SHY Martin (Sara Hjellström) is an opportune artist name for someone who is better known as a behind-the-scenes songwriter for Ellie Goulding, The Chainsmokers, Kygo, and Bebe Rexha amongst others, generating 2.5 billion streams for those artists. But shy no longer as she sets up her own label, SHY Recordings (what else?) and releases this ‘bedroom pop’ single, ‘Break with me’, the first one on the label. It is co-written by SHY and three others; Nirob Islam, Hampus Hjellström and Litens Anton Nilsson.
As the title suggests it’s a break-up song, this time zeroing in on “the separation anxiety and intoxicating mixed emotions that arise when two people become strangers.” On the basis that just about everyone is a stranger to everyone else these days unless they are family, it is a concept that the majority will have no difficulty understanding.
Digging a little deeper the song “emerged from reflections on how the past year has affected our relationships – those that have strengthened us and those that have broken us down.”
Interesting too that the song was recorded in Stockholm and that is where the video shots were taken as the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is being increasingly adapted from its original meaning of bonding with captors in a hostage situation to one of an inability to escape from ‘lockdown’ when the time comes, for example continuing to avoid public contact.
In fact she even alludes to that by accident in the opening lines, which could have that interpretation appended to them:
“I’ve been standing in your driveway/Hoping we could work things out/But even when we’re in the same space/I can’t reach you when I’m reaching out”.
It doesn’t take long to realise that she’s an accomplished writer. She knows you don’t have to over-complicate songs to get noticed, just let the words do the business. I think I’d have preferred another verse though, at two minutes 35 seconds it’s over before you know it.
Stylistically, she’s an amalgam of two British artists who you might never had heard of – dodie and Amy Studt, while visually she’s a dead ringer for one of our favourite environmentalists and exponents of ‘kulning’, Åsa Larsson.
SHY Martin first established herself as a songwriter in 2016 with a co-written song that became Spotify Sweden’s most streamed song of the year. Growing up in the small town of Lerdala between Gothenburg and Örebro, she began writing songs and poetry as a child as a way of expressing herself; “I was never good at talking about my feelings, so I wrote them down instead” she says. In 2017, she debuted as an artist and created a world of her own of songs generating over 300 million streams.
‘Break with me’ is released today on 5th March. No word yet on an album.