Releasing My Second Single "Portugal"

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Dear Marie, Henning, José, Anelya, and Dominik,

Remember our road trip to Porto in 2016 when we ended up dancing in that techno dungeon? I snuck out after an hour.

It was 4:30 AM, and I found myself sitting on the windowsill of our Airbnb, overlooking the rooftops of Porto. A melody began to emerge, marking the birth of what I today release as my second single: "Portugal."

“Portugal” is a song that embodies my longing for solitude, a silent sanctuary where I can reconnect with the serene moments granted by my visits there.

The Sound

Initially, I envisioned "Portugal" with a modest ensemble, perhaps featuring a harmonium or accordion played by a character straight out of a Portuguese folktale. 

In my imagination, the accordion player had to have a pointy mustache.

However, as the production unfolded, the song took a different trajectory. We introduced pedal steel, played by the exceptional guitarist Boti Ikvai-Szabo. With the subtle backing of my band, it gave the piece a more spacious and airy atmosphere. What I thought would be a harmonium turned into a cello.

I really had to practice the guitar for this song. The guitar melody flows around the vocals in a way that I had to submit it into muscle memory. The performance would fall apart whenever I consciously thought about what my fingers were doing.

One of my favorite moments in the song is the drop before the last chorus—it wasn't planned, but it emerged organically the band left a tiny moment of quiet. The pause allows the song to breathe, creating a sense of release when the band returns with a different drum pattern.

The Lyrics

At the time of our Portugal trip, I was in the midst of forming a band back in Berlin. My bandmate Dan helped me write parts of the lyrics to “Portugal”. He claims to have penned the line “rejuvenate my weary soul”. It was a line I had always held close, believing I had crafted it myself—one of those lines that felt like a true reflection of my experiences. To this day, it stirs a hint of insecurity in me: what I thought had been masterfully written by me might actually be Dan’s idea. Ah, the joys and jolts of creative collaboration! Dan is a wonderful soul.

My lyrics sheet.

The Artwork's Journey

The initial artwork concept for "Portugal" was inspired by the night skyline of Porto as seen from my window—the same view that accompanied the song’s first hummed notes.

Prompting DALL·E to capture my emotional landscape proved difficult. The initial visuals felt too precise, too scientific, failing to embody the song's theme of longing for serenity.

I turned to nature depictions, hoping to inspire DALL·E by referencing the  Japanese masterpiece “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. All I got was tsunami vibes. 

Give it to me, AI aficionados: how could I have prompted differently?

So, finally, I took a chance and asked to paint a coastline reminiscent of old Portuguese art. This approach transformed the artwork, moving from a literal depiction to something that resonated more with the abstract qualities of longing and nostalgia.


  • Vocals & Acoustic Guitar: Julius Bachmann

  • Electric Guitar: Tal Arditi

  • Bass: Athanasios Karakantas

  • Drums: Rafat Muhammad

  • Pedalsteel: Boti Ikvai-Szabo

  • Cello: Sofia Efkleidou

  • Production: Charis Karantzas

  • Arrangements: Athanasios Karakantas

And, if you have read through all of this and still haven’t listened to the song: here is a teaser video from the recording studio!