Luna Keller is a German-based indie singer/songwriter who has discovered music’s genuine ability to heal. We have been following her work for quite a while now, and thought it was time to get to know the artist a bit better. With a brand new tune that will form part of her upcoming concept album, we were delighted that she was keen to chat with us!
Diving into her deeply personal new single ‘Swallow The Sea’, giving us the lowdown of just how the aforementioned concept album all came together, and letting us in on who she’s been listening to lately, please give a big welcome to our friend Luna Keller!
Hey Luna! Wow! Where do I even begin? I recently mentioned that I’ve been following your musical career for so long now that it almost feels like I know you personally! For those, however, who have yet to discover your musical prowess, how would you describe your overall sound and style?
Hey Jeremy! First of all thanks for having me and for being such a wonderful support on my music journey so far. I would say my style has changed a bit over time, I was more in a folk-pop genre and now I am leaning in a bit more into indie folk. But I’ve always been under the singer/songwriter umbrella. I am first and foremost a storyteller and I often draw from personal experience so my songs are deeply connected to me as a person. I like to call them friends and I hope that’s what they can be to others as well.
As usual, you’ve knocked it out of the park with your brand new single ‘Swallow The Sea’. It’s one of the most moving and emotive pieces of music I’ve heard in some time. I know that it thematically deals with depression and the struggles of mental health, but what more would you like to tell our audience about the song?
Thank you for the kind words, it’s quite a personal one and I am really proud of how it turned out. There are many layers to struggling with depression but one of the heaviest ones for me was the shame, the fear that if those around me knew about my struggle they would see me differently and reject me. That’s why it takes so long to reach out and get the help needed, putting up a facade and “swallowing the sea” is easier than facing that fear. It’s not rational – once I did reach out all I got was love and support, but it feels really heavy.
That’s what the song is about and I hope that maybe it can reach the right people and let them know that they are not alone, that they are loved and that the image they see of themselves is heavily distorted by depression. Our shadows don’t make us less worthy of love and support.
‘Swallow The Sea’ will also form part of your upcoming concept album ‘Ocean Inside Of Me’, a record that you’ve successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign. How does it feel to have the backing of so many loving fans?
It’s honestly hard to find words for how amazing it feels. Not just as an artist who gets to make an album backed by such an incredible community, but also as a person. This album came from the darkest chapter in my life, one I felt really ashamed of at the time. To share this part of my story with my community and for them to say “We see you and we believe in you” is deeply healing. Being this open about my struggles has been scary at times, but every time I took a leap I’ve received nothing but love and support. The gratitude I feel for that almost doesn’t fit inside my chest.
Please tell us everything about ‘Ocean Inside Of Me’! I know you’ve described it as “a journey from darkness to light and self-love’, and I’m curious about the creative process behind crafting such a deeply introspective album.
It all started in 2019. I was sitting by the ocean close to my hometown in Tenerife after a tough day. Everything I held back through the day came out of me in the form of tears and some lyrics written into my phone.
“Night cover me in darkness
take the blue from my sky
Stars be my witnesses
you have seen me cry
when the ocean inside of me flooded my eyes”
The next day I added music to them and the title track was born. At the same time, I had the idea to make an album to process all my sadness. Writing the songs for this album became a lifeline for me. I wrote over 30 songs which often said the words I didn’t dare to speak at the time. The idea grew with me as I got the help I needed and started my recovery.
In 2021 I brought Dominic Romano on board as producer. I sent him all the songs and together we went through them to choose the right ones to tell the story. The result is 10 songs that each talk about a different facet of struggling with depression and finding my way back to self-love.
I have been passionate about filmmaking since my art school times and I had the dream of making interconnected music videos for the songs to tell the story. I reached out to videographer and friend Pol Camarero and with his encouragement took on the biggest project of my career. Thanks to Kickstarter and some amazing friends it worked out and we filmed 10 music videos in 6 days in Latvia and Spain. It was an incredible adventure!
I know you said to tell you everything but I’ll wrap it up haha! ‘Ocean Inside Of Me’ is the best thing I have ever made. It means the world to me and getting to share a song + video from it every month makes me very happy.
What keeps you motivated and passionate about continuing to create and perform music?
Songwriting is something I have done since I was a kid – making up lyrics for the lizards in our garden. I don’t write to release songs, I write to process emotions and communicate with myself. So I stay motivated by my connection to music and myself through it. That’s how I’ve written over 500 songs and will continue to add to the list.
Making a living as a full-time artist is another story. I have to wear many hats! Some I love like performing, connecting with people and traveling. Others like marketing, contracts and admin aren’t so much fun. What keeps me motivated there is the joy of connecting with others. The indie music community is amazing, we all support each other and a rising tide raises all ships!
Then there is the connection to my audience through music, the feeling that my music has a positive impact on people’s lives. My songs have been played at weddings and funerals, they have been the soundtrack of beautiful but also hard moments. Music has saved my life and knowing that mine can be a friend to others in a similar way fulfils me deeply. Amanda Palmer summed it up really well, she said: “ I see you, you see me, thank you” and the beauty of that exchange keeps me going even through moments of doubt.
If I stole your cell phone and opened Spotify (or your streaming service of choice), who would I see under your recently played section?
I actually just opened it to check! My most recent play is the new collab by Clouds and Thorns and The Satellite Station, it’s called ‘Gold’ and it’s a fantastic track! In second place is the official playlist of my radio show “Why Doesn’t Everyone Know These Songs?” where I only feature indie artists, top names on that are &Tilly, Lucie Glang, Dominic Romano, Mats Dernand, Adam Kirkup and Ricky Reilly. And in third place, we have one of the best albums of all time, ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon.
What, to you, is music’s role in society?
I think music has many different roles and is experienced differently by each person. For some it’s entertainment or a soundtrack, for others, it goes way deeper. To me music is a healer and brings people together, it allows us to communicate feelings that words can’t really describe. It allows us to feel understood and seen, it breaks down walls and opens doors. And how we listen to music also tells us a lot about society. It changes alongside society and becomes a record of our progress and our mistakes. So yeah, really hard to reduce music to one role, it has many pretty big ones.
Luna, I can’t thank you enough for your time, and I cannot wait to hear the full album! Do you have any words of wisdom that you’d like to leave us with?
Thanks for having me! As for words of wisdom I’d say be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be present. As a full-time indie artist, I could always do more and it’s easy to get lost in goals and expectations. But in the end, it all keeps coming back to how wonderful the journey is when you give yourself time to stop here and there and enjoy the view. I’ve been mildly obsessed with ‘Jump In The Water’, a song by Scott & Young. There’s a line in that song: “The time is right, take the time you need” that sums it up quite well. Letting go of expectations and opening up to the possibilities has made me a much happier person.