A year or so ago I was watching television when a simple commercial came on. I think I was in the bathroom or something and did not know what the product was being advertised. What I do remember is that I came rushing back into the room to grab my iPhone to Shazam the song playing in the background. It was addictive and sounded so funky to me. With that Shazam, a new musical artist entered my life. Her name is Salme Dahlstrom. The lovely platinum blonde seductress was kind enough to meet me in Bryant Park earlier this week to share her musical journey which in itself is pretty unique compared to most artists in her field.
Salme is a rocker in every sense of the word. Although, that is not how she started out. “I always wanted to be a rock star. I started out learning and playing classical piano. My older sister actually got me hooked on rock and eventually I began playing in rock bands. The electronic element came later and I was so mesmerized by how it all worked. I eventually became a pop writer trying to mix electronic music in there.”
Her hit song, the one I Shazamed, called C’mon Y’all is extremely addictive. I guarantee a few of you will recognize it right away. This has been her main avenue of success. “In the music world you have to model yourself. If you read about how Madonna got her start, it’s all there. Sometimes you have to wait for that moment. For me, I was producing music in my bedroom one day and a licensing company reached out to me. They thought my noise could do well on TV. There is a huge commercial success in music licensing. I did not think success in this field would come until later. Luckily, it was during the first wave of social media but it still started slow. Despite popular belief, I do not make music just for commercials. I make music that I love that has a punch, which somehow conveniently works in commercials. This new path caused me to change my plans in music. I can get through the politics of it al because I can do what I love and I am getting paid to have it used everywhere for different things.”
Her musical worldview has helped her understand the ins and out of the business. She even understands to a point that she wishes to help others. “Eventually, I would love to help develop other musical artists out there. I still love buying records and browsing through record stores. I never got into music streaming because the artists simply do not get paid. Yes, you can pick a channel but in the end fans should help support the artist. Then again, the culture here in the US around music is so different than in Sweden. Over there they kept telling me, ‘its never going to happen to you in music,’ while over here the American motto is, ‘go for it!’ I love NYC and the East Village because people watching is the best thing in the world. The frantic energy NYC has its unique motivation, the city and its people make you push harder for your work.” I feel like the same goes for the entire country. That motto is true for artists on a deeper level now because not only do they have to work hard, they also have to find new ways to keep such aspirations afloat amidst all the additional competition.
Salem was able to share this sentiment. “It is so difficult to break into the mainstream these days. Hip-hop is thriving in the music space. They simply know how to do it. Country has a huge following as well down south. What doesn’t work is mainstream Pop. It is 95% Disney stars and they do not understand the power of rock.” I would have to agree with here there. Despite the fact that there is so much amazing music out in the world, the artists who are creating the art are not necessarily all getting paid or noticed. It is always a constant and upward battle for artists of all mediums and genres to make their living, should they decide to, in the space. However, I remain hopeful and rather excited that the power of the arts, similar to Salme’s persistence and work, because artists will always continue to do what they do best. It is in their human nature.
Salme is a force to be reckoned with and a simple pleasure to be around. I even had to talk myself to stop sweating so much as I was extremely nervous to chat with her. Then again, she was so kind and down to earth which made it all so easy. Give her music a listen, if you have not already, and be amazed. Hell, just keep watching TV and then catch her musical magic as it comes. The more you hear her stuff, the more you will want. Be sure to listen and enjoy!