Having recently moved to London from Berlin, Italian-German artist Gianna Gehlhar interweaves vibrant imagery and icy electronica into new single Torrential River – released under her alter-ego, Jylda.
Jylda’s sultry vocals – reminiscent of artists such as Lykke Li and St Vincent – depict a tale of heartache and loss. She ultimately finds liberation and freedom within herself; beautifully illustrated in the accompanying music video.
I had a chat to Gianna to find out more about her influences and the theatrical sonic world she’s creating…
Hi JYLDA! Tell me a bit about yourself and how you first started making music?
Hi! I’m JYLDA, a singer-songwriter-producer based in London via Berlin.
I started writing songs on the guitar and the piano, then studied opera, and combined these influences with electronic beats in my tracks. I’m about to release my debut EP soon and just published my first single off of it.
You’ve just released a new video for your single Torrential River where we see you performing in some pretty incredible costumes. What’s the story behind it and how was it made?
I made the video with the director George Bushaway. We got most of the costumes at the National Theatre.
The song came from a dark place – a moment of heartbreak. I kind of wanted the video to show the potential of it. It’s about rebirth, about liberation and making my own new reign in an industrial scenery.
We filmed it at The Steamship, a former pub / now turned artist’s space in East India. It has a really cool rooftop with views of London’s crazy DLR rails, motorway bridges and skyscrapers confoundingly overlapping; like they are leading to nowhere, out of some bizarre dystopian dream.
You cite some great influences – from artists like FKA Twigs and Robyn to St Vincent and PJ Harvey. Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I would love to collaborate with all of these artists!
Every collaboration I’ve done so far has been so inspiring. I love writing with songwriters like me, but it’s equally great working with people who are coming from a completely different angle and finding out how they work. Every time, something unique is created that neither would have made on their own.
I see you’ve got some exciting EP launch shows coming up in secret warehouse spaces in both London and Berlin. What can we expect from your live show?
I don’t want to say too much yet, but in general I feel like, especially when playing shows and making videos, I have a very strong connection to the opera and theatre. I like it when people get to see something unusual and extreme.
Performing live in general is a very bodily experience to me – I cannot sing without moving, and I like using tension and energy in every gesture and sound.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Don’t set yourself any limits – neither creatively nor geographically.
I think I’ve been influenced by the fact that my dad just got on a train to Germany one day and moved there. In a way it felt clear to me that I would always live in different places, like that’s what you do when you grow up. So this might have made me come to London…
What have you got planned for the rest of the year? More music, more shows?
Oh yeah, I’ve been writing a lot, so there will be some more releases coming up soon. And I’m planning to play lots of shows too!