Q&A: iiola

Shannon Saunders, better known by her moniker iiola, is a new artist based in London that creates cinematic pop masterpieces.  After receiving over two-million streams on her breakthrough tracks ‘Don’t Shut Me Up’ and ‘Sickly Sweet’, iiola has continued to make waves within the industry.

iiola spoke to LOCK about her music, Glastonbury and setting up her own record label.

What inspired you to talk about your own vulnerabilities and the impact of social media on ‘Chewing Gum’?

My phone would sometimes feel like a loaded gun, fuelled with way too many bullets of emotion. Me recognising this is what this song is about. Social media is a double edged sword; I needed to change my perspective on it and start actually living my real life. Once I did this, I wasn’t ruled by it anymore, and I could dip in and out of it and use it more recreationally instead of it being my bible.

You were a finalist for Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, what was that like? How does it feel to have a slot at the legendary festival?

It feels great to have my music recognised and associated with such a prestigious Festival. Playing Glastonbury will be the 2nd iiola show I’ve ever done so it feels pretty special to have secured a slot there so early on in my iiola journey.

Sonically, the tracks you have made, have a certain cinematic quality about them and the visuals that go alongside your music are striking. Was this always intentional from the start of your career or did it come over time?

It’s taken me years to perfect the sound and aesthetic that suits the music I want to make. I really feel I’ve found my niche as an artist and enjoy creating the visual aspect as well as executive producing my music.

Name one song you wish you had written..

‘Happy Birthday’ – I’d be well in the money!

As an independent artist who has set up their own record label (Lovejoy Records), would you recommended that other artists do the same?

Absolutely – the more you learn about the business side of things, the more control you have with your art.

Do you feel studying at BIMM Bristol has helped prepare you for a career in the music industry?

It was inspiring to be around other musicians but I was already songwriting in London at 16 anyway, so only did 6 months of studying there before leaving.

Dream collaboration?

Bonobo. All day, everyday.

Listen to ‘Chewing Gum’ by iiola below.

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Q&A: iiola
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