Skip to main content

Tomorrow, at the Scandinavian House in New York: an interview.

I'd like to say (at first) that the Scandinavian House newsletter got their information wrong! Ms. Larsson, a lovely and rare breed of singer-songwriter, is a New Yorker now as opposed to...someone that lives in Helsinki.

She will be performing a concert tomorrow night at New York's Scandinavian House at 7 p.m. as part of their "Nordic Summer Jam." Tickets are $8 for members and $10 for all other plebeians. 

Ms. Larsson's road to success has been an interesting one, surely. As a Scandinavian, she is described as having a strong interest in "form and aesthetics." Musically, what does that translate to? While her influences are global, her own sound is solely unique.

She's originally from the university town of Uppsala in Sweden (I think this is about an hour or so from Stockholm) and studied classical musical in the Czech Republic for a bit. During this time, by performing at night clubs, she discovered a love of jazz. In 2003 though, she made the move to Finland.

Larsson's first album, Irie Butterflies, was recorded and released during this time period and managed to do well for itself. At the same time she was working on forming the album, she also took on the esteemed role as a jazz educator. About this, Larsson said:  "Teaching makes you humble. It's very rewarding to help people pursue their dreams."

Upon simply listening to her music, it's hard to pinpoint a specific influence. She comes across as this medley of jazz and various beats, intense and emotional and warm. Her bio claims she draws mostly from the "American" jazz tradition, but there's other sounds falling into there as well. 

Let It Go is her latest album, released in 2010. Since making it in Helsinki and releasing it off the Imogena Record label. You can download some songs/samples on her website, to get a real taste of what I'm talking about. 

I asked Ms. Larsson a few questions about her musical process and also any notable cultural experience she may have had, seeing as she has led a fairly international lifestyle!

You are (were*) a Swede living in Finland. What's that experience like? Does it come out in your music?

 Emma:  I moved from Sweden to Finland when I graduated from college in Sweden. It was only gonna be for a year or so, but I ended up staying there for 7 years(!) Finland is quite different from many other places... I think it might come out in certain tunes; feeling lonely or 'blue'... I actually wrote the lyrics to "Busy Being Blue" in northern Finland.  Well... I'm actually living here in NYC now... I finally moved to New York in December 2010, and it's a great experience and challenge.

How would you describe your music to someone unfamiliar with it? I've seen terms such as "jazz" and "post bop" in summaries dealing with your music- would you say that's on target?

Emma:  Definitely jazz. I'd like to think of it as modern jazz, due to the harmonies and forms. 
It seems like vocal jazz today mostly means singing jazz standards or more singer-song writer related material (although I might be wrong here...)

How was putting your last album together? Are you working on anything new at the moment?
My last album was composed in various places; from Finland to Africa to New the moment I'm writing music for my next album.

So if you're in the New York region tomorrow, be sure NOT to miss this concert! It should be great. I will be there!

(many thanks to Emma for doing this. )


Popular posts from this blog

"Anchors" - AM Higgins

Here's a nice breezy, almost sensual song from AM Higgins (the solo project of musician Annie Toth) to start your Tuesday off right.  Her debut album "Hymning" will be out November 5th on Victorialand Records. The album was mixed by Casey Foubert, a frequent collaborator of Sufjan Stevens. The album "captures the first years of moving from an American city to rural France." Sounds like "Hymning" will be a welcome escape from the world we live in right now, especially considering that Annie Toth counts poets Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton as influences.

"Happy New Year"- Let's Eat Grandma

There's no way to start the New Year like some extremely upbeat music about the New Year! That's where this new synthpop-heavy single from the British duo Let's Eat Grandma comes into play. It's a delightful song, and it helps increase any excitement about their third album, "Two Ribbons," which will be out this April. I personally am looking forward to hearing more from Let's Eat Grandma, who deserve way more attention than they currently get. Hopefully, 2022 will be a big year for them. Here's one of their older tracks I quite like:

3 New Lana Songs Come Out From Upcoming Album "Blue Banisters"

Not even that far off from "Chemtrails Over The Country Club" being released this past March, Lana Del Rey dropped three new singles off her upcoming project, "Blue Banisters." They include the title track, "Text Book," and "Wildflower Wildfire." All three songs seem to merge the worlds of "COCC" with "Norman Fucking Rockwell," specifically Lana's mouthful of a track "Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me To Have But I Have It." They also seem uncharacteristically more confessional than most of Lana's catalog to date, specifically "Wildflower Wildfire," which alludes to a conflict with her mother. She even starts the track with "Here's the deal," readying to show more of her backstory than she ever has in her decade-plus-long career. The three songs are gorgeous - especially "Text Book," which has a haunting quality to it (she mentions "Black Lives Matter" i