I was so excited to interview Alba, the week's artist in Ylex Noste! We met in Bar Kuka, Turku during an open mic night and the swirling concoction of random artists from all over the world landed us in a new blossoming friendship. I never knew our mutual interests would lead us to this interview but it did since Alba is a talented musician (with a very talented dog called Onni).
Surprisingly, I met Alba on my way to the avenue and we entered together. Inside, I gazed wonderingly at the beautiful lights in Tiirikkala surrounding us as we sat down to enjoy the beverages we ordered. Light music gracefully sailed into the background and her kind voice broke my trance. When we got to chatting I realised her work and our mutual interests in music was a profoundly interesting topic, but as was expected our cameraman felt left out and tried to crack jokes, we brushed him aside playfully like a duo of spice girls and that helped break the ice and set the mood for the conversation.
As our photographer moved silently and worked in the background I proceeded to interview Alba. This interview is published today in the form of an edited dialogue without cutting relevant information to satisfy the reader.
Hey Alba, so cool that you're this week's artist at YleX Noste! How does it feel?
- It feels really good. Very gratifying since I haven't had a radio gig before and this was a great surprise.
How does it work? How do you submit your work? Do they contact you?
- My manager has contacts and he sent my new song to the radio producer or someone who's handling these things. The surprising part is that my song was played already on Thursday when it was submitted so we had a good feeling that I would get the spot as the rising artist.
Wow! How did you enter the world of music? Where did it all start?
- I've always been interested in music since my mother is a music teacher. I guess that spark started at primary school where we had to rewrite lyrics for a song in a music class. My group got Beatles' "Yesterday" and we rewrote the lyrics in Finnish and performed it in front of the class. Everybody was so excited after our performance. Everybody was complementing my song and my voice. I wasn't used to that kind of attention and I realized later that this is something that I could be good at and stand out in.
I played the violin and went to all of the music classes. On top of that, I sang in two different choirs. In secondary school, I got introduced to the guitar and that's when I knew, the guitar was my instrument. Since then I haven't played the violin.
At the age of fourteen, my music teacher told me if I wanna be an artist I would have to write my own material. I thought I could be like JLo or Britney Spears where I could have a songwriter, but she said no, do it yourself!
(Alba and I noticed during the conversation that we both loved JLo in our teens. You can see my excitement in the picture. I suddenly had flashbacks of my childhood surrounded by JLo's music and my inner child came out.)
Which artist would you dine with if you had the chance?
- I'd love to meet Max Martin, he's a famous Swedish songwriter who's written famous hits for Kate Perry, Britney Spears and other famous artists. I would just like to see him work, and not necessarily have dinner with him. I'm really interested in his method of working. He was very focused.
Max Martin has a really fresh grip on the subject and he is not very public. In one of his interviews, I heard that money was not the most important thing but the important thing was to keep the work fresh. He also emphasised how fun it was to work in that way and that makes all the difference in the world.
Describe your music.
- My music is bipolar, electropop. It started with acoustic folky pop with the guitar but eventually, it evolved into electronic. In the future, I hope to have a combination of the two, but I can't let go of any one of them that is why it will be a bit bipolar. Just like my new song, Dirty Tears it is a melancholic song, but I still made it danceable.
What is your inspiration?
- My inspiration is playlists from Spotify especially, female Nordic artists. Lena Marlin is one of my favourites. She has a lovely voice and I love her songwriting, she is the original inspiration for my music. There are more artists on that list, one of them being Astrid S, Sigrid etc...
Is there a hidden message in Dirty Tears?
- There is no direct message. It is pretty metaphoric though, about feelings which I was going through in contrast to Diamonds and Cash (my previous song where I embraced my newer, uglier side).
What is your favourite song at the moment?
- Prism of Love by Blakey, it appeared in one of the playlists I was listening to. I have a despicable habit of overplaying a favourite until I resent it. By this time next week, I'm probably never listening to it again. I have a list I update with what I currently listen to.
What are your goals for this year?-Write more songs, be more authentic. I have more about crazy real and honest songs, also drafts about other things going on in my mind.
I have been teaching songwriting since the beginning of this year. I ask my students to dare to let every crazy aspect of themselves out and I followed my own advise as a result. It made me look at myself in the mirror too.
Thank you Alba for your time! Let's finish off this interview by listening to Dirty Tears!