh’s artistic visuals always have two constant elements: 1) They’re conceptually co-conceived with Snoh’s cousin, manager and creative partner Isabel Wilson, and 2) they’re always shot on film. “I guess I’m old school like that,” says Snoh about her visual preference for vintage over high definition. “I don’t like every pore being in your face.”

On her third and latest opus, Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies — a collaboration between her label ARTium (founded by legendary hip-hop producer No I.D.), Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Universal Music Group — she continues providing fans their emo fix, but adds a little more color and complexion to the high. This is accomplished via BPM (beats per minute) experimentation and some dream collaborations.

The album’s recording began at the end of 2019 and concluded 16 months and 50 songs later (she eventually settled on 15 tracks). Her first session took place in Miami with her most coveted collab, the…

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Bonsu Thompson

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.