INNA is an international EDM phenomenon from Romania. His house-influenced dance records have brought clubs, speakers, airwaves and concertgoers around the world to life for years.
For the European icon, it all started with a 2009 hit record titled ‘Hot’. In 2012, INNA became the first European woman to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. She currently has over 3.5 billion views on YouTube, more than Madeon (311 million), Flume (981 million), Kylie Minogue (820 million) and Diplo (960 million) combined.
Not bad for a singer from a small seaside town in Romania.
Statistics and facts aside, INNA just wants to make people happy through their music. Although the nature of dance music relies on people feeling and expressing emotions, INNA songs send a special kind of dopamine to the brain. With every note and word, she transfers some of her happiness to the listeners like an electric current, like when she released her seventh studio album. Heart Breakerwhich was written and produced in three weeks during the pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with EDM.com, INNA sheds light on the album, the EDM scene in Romania and the sultry music video for its single “Maza Jaja”. She also tells us how she manages bad moods, avoids controversy and operates like a multilingual artist.
EDM.com: How are you and how is life in Romania at the moment?
INNA: I’m fine thank you. Right now, life is slowly returning to normal. We no longer wear masks on the street. Restaurants, theaters and cinemas are open. The shows are starting and it’s really exciting for us as artists.
EDM.com: Congratulations on the release of Heart Breaker! Can you tell us what elements make the album a special album in your discography?
INNA: I’m happy to Heart Breaker. It’s a special project that we did in a very crazy way. Three weeks, a house, talented producers and songwriters who are my friends, and my team at Global Records.
We all got together and started working on the music, but we also had fun and documented each day on my social media. It was a wild ride, but in the end I have 10 songs and an album that I’m proud of.
EDM.com: The music video for “Maza Jaja” is finally out. What can you tell us about the disc?
INNA: This is one of the songs that also had such good feedback from the public. It was also one of the songs that I wrote super super fast and we all started dancing like crazy. We immediately loved it!
EDM.com: Where was the video shot?
INNA: We shot the video for “Maza Jaja” in Dubai, where we also shot the video for “Flashbacks”. We had so much fun, this is one of my favorite videos I’ve done lately.
EDM.com: Your music videos are so creative! Do you play a role in the direction and aesthetics of your videos?
INNA: I’m so glad you said that because I’m very involved in the creative process with my amazing team at NGM Creative! I love our brainstorming sessions, but I also like to be surprised by their cool ideas and concepts. It’s dream teamwork.
EDM.com: You have such a lively personality and lifestyle. How do you deal with mood swings?
INNA: Thank you very much! I also have a bad mood, rarely, bad days. But I try to stay surrounded by my friends, nice people. I try to go into the studio and turn that vibe into a song maybe. I do things I love like skateboarding, walking, maybe taking a spontaneous trip or watching a movie.
EDM.com: You’ve been a public figure for over 10 years and you’ve brought nothing but good vibes to the industry. How to avoid controversy?
INNA: I just focus on my music, my mission and my plan to make people happy through my songs. And because… that’s who I am! I like to travel, to love and feel loved, to focus on my passions. These are my main priorities. So no time for arguments.
EDM.com: Let’s talk a bit about the music scene in Romania. Besides you, which Romanian EDM artists are making waves in the country?
INNA: Minelli, Sickotoy, Vanotek and Bastard to name a few. Really happy for them, they have worked very hard for the past few years.
EDM.com: For readers who would like to visit Romania, how can they discover the country’s rich EDM scene?
INNA: Well, in Romania we have important festivals like Untold, Neversea and SAGA Festival which will take place this year in Bucharest for the first time. If the pandemic eases a bit, you can enjoy some great shows here in Romania. I hope we will meet soon in my country!
EDM.com: How many languages do you speak? And how do they influence your music?
INNA: I speak English, Spanish, Romanian, a little French. I also speak a few words in Italian, Arabic and Russian. It helped me to create music in other languages besides my mother tongue and it also made it easy for me to connect with different countries and peoples. It’s amazing how music brings us together.
EDM.com: Do you think the treatment you receive as an international dance artist differs from your American and British counterparts?
INNA: I’m lucky to have a lot of support for me as an artist and for my music too. I tend not to focus on that, I believe a good song changes everything, a worldwide hit. And I work for it.
EDM.com: Since the release of “Hot,” you’ve had the world dancing. Although you have always wanted to make music, have you always been focused on creating dance records?
INNA: It came naturally that way because I’m very energetic. I love this genre, it suits me and I’ve worked with a lot of producers who have been inspired to create dance songs for me.
But I always experimented and tried different genres. I wrote an entire album in more Latino Spanish, I made feature films with DJs and artists, because music is universal and I like to taste its flavors.
EDM.com: We know you’re always working on something new. Do we have a musical project from you this year?
INNA: Yes of course. In fact, I did a lot of studio work for new music. Over the past month, I’ve released a lot of songs that I hope you’ll enjoy listening to. The first was “Cool me Down” with Gromee, the main Polish DJ… a summer song.
After that, I released “Oh My God”, a song I wrote and recorded during lockdown. I also shot the lyric video at the time, but it hasn’t seen the light of day until now. And of course, a big collaboration with Alok and SOFI TUKKER which I’m always super excited about. It’s called “It Don’t Matter” and it’s a crazy song that makes me dream of concerts on big stages.
EDM.com: If you hadn’t made all those exciting dance songs, what career path would you have taken?
INNA: Well, I studied political science, but for sure, I would not have followed this career (laughs). I’m passionate about photography, makeup, hair, fashion and I love being the voice of cartoon characters.
EDM.com: What countries are you looking forward to playing in once the global pandemic subsides a bit?
INNA: I would travel everywhere. I’m super excited to get back on stage, travel the world, meet my fans and maybe go to countries I’ve never been to before. I really miss my fans, their energy and the way music brings us all together.
EDM.com: You travel a lot and have spent time exploring many parts of the world. What are your top 5 travel destinations?
INNA: Costa Rica, Maldives, Japan, Mexico, Spain, USA, and many more.
EDM.com: Your Instagram is full of great content. What are your tips for taking perfect Instagram photos?
INNA: I really appreciate your kind words! I’m really passionate about Instagram and I also take photos so I try to find cool ideas, enjoy all the places I travel, the people I meet, the beautiful experiences I have in my life. I don’t know if I have any advice. Just make sure you have a good camera or phone, some imagination, and some ideas that represent your style.
EDM.com: What is the one thing that everyone assumes about you that isn’t correct or true?
INNA: That I have cosmetic surgeries (laughs). In fact, I answered a lot of myths about myself in one of my Dance Queen’s House vlogs on YouTube. Enjoy!