Swedish singer/songwriter Paula Jivén makes spellbindingly original pop music, each song sparked from her radiant imagination. At just 18-years-old, she’s already cultivated a truly singular voice as an artist, one that defies all expectation in favor of following her most playful and daring instincts. Newly signed to Universal Music Sweden, Jivén is now set to deliver a debut EP revealing her supreme gifts as a storyteller and the tremendous power of her captivating voice.
Made with genre-bending producers like Sir Sly’s Jason Suwito (MisterWives, Dreamers, DeathbyRomy), Jivén’s debut EP moves exponentially forward with a mission she describes as “disrupting the comfortable and comforting the disrupted.” “All of these songs are portraits of moments in my life when I’ve felt incredibly strong emotions,” she says. “I love writing songs where I get to vent about something that makes me angry, but I also love writing songs where you sort of take someone into your lap and pat them on the head and let them know that everything’s going to be okay. Either way, I want to convey those strong emotions in a way that brings people closer to a sense of acceptance.”
All throughout her debut, Jivén illuminates the potent balance of emotional realism and dreamy sensitivity within her songwriting—a dynamic intensified by each track’s graceful interlacing of live instrumentation and electronic experimentation. On the breathtakingly poignant lead single “What Are You Hungry For?”, for instance, Jivén documents a close friend’s struggles with an eating disorder, her tender vocals blending beautifully with the song’s mesmerizing beats. “’What Are You Hungry For?’ came from watching someone who was so sick, and not being able to help them,” she says. “So many girls starve themselves because they think they’re not good enough, and I want them to know that hurting yourself is never the way.”
Elsewhere on her debut, Jivén shares such soul-baring tracks as “Breaking Up With a Friend,” a shapeshifting serenade to the demise of a close friendship. “In a breakup with a friend you’re not really expected to mourn like you would with other breakups, even though it can be so lonely and sad,” says Jivén. “I wanted to write a song that portrays that, and that gives people space to understand what they’re going through in those kind of situations.” Another song examining highly nuanced emotions seldom explored in pop music, the gorgeously sprawling “Say That” channels a very specific form of ennui. “I wrote that song my first time visiting in L.A., when I was finally doing everything I’d dreamed of doing but still didn’t feel content, because I knew I had to go back home soon,” says Jivén. “Ultimately it’s a song about trying to break that pattern of constantly chasing happiness, and to live more in the moment.” And on tracks like the wildly frenetic “Rude Girl,” Jivén lets her most outrageous impulses shine. “At first I came up with ‘Rude Girl’ because I was pissed off at a classmate, and I wanted to write a song that says the meanest things I could possibly say,” Jivén explains. “But at the same time the song is acknowledging that there’s something cool about being a rude girl, instead of trying to fit in with everyone else’s idea of femininity. Now whenever I listen to it, it makes me feel like a bad-ass bitch—like I can go wherever I want to go, and act like I belong anywhere.”
Growing up in Gothenburg, Jivén first discovered her fascination with music as a child, taking up violin at the age of three and later learning to play piano, in addition to singing in the church choir. When she was nine-years-old, Jivén’s parents began taking her and her younger sister to the opera house for classical music performances nearly every week, an experience she credits with helping to develop her multidimensional musicality. By the time she was 11, Jivén had started writing songs of her own on piano, and at age 13 made a major leap forward in her music career by winning the coveted golden buzzer on “Sweden’s Got Talent.” Soon after completing her time on the show, Jivén began working with A-list co-writers and producers in Stockholm and Los Angeles, carefully carving out the exquisitely composed yet unpredictable sound that defines her music today. Along with landing her deal with Universal Music Sweden, she’s also recently signed with legendary booking agent Tom Windish (an industry veteran known for developing the touring careers of superstars like Billie Eilish and Lorde).
For the many fans who keep up with her on TikTok, the raw sincerity of Jivén’s debut will come as no surprise. Not only a showcase for her more whimsical creative side (such as a 2020 video in which she narrated assembling a sandwich, capturing each step in breezy sing-song melody), the platform has brought Jivén closer to fulfilling one of her main ambitions as an artist. “I have a lot of young girls following me, and it’s important to me to show them that they can be whoever they want to be—that they can be themselves no matter what,” she says. “I try to be honest and direct with them, and it’s the same thing with my music. I always want to be as genuine as I can be in my songs, so that when you hear them you just feel it in your gut.”
A massively prolific songwriter, Jivén has developed multiple albums’ worth of material over the past two years. And in the making of her debut EP, she’s created a body of work that fully honors her complexity as an artist and as a young woman finding her place in the world. “In the process of writing this EP I realized that there’s such a duality within me—there are so many sides to who I am, and there’s both good and bad within that,” says Jivén. “Writing all these songs really helped me to understand myself better, and I hope that now people can make their own connections and understand themselves better too.”