Maxim Meyer-Horn

21 May
Music

ALMA: “I’m Sick and Tired of Being Labeled All the Time!”

Scandinavia is known for having the best songwriters in the world and the Finish singer ALMA isn’t an exception. Since debuting with her first release in 2016, the artist with neon blonde hair has brought a new dimension to pop music and became one of the hottest upcoming acts in the pop industry. Four years after “Karma”, the singer finally releases her first album ‘Have U Seen Her?’, which is cyber-pop perfection. In our FaceTime interview, we talked about the album, being lonely sometimes, and working with Miley Cyrus.

You’re journey started in 2016 with “Karma”. How important is that song if you look back on these past years?

It’s a very important song for me and my career. Back then, I released the track without any plans and it kind of blew up on the internet. It was weird and a miracle, but it happened and it took me this far.

You’ve released an EP and many singles before you released your debut album. Did you release them to see what works?

I think I wanted to see what works for me because, in every aspect of my life, I want to do what works in that moment. By working and releasing the album, I found the sound of my music for the rest of my life. I say ‘the rest of my life’, but I’m actually always changing and try to become a better human I would say.

At first, I was putting singles out because we also live in this ‘single’ world. I don’t know why I didn’t put out an album before, but I released the EP, which I think is pretty cool!

How does Have U Seen Her? reflect your growth as an artist?

Have U Seen Her? is my story of growing up and is about finding myself, basically. The album is so important when I place it in the bigger picture of my life. Once I got stuck in this artist world that I’ve been living in for four years now, I’ve been so busy that I didn’t have time to figure out what I want to do and what my future plans are. By making the album, I really took my time to sit down and focus on my goals, who I want to be, and who my idols are. It’s a very personal and important album for me.

The album was recorded in Helsinki and Los Angeles. How did the contrast between both cities affect the outcome of your debut?

These four years, both cities have changed me a lot. LA has become a huge inspiration for me and I found the people who I want to work with. It became a home for me because I was more in LA than in my home country Finland. It was important for me to travel between those two places because both felt like home.

I wrote different kinds of songs in these two locations. In Helsinki, I was hanging with my family and friends, which inspired me to write about stuff that happened to me when I was a teenager, and memories came back. When I was in LA, I was this artist who wants to conquer the world and wrote from a different perspective. The album is just a mix between songs I wrote on these different locations in the world that have a different meaning for me.

You come from a small town in Finland but suddenly work with the biggest acts in the world. Are you sometimes overwhelmed?

It’s sometimes very hard and lonely to be the only one from Finland. But I really hope there will be more Finish artists so I can travel around the world with them or make music with them in Los Angeles. I think and hope that my career opens some doors for Finish artists and producers because the future looks good for them.

You’ve already written a bunch of songs. Do you think you have an instinct for making hits?

I just love to make songs that are real and bold. I’m not chasing for a hit, it’s more that I’m doing what the fuck I want. When I go to the studio, it’s all about the feelings and being real. Working with, for example, Miley Cyrus, she really likes the way I work because she’s also an artist that doesn’t give a damn and does what she wants in the moment. That’s probably also why I work well together with other artists because we never approach songwriting by thinking we want to make a hit. I always try to focus on the feelings and see where it goes.

Nowadays, you often collaborate with other songwriters to write a song. Is that easier for you or do you prefer writing on your own?

It depends. For example, “King Of The Castle” is a song I wrote 100% on my own but “LA Money” is written with a lot of songwriting friends. It totally depends on my mood because sometimes I want to be alone and do things on my own, but I also love to involve different perspectives. In the end, I’m not only making music for myself but also for people so they can relate to it.

“King Of The Castle” feels a bit like a metaphor of anxiety. What is the song about?

I think it’s about anxiety because I’ve got so many things in my life that I sometimes get overwhelmed. I still feel like a young kid that doesn’t have anything, but in the end I have so many things that it’s sometimes a lot to take. The song is also about the anxiety when you understand that you turn twenty and feel like you have to make it work in your career and start making your own money. I wish I could go back to when I was seventeen and not have any responsibilities. It’s kind of the anxiety of growing up.

In “Loser” you’re taking revenge on an article that stated you were a loser. Why did that trigger you to write a song about it?

I’m just sick and tired of being labeled all the time! In some articles, I’m the winner, and in others I’m the loser or they compare me with different artists. When I went into the studio that day, I was just extremely tired of reading all these things about me, so I was like: “I wanna be a loser!” because losers don’t have any responsibilities or anything they can lose.

Making the song, made me feel so much lighter and every time I feel that I’m under pressure, I tell myself that I can be a loser because it doesn’t matter. Obviously, the song is very ironic and a “Fuck You” to somebody, but I love the attitude of the song.

You have a very cool punk-inspired look. Where does your fascination for black and neon come from?

My mom is a fashion designer and she has always been dressing me and my sister up. She made us cool jackets and stuff like that, so I think our mom has always supported us to be different. When my sister and I were sixteen, we dyed our hair green and we were so scared that she would be like: “What have you done!?” It wasn’t common to have green hair, so we were a little bit afraid of her reaction but she loved it and said “That’s amazing! That’s the coolest hair I’ve ever seen.” The fascination has to come from my mom for sure.

In what other ways did she inspire you?

On many different levels. I have this personal song on the album called “Mama”, which I really love and made for her. She has always supported me and even though there were days where she was scared, because I didn’t graduate and was bad at school for example, she always saw something in me and supported me in my journey. She’s the best!

Has being an artist helped you to accept yourself or your struggles?

Yeah for sure! I have a very supportive community of fans that support me in whatever I do and that really helps me a lot. Sometimes, I’m scared to do something but it’s huge when they comment things like “That’s cool!” I also get so much energy from going on tour and I see people in the crowd going crazy and raving.

Now that the album is out, what are you working on next?

I’m currently planning to go to the studio next week and think that I’ll be releasing a lot of new music this year. All the shows are canceled, so I think that I’m just going to lock myself up in the studio for the whole summer to work on new songs!

ALMA’s debut album ‘Have U Seen Her?’ is out on all platforms and we recommend you to give it a listen.

 

 

Photo credits: Lusha Alic

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