Birthplace and date: 18 February 1988, Tammisaari

Place of Residence: Helsinki

Education: Sound engineer

Family: Three sisters, mom, dad

First record I bought was... Oh my! The very first? I can’t remember! I should probably check it out from my record shelf.

Right now I’m reading... No Logo. Still.

As a child I wanted to be... A singer. As a kid I told my mother, “Just to let you know, I’m going to be a singer.”

Singer-songwriter Frida Andersson’s star is not so much on the rise as it is shooting straight up. Last year she made a splash in the airwaves with her debut single Messed Up Little Kid. In September she released her first album, a compilation of beautiful country and soul-tinged songs, written by Andersson herself and top Finnish tunesmiths like Teemu Brunila and Anna Eriksson.

Besides her angelic features, honeyed vocals and enchanting stage presence, Andersson’s determination and passion for music have made the young artist one of the most promising newcomers to enter the talent-hungry Finnish pop scene. Next up, the 21-year-old Finland-Swedish songstress is gearing up to take on the rest of the Nordic countries.

You recently performed in a prison. What was that about?

It was organised by Bumerang, a programme on Radio X3M. I went over and ten prisoners were sitting in the audience, and everybody was wearing Santa hats. It was a really intimate gig, I did around seven songs. I remember that after the first song one of the prisoners was crying and left the room. At first I was just wondering, what’s going on here? But then I thought it’s actually really wonderful that he was so moved by the music. It was a nice gig, only a bit strange.

Your native tongue is Swedish but you make songs in English. Why is that?

I feel it’s only natural. When I listen to music I practically only listen to English stuff. And it would feel strange to sing in Finnish, since it’s not my first language. I did write one song in Swedish, but English comes more naturally to me at the moment.

Is your family very musical?

Oh yes. I’ve sung with my father and my sisters ever since I was a little kid; our mother is the only one who doesn’t sing. I co-wrote a song on the album with my father. He was, and still is, a touring troubadour. In the 1970s he sang in a duo together with his brother: they were called Uffe & Bosse. In fact, I spent a lot of my childhood on stage with my father.

So I guess you don’t suffer from stage fright, then?

No, not really. I’ve always figured that even the worst thing that could happen isn’t really that bad. You can always make a joke of it and laugh it off. It’s only human to make mistakes.

You studied performing arts in Stockholm. What kind of training was it?

I moved to Stockholm after upper secondary school to study at the Kulturama School of Performing Arts. I was in the singer/songwriter programme. Basically we wrote a lot of songs for one year. It was the year off of my dreams! We were a group of about ten students altogether. We performed our songs to the rest of the group and received direct feedback. It was great! I mean, I was grilled pretty hard on that stage, but at the same time it really built up my confidence.

Right now you’re studying in Helsinki to become a sound engineer. Do you think that will help you in your career as a musician?

I think it will. Of course my career as an artist is “Plan A,” and that’s what I’m banking on 100 per cent now. But I’ve also bought a studio at home, and as a singer-songwriter I think it will be easier to record, mix and do everything on my own. Up until now I’ve only recorded draft versions of songs by myself and then sent them to Hannu Korkeamäki, my producer. With the album I was involved every step of the way, looking over Hannu’s shoulder.

When you write songs, do you start with the music or the lyrics?

Usually the music comes first. It’s easier that way. You can always fine-tune the lyrics, and it takes a lot of time to get them right. The melody often comes quite fast and so does a rough idea for the text, but tweaking and adjusting the words is more time-consuming. It would be fun to start with the lyrics sometimes, though.

Your career seems to have gotten off to a flying start. What’s next in line for you?

Well, I now have a band, although I still sometimes perform solo, or with a guitarist only. Next up is Sweden; I’m going to do a promotional tour there hopefully in January through February. Also this year I’ll do shows in Norway and Denmark. I’m shooting a video for the track Busy Missing You. There’s a lot going on in January. But one of the things I really love about the music business is that you never know what tomorrow might bring.

Frida Andersson
Matti Koskinen