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Berlin-based artist fraen is taking her music in unique directions. With iconic influences like Amy Winehouse to contemporary inspirations like Snoh Alegra, Fraen opens up about her creative process and her latest EP, ‘every cloud has a silver lining.’ 


Dress and Sleeves: Elodie CarstensenEarrings: RM Atu Gelovani Socks: Falke

Who exactly is Fraen, and what is she currently passionate about?

It’s hard to put into words who exactly Fraen is. I feel like she is ever-changing, developing, and trying to reinvent herself over and over again. I feel like this makes artistry interesting, and also, for me personally, growing up in a village, it's a necessity to break out of conservatism. I’m passionate about love, the human psyche, and the soul. I'm constantly trying to engage with the physical and spiritual world and integrate my findings into my personal life and music. It’s a challenge for sure! And you really have to dig deep, which is often uncomfortable and draining. But it’s worth it!

I'd love to hear how your musical journey began. What sparked your initial interest?

I always used to sing. I did it in my room behind closed doors, so my family couldn’t hear me. I was super shy about it. I feared being judged and kept my singing voice a secret. It felt so vulnerable and intimate exposing it. The older I got, the more I sang with my best friends and learned to play the guitar a bit. But it never came to my mind to make a living out of music. Where I come from, that’s a very unusual profession to fathom. But I remember so vividly how I watched the movie “Amy,” a documentary about Amy Winehouse. They showed chronologically what happened in Amy's life and then showed the corresponding song with lyrics. It was like she took a page of her diary and turned it into a song. So vulnerable, so honest, and real. I WAS OBSESSED. I listened to her album “Frank” so often that this album was my number one album on Spotify Wrapped three years in a row. And I listened to it even more before Spotify Wrapped even existed. I feel back in the days there were only a few people who really got to live off their music. Which has changed, luckily. And those artists were like big, industry-planted superstars, almost unreachable. Amy showed how a decent human being, with scars and a painful past, was able to work with that in her songs and was actually successful. Years later, I moved to Berlin, went to open mics, and saw all those talented artists on stage. I thought to myself: “I wish I had the guts to get on stage too.” One day, my best friend signed me up for an open mic we were at, without me knowing it. She kind of threw me in cold water. It was the first time I got to sing in front of a crowd back in 2020. I was hooked. That was the moment I knew I wanted to pursue a musical career.


In an industry with so many aspiring artists, can you take us back to the moment when you discovered the unique voice you were searching for?

I think at first you have musical idols that you try to imitate. For me, it was artists like Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Etta James, Lauryn Hill, and Jill Scott. But also newer artists such as Snoh Aalegra, HER, and James Blake had an influence on me. I love voices that are perfectly imperfect, voices with character and emotions. I guess what I tried to do was to find the most honest voice for me, the one my body falls into naturally, one that resonates with me. I do have older songs where I tried too hard, and I honestly can’t listen to them anymore because they weren’t authentic. Guess that was a lesson learned.


Let’s talk about your recording process. From writing lyrics to the eventual release, could you walk us through how that creative journey unfolds for you?

It really depends. My favorite way of songwriting is writing the lyrics first. I often start by writing a poem or like rap lyrics, although I don’t rap. Those are the most heartfelt lyrics, where I’m having a moment to myself, where the words just come out of me. Then I take the lyrics to a session with a producer. I show him my top-lining ideas with the lyrics, and the song is almost done, lol! It’s honestly half the rent. I also get ideas while I’m doing random things like cooking. I record them on my phone, and it’s not unusual that I pick up on that idea a year or so later! It’s funny, if you think about it. And most of the time, you have a lot of writing sessions and find the lyrics and melody while the producer is making a beat. Luckily, I’m a quick writer! I want to get back to writing more songs on my guitar. That’s how I started, and I promised myself to integrate that more and more into my process again!


Skirt: Elodie Carstensen | Coat: W1P Studios | Bra: Anektdot | Earrings: RM Atu GelovaniShoes: Camper Lab  

When it comes to songwriting, do you find yourself completing a track even if you're not entirely satisfied with it? How do you personally determine when a song is finished?

That’s a good question. Nowadays, I finish most of my songs because I feel over time I got to know what I want and need. I can express myself better, and it’s easier for me to actually finish it. I used to struggle with that. And suddenly you have a bunch of unfinished demos that never make it to the finish line, which is kinda sad, but who knows? Maybe one day I'll pick up on that idea again and make it a whole song.

I guess you feel if a song is ready. I think of it as a story. If you get to the punchline, the story is finished. It gives you added value. It has to make sense, somehow. You have to get there with a song too. And when you listen to it again, you just add some little things to finesse it and hope your story gets told.


Tell us more about the concept behind your EP, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.

The EP’s title is inspired by the proverbial phrase that reminds us that even in the darkest moments, there is always a silver lining. I was looking for a title for this EP for so long. I actually didn’t know what to call it until just before the release. And you have to bear in mind, it was in the making for about 2.5 years! But when I thought about the content of the songs, which processed a lot of emotional topics of those years, I found myself at peace. It made sense I got to experience what I’ve experienced, right? It helped me grow into that woman and artist I am now. It was the silver lining. What I learned is that you can always take something positive out of something negative. It is part of the human experience. I wanted to transform these emotionally draining situations, fears, disappointments, and realizations into a message of hope, self-love, and inspiration.


Which song was the most cathartic for you?

Definitely “mrs. universe” so far. I wrote and produced it when I had COVID and was alone in my room for a week already. I tried to mentally escape my room and pictured myself as the whole universe. I thought about many things that somehow keep us involuntarily isolated or exclude us - being a woman, being sensitive, your inner child, religion, or ethnicity. This song is mainly dedicated to people who identify as women. In cosmic rules, you always have to keep going. If something happens, you go with it. You adapt. No matter if the nature of that event is good or bad. It’s about the experience itself and what you make of it. The universe doesn’t judge. It simply is. The song’s message of universal connectedness is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. It kind of highlights the powerful spirit of women, encouraging them to rise above adversity and embrace their inner power.

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Skirt & Top: W1P Studio Earrings: Isabella Rudzki

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As an artist, do you have any struggles with showing vulnerability so publicly?

I’ve always been relatively discreet with my emotions and told very few people about what’s really going on inside of me. I guess that’s my Scorpio nature. But music allowed me, almost forced me, to open up and face my fears. Music is such an intimate thing. I realized I had to be vulnerable in order to make my most authentic music. So it became the catalyst for being able to better express my feelings. A lot of times, I wasn’t even aware of what I felt until I was writing it down and listened to my song again. It always comes out of a place that is greater than the mind. That’s what’s so fascinating to me. And this is how I look at it. But still, it was a lot of work for me, and I think that ultimately pushed me to self-reflection and growth - and still does!

Explore Fraen's 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining' EP by clicking HERE.

Interview edited for length and clarity.




Photographs by Viola Patzig
Styled By Nutsa Khurtsilava
Interview by Nadia Dayem
HMUA: Rafa Delgado
Film: Jonas Reichert
Shoot Location: Studio Batterie
, Berlin, DE

A Les Mirabilia Production

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