"If it’s written in the stars", says a Bulgarian proverb. In a time shaped by uncertainty and disintegrating securities, trusting in the stars doesn’t seem too far fetched. "Last year, every conversation I had ended with this sentence ", Dena explains, "before I had the album, I already had the title. It’s about believing and trusting in universal connections, trusting that everything will fall into place, eventually."
And all has indeed fallen into place: Four years after her début Flash, If It’s Written marks a new chapter in Dena’s musical and personal development. The product of major transformations in her life and work, If It’s Written is the work of a grown-up woman who has taken matters into her own hands. The record is a celebration of individuality and independence, for the first time Dena has taken over producing the majority of the tracks herself. "For me, this is major progress", she says, "from writing the first song for this album to this point, it’s been such a journey." It took two different versions and four mixes, but now that circle came to a closing and If It’s Written is ready to be released unto the world.
Inviting friends to collaborate on her very own terms, Dena created her own universe: features include the laid back So Wrong, a duet with Canadian indie-crooner par excellence Sean Nicholas Savage, or the serene Things That Mean A Lot, recorded with Filipino cool cats Eyedress & Rhxanders, beautifully describing the emptiness just before a relationship falls apart. Other guests include Berlin-based Argentinian singer Pictorial Candi on the outro If It’s Written or longtime collaborator and friend Erlend Øye on the minimal and bone-dry Speculations.
The music scene of Berlin’s infamous Neukölln district was highly influential for Dena: "It was so inspiring to be surrounded by all this DIY-spirit". This has left its mark on If It’s Written, which she calls her "laptop-album", as she often sang directly into the computer microphone while producing the songs. No grand set-ups needed, just her, her ideas, and trust in her own plan.
Fittingly, telecommunication, computers, smartphones, and all those gadgets were not only tools to produce the songs on If It’s Written, but also a major theme in Dena’s writing. "We’re all woven into one big text message", she muses, "the album is about us and communication." Or its absence, as the cleverly reduced HMU or the funky Fuck It describe. What happens to feelings once all our interactions have been digitalised? Dena doesn’t know either: "I mean, has anyone ever written a song that’s not about feelings?" Maybe not, but few nail emotions in the digital age as beautifully as Dena does.