Four years and 100M+ streams later, Swedish pop icon Mapei followed up her praised debut with the release of “Sensory Overload” - an album that earned her a Swedish Grammy nomination.
100M+ streams later, and it’s been nearly four years since the release of Mapei’s debut album, “Hey Hey”. Since then, the Swedish American artist has been busy contributing her vocals to various projects, like Silk City’s “Feel About You” (a.k.a. the collaborative project of mega producers Diplo and Mark Ronson). She’s also had time to reflect on what’s most important to her, as has been working hard on her follow-up album, “Sensory Overload” - an album that promotes self-empowerment while also lamenting the struggle to be oneself in an age of extreme narcissism. Released in late 2019, Mapei’s new album has been praised by Swedish media - and earned her a Swedish Grammy nomination for the category “Album of the year”.
Born Jacqueline Mapei Cummings in Providence, Rhode Island, Mapei moved with her mother to Sweden at the age of 10 and began a new life in a new and unfamiliar country. Learning how to cope in different situations from an early age had a considerable impact on Mapei, who often struggled with finding her identity. It wasn’t until recently that she finally accepted herself as an artist and as a creative. It is this journey of self-reflection that has inspired her latest work.
“We’re currently living in very political times, which is often exacerbated by the digital age we live in,” says Mapei. “However, I also see the positive changes that are happening. Thanks to social media, people are coming together like never before. Empowering each other while educating others. I see it, and it gives me hope that we can encourage each other to accept who we are and just be ourselves.”
Mapei is no stranger to criticism, both from herself and from others. “I’ve learned not to argue with my truths,” she says. “I’m a person of many contrasts, which is part of the reason why I make music. I’ve always wanted a soundtrack to my world, which is something I’ve been working on since my debut album.”
The new album “Sensory Overload”, released in November 2019, follows Mapei on the journey that has been her life over the last several years. It’s a reflection on past relationships and an examination of the success that came with her song, “Don’t Wait.” It also draws inspiration from Caribbean nights spent on the island of Bequia, and from the soul of her Nana, who visits her in her dreams.
“It’s a bit bittersweet this life that I’ve lived, but it’s also a well-deserved life,” Mapei says with an air assurance. “I thank everyone that has been on this journey with me.
Slowly but surely I’m giving more of myself away in my music. In a way, my life has become a work of art.” Sharing the private and often deeply personal parts of her life with others, it seems, is good for her soul.
Mapei is back, and in case you didn’t notice, she’s got something to say, so get ready to listen.
Directed by Niko Noir, Mapei is set to release a short film, featuring all the songs from her album “Sensory Overload”. Here’s the trailer.
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