Swedish singer's "Somewhere Else" out this week on Paper Bag Records.
"My ordinary life goes on," says Swedish indie-pop artist Sally Shapiro, talking about her upcoming plans now that her third full-length album, "Somewhere Else," has been released. Shapiro seems almost puzzled by the question of upcoming album promotion, "I will of course do some interviews and stuff like that, but… I don't think I'll do anything more than that."
Shapiro is, and has always been, an enigma: since making her sterling debut with 2007's "Disco Romance," the notoriously reclusive star has never revealed her real name or any other revealing information about herself, and has yet to perform any of her songs live (a super-short DJ tour in 2008 is still the only time Shapiro and her producer Johan Agebjörn have taken the stage). With "Somewhere Else," released Tuesday (Feb. 26) on Paper Bag Records, that elusiveness is alive and well. No live shows or public appearances have been plotted, so for Shapiro, life will continue as regularly scheduled after another majestic collection of songs is set forth.
"I don't feel comfortable in doing that, and I'm not interested in having that kind of life," Shapiro tells Billboard of performing her songs live. "I've thought of it many times, but I also feel more insecure in that position. It's a thing that many people have as a dream -- 'Oh, I would like to tour around the world'… It's quite hard, because you feel like maybe you should [tour], because that's what people expect you to do. But when I try to think about what I want, then I feel that, no, I don't really want that."
The lack of live promotion around "Somewhere Else," which follows 2009's "Guilty Pleasure," hasn't slowed down interest in the album ahead of its release. A video for the song "Starman" featuring Electric Youth was released earlier this month, and the Edwin Brienen-directed clip carries a pro-LGBT message to match the featherweight dance track. Remixes of "Starman" from Henning Fürst of the Tough Alliance and Miami Nights 1984 are available now, and a full remix album with artists like the Field, Tycho and Nite Jewel will be released in April.
Until then, fans will have the chance to explore the flickering contours of "Somewhere Else," which Shapiro and Agebjörn recorded last spring and summer. Since "Disco Romance," which Shapiro describes as strictly Italo-disco, her sound has veered more toward more mainstream pop, and she says that she's "more secure" with this batch of song than with any previous full-length. First single "What Can I Do," for instance, masks its heartbreaking lyrics underneath shades of jangling dream-pop.
"Johan is more the 80s disco electronic music person, and for me, it's also that, but more on the pop side," says Shapiro. "'What Can I Do' was one of the last songs we made, and we became very happy with it… I like most of the lyrics [on the album] but this one one of the most, because it's between something deep and very ordinary."