If you had ears in 2017, you’d recognize ALMA’s unforgettable hook by her huge bachelor chasing the peaks: I’m after the hi-hi-hi.
Since then, the dance-pop firecracker has recorded over 110 million hits on Spotify alone – proof of its resilience and ALMA’s natural ability to succeed.
It was this power that prompted ALMA to write the soundtrack for Don’t Call Me Angel – a single broken by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey for the soundtrack of Charlie’s Angels.
However, a qualified hit-maker tells us that many men didn’t take me seriously as a songwriter – a fairy tale that knows hundreds of other women with phenomenal songwriting talent too well.
The latest ALMA single released today, the punk-pop song Bad News Baby, continues the attack of the Finnish indigenous scene with its characteristic style of hard lyrics in the production of Scandipop: Bad news, this baby is my alter ego who can do anything, and he’s indestructible. She’s fearless, she’s fearless, she doesn’t care what you think of her, says ALMA about the song that will be released on her debut album Have U Seen her 2020.
Now we talk to one of the brightest stars of pop music (and not just because of her blonde hair color) about how she is not taken seriously as a songwriter, how she educates women in music and how she refuses to give in to men’s stupid suggestions about her image.
TRADE: Is there a quote you consider the motto of your life?
ALMA: Either we live or we die.
My mother always told me that every time I did it, I felt like I couldn’t go on. The simplicity was reassuring. Life can get super hard and things can go wrong, but it will get better with time!
What role did music play in your life when you were young?
My family wasn’t musical at all, so it wasn’t what it always was, but when I was ten years old, we got our first computer, and then I found YouTube and started looking for video clips for hours every day. Music made me feel safe and it was the first time in my life that I was really interested in it!
Where does your musical inspiration come from in general and from whom?
Amy Winehouse has always been a great inspiration! Then bands/musicians like Nirvana, MGMT, Lykke Li, Lana Del Rey, Santigold, Robyn, Lily Allen… There are so many of them.
You co-wrote Don’t Call Me Angel and worked on the soundtrack of How It’s Done for Charlie’s Angels, produced by Ariana Grande – how did you work and write with Ari for this project?
It’s crazy! I still can’t explain how it happened! I feel blessed and flattered that people are really starting to understand that my love of writing music is the same as my love of singing. It gives me the same satisfaction to write songs for other great artists as I do for myself. I’ll always be grateful to Ariana for letting me be a part of it!
You also wrote songs with Miley Cyrus for her next album. What techniques did you use during the writing process to help Miley tell her story?
We just talked and talked for hours! Although we come from totally different worlds and backgrounds, we found a lot in common, so it was easy to write texts together.
How would you describe the general feeling and message of Have U Seen Her, your first album?
This is my story! Full and complete. There is love, fears, scars, happy nights, memories of drunkenness and much more. It wasn’t always easy, and I’ve never been very good at talking about my feelings, but music makes it easy to open up.
The album has been in production for a long time – why do you think you’re just in time for the release?
It took me a while to find my style and the right words to say what I wanted to say. I was young and didn’t want to make an album full of stupid singles – I wanted to do something meaningful! And I think I’m done now. It takes time to get there.
Where did the inspiration for the title of the album come from?
My life, everything and everyone around me.
What were the biggest differences in writing and recording Did you see them? Compared to your previous projects?
She was much more mature and made with much more intention. I love all my old songs, but I’m very proud of the new ones – they look a lot more like me.
What are the new sounds you’ve tried on the album?
A lot of guitar was new to me. I think if the song only sounds good on the guitar, it’s an explosion!
Are there lyrics from the album you like?
Many proud lyrical moments, but it gives me happy memories!
She pressed a pill on my tongue and kissed me, said, let’s die young, and I didn’t even ask, I just took it fast.
What do you think will surprise the listeners the most when they listen to the album?
It’s a marriage between a punk and his father.
You said to Interview magazine that I love it when people – especially women – make super risky gestures, so why are you so attracted to them?
Risk is powerful! I think many artists (especially women) are afraid to take risks for fear of failure, but you never change anything if you always do the same thing! We have to move on, and for good!
What do you think of the image and representation of women in music? Is there something you want to change?
I want to see more different female superstars, please! More women at the festival, please!
Is there something in the music industry that bothers you from a female point of view?
Yeah, it’s a pretty bad deal, but you need to learn how to play it! Women constantly doubt each other and catch each other in the act. I try to change that by keeping my team as feminine as possible and supporting the brilliant women in the game, from directors to photographers, from my label team to managers.
What do you think are the problems women face in music today?
In my own experience, especially as a songwriter, many men didn’t take me seriously. They don’t think my thoughts and suggestions are good enough. It was very frustrating for me at a time when I only wanted and had to be accepted and encouraged. Men have told me to be thinner, sexier, quieter… it’s bullshit. I realized that work and success is the best way to show these idiots that they’re wrong!
Have you thought about female musicians?
Ashnikko, Rosalia and Nasty Cherry are all disturbing.
What are the plans for 2020, apart from the first album? Are there any other co-authors to be expected?
More co-authors and more tours! I’m coming to America with Tuve Lo in February!
ALMA on the Spotifica