Interview with Jylda

Jylda – Photo Credit: Aanjali Fernando

Berlin-based singer-songwriter and producer Gianna Gehlhar completely captivates with her musical persona Jylda.  In her productions, she combines playful, experimental and minimalistic elements. Her vocals constantly drift between extremes, from sounding high and soft, sometimes operatic and siren-like on the one hand, and keen and metallic on the other.

Jylda has released a string of singles in 2016 and has been featured on radio, blogs, and magazines.  She played shows and festivals around Germany and Europe, including both headline and support shows in London and playing as an opening act for LANY at Kantine am Berghain in Berlin.

This year is off to an exciting start for Jylda as she releases her transfixing single “The Body.”  She discusses this new song, her sound and vision, and what’s in store in the following interview.

Hello Jylda, it’s so cool to have this chance to chat with you about your new single, “The Body”, and upcoming video for it. Where were you emotionally when you were recording “The Body”? It sounds intense…

I remember that it was 2am and I was in bed, half asleep. When the lyrics popped into my mind, I stood up and recorded a melody for it straight away, still in a state of somnolence. This is unusual for me, as I am an early bird. The story and sensation I wanted to transport with this song had been in my head for some time… It felt like the perfect moment for it to take form.

You have a very interesting way of using your voice and enunciating your words.  Are you channeling other characters in your songs, say the way that David Bowie did, or is it all you?

When I sing, I just try to get as close to what I feel and to get across what I have to say… It might be a bold version of myself, though.

I always wonder what artists feel when they revisit their songs, whether through listening to the recordings a few months later or playing them out live.  What do you hear and feel when you do that? 

This track is a little story about allurement. When I perform, sometimes I do feel like I’m carried back to the situation it is about – which is more likely when I dance and let the music flow through the body…

With live songs specifically, how do you conjure up that original feeling? Does it come naturally with the sounds or do you just mold the song around what you are feeling at that specific moment?

It really depends on the song. I would say that there’s a reciprocal relationship between the subject of the song and the sound. They influence each other… And when performing, as I mentioned before, dancing always helps. I had some concerts when playing on stage really got me to a high. It’s the best feeling in the world.

So who or what is Jylda? Because in your press text it says that it’s a project. That usually means that there is a difference between the art and the person, or a certain amount of distancing happening.  Is that the case here?

Jylda subsumes all I do musically. When making music, I actually feel closer to myself; it gives me the freedom to do everything I want. I would say the main difference between this alias and me as a person is that in real life I can seem pretty reserved and quiet, whereas in music I show more of myself and become this upfront, moody exhibitionist.

When can we expect an album from you?

I am working on my debut album at the moment… The release date is still a secret.

Is there any chance to see you on stage anytime soon?

I’m playing in Brighton on the 20th of May and in London the day after at the George Tavern. I spent this month in London writing music… After the gig, I’ll go back to Berlin and play a show on the 1st of June.

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