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Saturday 31 October 2020 – The Monocle Minute


THE INTERROGATOR / EMMELIE DE FOREST

High notes

Danish singer and songwriter Emmelie de Forest is best known for her Platinum-certified tune “Only Teardrops”, which won her the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013. After touring her most recent album last year, De Forest, like many musicians, has spent a large part of this year at home writing songs. From her base in Copenhagen she tells us why she stocks up on books when in London and how singing in the shower informs her recording process.

What news source do you wake up to?
I usually stay in bed for about half an hour and read all the latest news on my phone. I read the Huffpost and The Guardian apps, and Google News. I also love to see what Katie Couric and John Oliver are up to on Twitter.

Coffee, tea or something pressed to go with headlines?
I started out drinking only iced coffee in the summer but over lockdown I began drinking hot coffee every morning, with lots of oat milk and sugar. It’s best if my boyfriend makes me one on his espresso machine.

Something from the FM dial or Spotify for your tunes?
Always Spotify. I like to start somewhere and just get lost. Recently I’ve come across British-Filipino artist Beabadoobee and US singer Justine Skye. When I work out, I listen to the likes of [Spanish DJ] Anna and Rosalía. If it’s a Sunday morning it has to be Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday.

What’s that you’re humming in the shower?
I usually hum some of my own music in the shower, especially if I’m in the process of writing a song. I will hum it to myself and try out some words for it. Everything just sounds so much nicer because of the acoustics. I wouldn’t say that I write a song in the shower but sometimes things fall into place when you sing them there.

Five magazines for your weekend sofa-side stack?
Porter and Vanity Fair for fashion; Uncut’s Ultimate Music Guide for an in-depth look at an artist or band – my favourite is the one about Kate Bush; All About History, as I’m a big history nerd; and Monocle, of course, which I discovered after I was interviewed for an article two years ago.

Newspaper that you turn to?
I read all my news on my phone. I’ll buy a paper if there’s a story I just have to read and it’s not online.

Favourite bookshop?
Foyles on Charing Cross Road in London. It has everything and I can spend hours in there. The prices are very cheap compared with Denmark so I always go to stock up on some new books whenever I visit London.

Is that a podcast in your ear?
I’m probably one of the only people in Copenhagen who doesn’t cycle, so I walk a lot and podcasts are perfect for that. I started listening to The Tim Ferriss Show a few years back and this year I’ve listened a lot to WTF with Marc Maron and David Tennant Does a Podcast With…

What’s the best thing that you’ve watched on TV recently?
Babylon Berlin. It’s a German TV series and all three seasons are so good. It takes place in Berlin between the two world wars and has everything from crime and love to politics and action.

Who’s your cultural obsession?
I have many. Most of them are dead, sadly – but not all of them. To name a few: Kurt Cobain, Sharon Tate, Vivien Leigh, Robert Redford, Marilyn Monroe, Kate Bush, Debbie Harry, Johannes Vermeer, Isabella de’ Medici, Anne Boleyn and Tupac.

Do you still make an appointment to watch the nightly news? A favourite newsreader perhaps?
I have to say that the Danish news shows can be a bit boring compared to British and American ones. I always loved the way that Jon Stewart could mix news, politics and humour.

What’s on the airwaves before drifting off?
It depends. I’ll either flip through boring stuff in my Instagram feed, listen to ASMR on YouTube, watch 5-Minute Crafts videos on Facebook, or read a chapter or two of whatever book I’m currently reading.



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