Get a record deal? It’s not as difficult as some think. Just ask for it. Wilhelmina did it. Wrote to the three biggest record companies in the country.
“Without having management or thinking about it,” she says. Everyone – Sony, Warner and Universal – invited the singer. She introduced her music. “And I showed a video about who I am and what I do.” It worked. She is now signed to Warner Music.
Wilhelmine, who was born in Berlin in 1990, caught the eye of the live audience elsewhere, apart from at city festivals: in the bar of every reason. There she has been appearing regularly for two years with her biographical song program “My Story in Songs”. As one of the youngsters. Such tokens of trust are important when building a career, she says. “It’s something else when a management team like Lutz Deisinger and Franziska Kessler from the bar says: We believe that you fill the evening with content.” And when people come.
She has already made the leap into the double-sized tipi at the Chancellery. And not only that, her love ballad “Eins sein”, which went viral on social media in 2021, earned her an invitation to the ARD show “Inas Nacht”. The in-house morning magazine woke up the year before and invited her to the show with the song “As long as you move”. Not bad for a newcomer.
Wilhelmine’s cheerful German pop, which relies entirely on emotional lyrics, catchy melodies and danceable beats, hits a nerve. And she gets along with people. Because she wants to be able to be with them. “Love” is the programmatic lettering on her baseball cap, which she wears when meeting in a Kreuzberg café. Wilhelmine seems approachable and smart, but by no means bold.
She looks happy. Her first tour with a band went well. Everything is sold out. “6000 people wanted to see me in different cities.” For the “Come as you are” tour, which will only start in June accompanied by their guitarist, there are similar signs: Hamburg, Dresden, Munich and many other cities are sold out. But on August 12th at the Bergfunk Festival in Königs Wusterhausen, there’s still something going on.
Wilhelmine is happy about the encouragement. Below their video clips are comments adorned with hearts, like this one: “One always feels at home in your songs. Hearing and seeing you always feels like jumping onto a wave of energy, flying to you and finding yourself in the process.”
That’s exactly what their feel-good songs and courage songs are all about: motivation, acceptance. Self-love pop, encouragement pop, she also calls it and talks about her online engagement. “Social media allows people to see behind the scenes of the music industry,” she believes. So she shares songs, films herself making music.
The artist writes for a music publisher, networks at industry meetings and praises her lawyer, who always gives her the final decisions, for his watertight contracts. Her constant stream of posts and clips on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook and the Corona idea of setting up a fan club on her website has given Wilhelmine a community. Young women in their 20s and early 30s.
This also has to do with the fact that Wilhelmine is part of the queer community. A lesbian musician who campaigns for diversity and against discrimination and sings to women in her videos and love songs with the most beautiful naturalness. The times when this kind of openness was classified as damaging to sales by major labels are obviously over. Nevertheless, when it comes to homosexual German-speaking singers, only Kerstin Ott comes to mind and maybe Becks.
Wilhelmine doesn’t want to be a model lesbian. “But definitely a role model.” At 15, when she came out, there weren’t any people in public singing about same-sex love. “The fact that I didn’t have these role models as a teenager was my main motivation to want to become one myself.” She’s thought about it, she says, relaxed. “But even if it were, I still feel valued and heard.”
That is the most important thing for Wilhelmine, who not only sings love songs, but also dramas of self-discovery, about experiences of discrimination and the childhood trauma of alcohol addiction in the family. She grew up free. First in Kreuzberg in a squat, then with the anti-nuclear parents in Wendland. She discovered singing at school at the age of eleven, the music teacher encouraged her, later she gained performance experience in a cappella singing with a group of girls.
She plays in a football club, has success. But after her outing, players from the opposing team suddenly no longer want to go into a changing room with her. Once a plastic bottle was even thrown at her and her friend in the mall. Something characterizes.
“Why is my love worth your talk?” she asks angrily in 2019’s first official single “Meine Liebe”. And “Come as you are” is a diversity anthem that invites everyone to identify. All doubters and lovesick of every gender.
This also applies to the two pre-released singles from Wilhelmine’s debut album “Wind”, which will be released on September 23: “Besonders” and above all the funky dancefloor number “An all these days” meet all the requirements of mainstream pop that can be singed along. With the lines “On all these days / When you doubt, when everything inside you / somehow breaks down again” and later “Let’s dance like never before / As if nobody sees us”, the song touches the heart, caresses the forehead and bouncing like crazy. Empowerment must be danceable. Wilhelmine understood.