For Lydia Hellevik, a junior in the Bachelor of Musical Arts program for Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, writing songs is her way of releasing “whatever is burning on my mind.” This made releasing an EP, in lieu of a junior recital, a perfect choice for her. Her EP, Egotypical, highlights her creativity and songwriting skills in an incredibly personal way.
Hellevik shared that when writing music, she starts with stream of consciousness writing, which is transformed into her lyrics. The next part of the process is sitting down at a piano and coming up with chords, which typically is a straightforward process. “Usually if I have a topic in mind it tends to very easily translate through my fingers onto the keys,” Hellevik says. Gaining feedback from other musicians that she trusts is important to her music-making process, especially in developing lines for horn and percussion.
Hellevik shared that her music reflects her “raw and brutally or sarcastically honest” style, as her EP shares her personal life experience with candor and humor. Her relationships provided the bulk of the inspirations for her songs, contributing to the personal aspect of the EP. One song, about her dog, “could be translated into a kind of cheesy romance song and I think that’s funny,” comments Hellevik. A few songs are about men, since they “give you so much material” to work with. She highlighted a unique song she wrote entitled “Mustard on the Corduroy,” which is not about relationships with other people and instead encapsulates the feeling of waiting for change “and feeling like change is about to happen.” She described her style as “accessible pop-funk style with jazzier chords,” and this is reflected throughout her songs.
Like all creative endeavors, there were challenges to overcome in order to obtain the final product. The most challenging aspect for Hellevik was getting over self-doubt and “sending out stuff that I’ve written to other people […] and not asking for feedback.” Hellevik shares that as a singer, “a lot of the time we’re not an essential part of an ensemble, and I feel like there’s a stigma about singers being less knowledgeable in music and less capable.” For Hellevik, it was important to “separate my ego from the process” and “have confidence in myself that my music is good enough.”
Despite the challenges, creating this EP has been an enormous personal success for Hellevik. She stated that “doing this EP has helped me regain confidence that I can take charge of my own projects and execute them how I want to.” She’s worked incredibly hard on the EP and is “really excited for people to hear this,” as well as anything she releases in the future. She wanted to thank Michael Murphy, who was an essential part of the recording process a “giving and genuinely encouraging person to work with.”
Egotypical will be released before the end of the academic year on the streaming platforms Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Spotify.