Nea and SHY Martin are talented pop songwriters & artists who’ve had success in their home country of Sweden, and internationally. They are longtime friends who regularly travel to Los Angeles, London and other cities to co-write with top artists, producers and other songwriters. Their hit credits include singles with the Chainsmokers, Zara Larsson, Kygo, Ellie Goulding and Felix Jaehn.
Although Nea and Martin are rising artists, they are equally focused on writing songs for other artists. However, when earlier this year they wrote the song “No Regrets,” they decided to record & release the single themselves as artists. This turned out to be a smart move, because “No Regrets” is a joyful, appealing song that sounds perfect when they’re singing it.
“No Regrets” is a well-produced single that features both Nea and Martin, sharing lead vocals and contributing harmonies. It’s a fun song that has an articulate lyric about not looking back after a breakup. This record impressively showcases Nea and Martin’s artist potential and their songwriting.
Martin describes how “No Regrets” was written. “Me, Nea and Victor Snell (a producer, writer & singer) wrote ‘No Regrets’ last spring, and we completely fell in love with the song. We’ve been talking about doing a song together for a while, and this felt like the perfect one.”
Nea and Martin have also filmed a terrific video of “No Regrets,” with the duo driving a convertible with the top down in the Swedish countryside. This video was directed by Ted Malmros.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Nea and Martin. They talk about their single “No Regrets,” their individual careers as artists, and about the songs they’ve written for other artists. But before we get started, here’s a brief rundown of their careers so far as songwriters & artists.
Nea (aka Linnea Sodahl) has co-written songs for Zara Larsson, Tove Styrke, Felix Jaehn, Time Tempah, Twice and Axwell, among others. One of her best known songs, “Lush Life,” became a hit for Larsson. As an artist, in 2019 she released her first single, “Some Say,” and it became a hit in Sweden and Europe. In June 2020, she released her EP called Some Say, that also contained the singles “Dedicated,” “TG4M” and “Drunk Enough To.”
Here’s the video of Nea & SHY Martin’s single, “No Regrets.”
Martin has co-written the hits “All We Know” for the Chainsmokers, and “First Time” for Kygo & Ellie Goulding. She has also co-written singles for Alan Walker, Bea Miller & Bebe Rexha. As an artist, she was featured on Mike Perry’s hit, “The Ocean.” She has released two EPs: Overthinking (in 2018) and Sad Songs (2020). And in the past year, she has released the singles ‘Make Us Never Happen,” “Can I Call You Back?” and “Feelings.”
Here’s our interview with Nea and SHY Martin:
DK: I read that you’re both from Sweden, and that you met while attending music school. Can you talk about your early years, and how you got into music and songwriting?
SHY Martin: I’ve been singing and creating melodies for as long as I can remember. Music has always been a big passion, and when I was 5 years old I started singing in a choir. When I was 12, I started playing in a band and after that I’ve been studying music for years.
Nea: Just like Shy, I’ve been writing little songs for as long as I can remember. I can still sing ”hooks” I wrote from being 6-7 years old, so it feels like the songwriting is somehow part of my DNA! However, coming from a small town with no music connections at all, it took many years to find my way to actually live on my music. I was studying music in both Sweden and Havana (Cuba) before I moved to Stockholm, and for some years I was doing everything from busking to singing at weddings and jazz bars before I eventually got signed as a songwriter, and later as an artist.
DK: What was your first big break in the music business?
Nea: My first big song to co-write was no doubt “Lush Life” by Zara Larsson. Similar story to Shy, I wrote it when I was still in school, and to see it blow up the way it did was just surreal. It’s not until afterwards you realize how hard it is for things like that to happen for a brand new songwriter. It was my fifth release ever as a writer, and last week actually it passed 1 billion streams on Spotify.
Here’s the video of Nea’s single, “Some Say.”
SHY Martin: My first big break was with “The Ocean” that I released together with Mike Perry and co wrote with my longtime collaborator, Nirob Islam. Me and Nirob were still in school while writing the song on my couch and recording it in my wardrobe. I was recovering from tonsil surgery at the time and wasn’t allowed to sing. So the vocals you hear on the song is actually a one-take.
DK: Nea, you co-wrote the hits “Lush Life” and “Don’t Worry About Me” for Zara Larsson. How did you connect with her, and can you talk about writing these songs?
Nea: Yes! Me and Zara were at the time signed to the same publishing/label in Sweden called TEN Music Group. When writing “Lush Life” they arranged a camp for her, and in my room we were all pretty noobies but somehow managed to write that song. Later, I co-wrote “TG4M“ for her (actually about my boyfriend at the time) together with Joakim Haukaas and Marcus Sepermanesh. “Don’t Worry About Me” has a slightly different story though, ‘cause that was a song that she had written before but just asked for help to sort out the last bit on. So I came on board later in the process and helped out with some structure, lyrics and minor melody changes.
DK: Shy, you’ve co-written the hits “All We Know” with The Chainsmokers and “First Time” with Kygo & Ellie Goulding. Can you talk about your collaborations with them on these songs?
SHY Martin: The story behind “All we know” might sound very unlikely. A week after writing ‘The Ocean,” me and Nirob (Islam) wrote “All We Know” on my parents’ couch, two hours before we took the train back to Stockholm. We didn’t have either publishing or management at the time, so we Googled “The Chainsmokers email” to send the song. That night we got a reply that they loved the song, and it got released a few months later.
“First Time” was written in Sweden that same year together, with four other writers before sending it to Kygo. I’ve been a huge fan of both him and Ellie Goulding for a long time, so it was kind of unreal they decided to release the song together.
Here’s the lyric video for SHY Martin’s single, “Feelings.”
DK: I like your new single “No Regrets.” What inspired you to write this song, and will you be releasing more songs as a duo?
Nea: Thank you so much for saying! We wrote “No Regrets” with our amazing producer/writer friend, Victor Thell, and to me it’s about taking control of your own life and leaving things that’s not good for you behind without regrets. I think me and Sara will definitely continue to write music together and if a song comes up that feels right for both of us, who knows! The process of releasing “No Regrets” together with her has been so much fun.
DK: You’ve traveled frequently from Sweden to Los Angeles to collaborate. Where are you based now? Has it been difficult to travel during the pandemic?
Nea: We are both based in Stockholm, and to speak for myself, it’s of course been frustrating to not be able to travel as usual, but I must admit also good parts have come out of it. Working more with Swedish writers like Shy Martin and Victor Thell (the producer) is just one of the collabs that have come up during the pandemic, and that probably wouldn’t have happened if we all were at different paces like we normally are. And just getting a breather in a hectic life have been pretty well-needed. However, its also been really frustrating at times. My debut single as an artist, “Some Say,” blew up in Europe during the pandemic and the truth is that I still haven’t even met my audience live because of this!
SHY Martin: I’m currently based in Stockholm. I was in New Zealand working when the pandemic started. I was supposed to be touring and traveling the whole last year but everything got postponed. So I’ve been working from Sweden since March 2020.
DK: You’ve both had success as songwriters and artists. How do you balance these two careers? Are you equally focused on your artist and songwriter careers?
SHY Martin: It’s been difficult to balance both careers from time to time. But I love both equally so I wouldn’t wanna choose just one of them.
Nea: It’s hard to balance, but I love both parts so I do my best to make it work! I think in different periods I will focus more on different areas. At the moment, I’d say the artistry is taking the most time and focus.
DK: Thank you both for doing this interview. Is there anything else that you’d like to mention for this article?
Nea: Not really, I think you covered it all pretty well with the questions! Thank you so much for having us!