Meet Cazzi Opeia (@cazzi_opeia)! The Swedish songwriter behind Red Velvet's Peek-A-Boo shares how she got her start writing K-Pop hits for Ekko Music Rights and tells us about her new solo single Wild Ones!
Interview Gissella Ramirez-Valle, Photos via Ekko Music Rights
Hi! could you please tell us a little about who you are?
CAZZI: I’m an artist and songwriter from Sweden. As a solo artist I’ve just released a new single called Wild Ones, and as a songwriter, my latest release was Peek-A-Boo with Red Velvet.
Your name Cazzi Opeia is interesting, where does it come from?
CAZZI:It comes from the star constellation Cassiopeia. I’ve always been very interested in space, and I think the name has a nice sound to it. Actually, when we released my latest single a little over a month ago, we teamed up with the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and broadcasted the song into space. They helped us send the song towards Cassiopeia, which is about 54 light years from here. Maybe someone out there has an antenna that could pick it up, but even then I guess it would take 107 years to get any kind of feedback.
You come to Seoul quite often for work. Last time you were here in Seoul, what did you do?
CAZZI:Honestly I don’t really have a lot of time to be a tourist when I’m in Seoul, because we spend most of the time in the studio. Last time was a couple of weeks ago, when I was there for a writing camp. A writing camp is where a bunch of songwriters from all over the world comes together to make new songs. So you basically wake up, eat breakfast, go to work in the studio, and then you go to bed. But I did get to go to an EXO concert, which was really cool. My colleagues and me got to meet them briefly backstage, and they were so nice. I hope I get to write something for them too in the future!
We will talk more about your newest solo release “Wild Ones” later, but first, we are curious about your connection to Korea. How did you end up writing music for Korean artists?
CAZZI: I started to write K-Pop songs after I met my publishers, Ekko Music Rights. They have worked with Korean entertainment companies for a long time, and written some of the biggest hits in the past decade. So I started writing songs for them about a year and a half ago, and it seems to be going well. It’s all quite new to me because I didn’t really know much about k-pop before then, but now I love it of course!
You got your first Billboard #1 album world chart with Twice earlier this year, and then another #1 album with Red Velvet, where you co-wrote the title track Peek-a-boo!
How does that feel to know so many people love the songs you write?
CAZZI: It feels amazing! I mean, first when you get your song pitched and then chosen as the title track, it such an amazing feeling. The other writers of Peek-a-boo (Moonshine and Ellen Berg) and I were like “OMG!” when we first heard that it got picked. And then on top of that, when you get to see the reactions of the fans, it’s really amazing. And some fans really make an effort in finding out information about the songs they like and who wrote them, so it’s really so sweet when you get nice messages and comments from them.
You just released your new single “Wild Ones”, can you tell us a little bit about what inspired it and what it’s about?
CAZZI:At the core it’s about being brave enough to be yourself. To not let fears of judgment control you, or trying to conform to society’s expectations. To me a “Wild One” can be anyone who breaks free from something that is holding them back. It could be someone who quits their office job to follow their dream, breaks up with someone who isn’t good for them, or someone who’s been in the closet for a long time and finally decides to come out. In big ways or small, I think we all have a “Wild One” inside of us who wants to be set free.
What was the process of writing it?
CAZZI: This song is really special to me. It honestly came together in just a few minutes, almost like it was given to me, so that I could share it. I don’t know if this sounds corny, but when we were recording it in the studio, everyone just started crying. It was a really liberating and special experience. I hope that others who hear it can be touched, and feel like it’s written for them as well.
Is it different writing songs for others and for yourself?
CAZZI: The process in itself I guess is similar, but then sometimes you just feel like “this is my song” and I need to record it myself. Writing songs for other artists, especially at writing camps, you often know what artist you are writing for or what type of song they want. Maybe they say “Ok, today we want you to write for X-group” and so you know what they usually like, and what their fans like, and what matches their voices, style, and number of people in the group, so you write a song based on all those things.
Are there any specific topics that you feel strongly for, and that you want to write more music about in the future?
CAZZI: In general I really feel strongly for things like acceptance for other people, cultures, preferences, sexuality and so on. I always try to write songs that are both meaningful and entertaining. I’m also very drawn to the “forbidden” or “abnormal” topics so I guess there will be more of that — when it comes to the songs I preform myself at least.
What are your plans and hopes for 2018?
CAZZI:I hope that more people will listen to my music, and I hope I get to work with a lot more great artists and songwriters. I’m going to LA January or February for songwriting work, and then I’m going to China in March. That’s all I know for now. It would be great to have more time to explore next time I’m in Korea!!
Follow Cazzi Opeia on Instagram!