This week we chat to a singer who got her big break when she was given a slot at the C2C Festival at the O2 Arena in London, performing with her new band to a full house on the Brooklyn Bowl Stage…
Who inspired you to go into the world of music?
My parents! There was always music playing in our house, a weird mix of Mozart, Michael Jackson, Simon and Garfunkel and Creedence. My mum encouraged me to start learning an instrument at a young age and I chose the piano. I also sang in the church choir from I was very little. I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t intend for me to pursue it as anything more than a hobby though. They probably regret getting me in to music now.
What made you choose Country music?
I always was a bit of a closet country fan. I listened to Dolly and Johnny Cash for a long time, but didn’t really know much about the more contemporary stuff. A friend of mine who knew I was writing songs told me I would love Carrie Underwood, so I started listening to her; and there was no turning back! I frantically started looking up all the songwriters that wrote for her, saw who else they were writing for, and I just kept on discovering more and more country music – it opened up a whole new world for me in terms of song writing. It felt like I had found the genre I wanted to be a part of. I started listening to country music radio practically 24/7, and that helped me find more and more new country artists. And the rest is history!
At what age did you want to become a singer?
I loved singing and it was just such a natural part of my life. I sang in choirs from I was five or six, and I was part of some pretty serious vocal groups, but I was extremely shy for most of my childhood and teenage years. I knew I could hold a note, but didn’t think I had much of a voice to be proud of. But I had a singing teacher who gave me the courage to perform solo, and from the moment I went on stage and performed without having a group of people to hide behind, I knew something had changed. It wasn’t just fun for me from then on, it was something I had to do. I was 16 or 17.
What is on your iPod’s most played list?
That would be a mix of LeAnn Rimes, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Tyler Hilton, Leah Turner, Hunter Hayes and Hanson (Yes, the band, Hanson! They are incredible musicians!). I listen to music all the time and I feel I should mention all the artists I listen to but that would take too long!
What was the first record you ever bought?
That must have been Middle Of Nowhere by Hanson. And I still listen to it!
And the latest?
I finally gave in and bought Taylor Swift’s 1989. And it is pretty damn catchy.
If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
I play the piano, and I am working very hard on getting better at the guitar now. I am aiming to be able to use the guitar in my performances very soon, it’s such a wonderful instrument. But my fingers look awful these days! Totally worth it, though.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Music. I know it’s cheesy, but that’s the first thing that came to mind. I have asked myself sometimes if you can be addicted to music. If there is such a thing, then I definitely am. I’m a musoholic! That’s a word now. (I would say my family, but I’m not sure if they count as a “thing”)
Do you prefer “Classic” Country or “New” Country?
Classic country is wonderful and we wouldn’t be here without it. But I prefer new country. That’s the stuff I really love, the music that I feel I relate to.
Do you have any superstitions or routines that you do before you perform?
I am not superstitious, but I do always get very nervous and feel like my voice is just going to stop working! So even though I will have done a vocal warm up earlier, I always have to make these really weird noises just before I go on stage, to make sure my voice is still there. It sounds a bit like a “meeeeoooow”.
If you could work with anybody, who would you choose to collaborate with and why?
I want to write a song for Carrie Underwood – not just because she is a huge star, but she makes songs come alive with her interpretations. She is a brilliant storyteller! I would love to write a song with Jessi Alexander. She pretty much writes exactly the kind of songs I want to write. And I’d love to do a duet with Tyler Hilton, because he has the most amazing voice and seems like a great guy.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
If all goes to plan I will have released a few albums, I will be touring with my band and I will be writing for other artists. But I will also still be working as an actor. Do you think there will be enough hours in the day for all this? Oh, and I will be living in Nashville and I’ll be married to a gorgeous Southern gentleman. Of course.
What do you do to “relax”?
Yoga, running or just going for a walk. The last two I will of course never do without music blasting through my earphones. But I also love just being lazy on the sofa and watching Netflix.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
There are so many places I want to go in this world, but if I’m going to choose a destination I already know, it will have to be this place in the middle of Norway (where I was born) where we used to go ever since I was a little girl. We stay in a cabin and there are mountains every which way you look and a beautiful lake, and horses and reindeer running free! I haven’t been for many years, but I might be going this summer. I can’t describe the feeling you get when you’re there, the air is so fresh.