Salem Ilese Writes a Song For the New Year
When she was 9 years old, salem ilese started writing her own songs. Eventually, she decided to go to a songwriting camp. At the camp, she was able to work with professional writers and had some really great experiences. She also made a friend, songwriter-producer Bendik Moller.
In 2018, Salem blew up on TikTok with her breakout single “Mad at Disney.” The track takes a playful jab at Disney’s obsession with creating unrelatable fairytale endings and portraying women as people in need of rescue. The song has been viewed over 2.5 million times on the platform and continues to gain steam, garnering millions of streams across Spotify and TikTok.
The 21-year-old Californian singer isn’t just a talented artist; she’s also an insightful writer and activist. She has used her voice to promote causes she’s passionate about, such as gun control and reproductive rights. She’s even raised money for these causes through her music.
During her time at Berklee College of Music in Boston, she learned from legendary songwriter Bonnie Hayes, whose credits include Cher and Bette Midler. The Berklee alumna’s instruction was instrumental in helping Salem find her voice as a songwriter.
After two years of studying with Hayes, Salem moved to Los Angeles to pursue her music career full-time. Once there, she began to attend songwriting sessions with other artists and producers seven days a week.
For salem ilese, writing is her passion and she’s constantly thinking of new ideas for songs. She says her songs “always have to be fresh and original, but with a touch of pop culture in them.”
In addition to working on her own music, Salem spends her free time writing for other artists, such as Surfaces and Bella Poarch. She recently co-wrote “Come With Me” for Surfaces, which has accumulated over 7 million streams on Spotify, and she’s written Bella’s smash hit “Build A Bitch.”
Along with her writing career, Salem has embraced her social media presence. She’s a TikTok star with over 3.8 million followers on the platform, and has been known to share her own stories through the medium.
She’s also worked with Russian protest punk-rock group Pussy Riot to write songs and record an EP called MATRIARCHY NOW. The project was a success, and in just 24 hours they’ve raised over $169,000 for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
As she prepares to release her upcoming EP, Unsponsored Content, Salem plans on using her voice and platform to continue promoting causes that are important to her. She has recently begun sharing her songs on social media to raise awareness about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning Roe v. Wade. She’s also launched her own initiative, ‘Moment of Silence,’ to raise awareness and support for the causes she believes in.