1. When did your passion for music begin?
For as long as I can remember I have been singing. Throughout my childhood days I sang every day. Songs I liked. Or I invented melodies and even strange new words. Singing and creating sounds with my voice often managed to express what I could not put into words. Emotions passing through me often resulted in me singing.
But I began writing my own songs when I lived in the woods of Norway, when I was 19. I found a richness of images and sounds in the depths of my being that resonated in those vast woods. At first I sang for myself, me and my guitar. Later friends hearing to, telling friends telling friends telling friends…
That’ s how it grew for me. I grow as I grow. My pace.
2.In your opinion, what defines your music? (styles, influences)
I have never been hooked on one style, regarding the music I listen to. I love Bach, and Moloko, Tori Amos, Leonard Cohen, PJ Harvey, Anouar Brahem, Titi Robin, Olafur Arnalds, Björk, Lhasa de Sela… People have mentioned that my voice reminds them of Sinead O’Connor, and the depths of my lyrics have been compared to Leonard Cohen. I smile in great gratitude and humbleness to be named in one breath with those big talents. I play guitar and sing, and will be playing together with a violinist/backing vocalist at Art@AZIRA. The guitar/contra bass cannot be with us, unfortunately. I guess our style would be called folk.
3.What are the core values that define you as a person and as an artist?
I try to stay as true and pure in my words and actions as I can be, often finding great inspiration in Buddhism and Taoïsm. The sudden beauty of life and its intricate ways can strike me and leave me stunned, until I can write a song about it. Amazement and awe at how we treat -or rather mistreat- our precious Mother Earth and our fellow human beings make me want to sing.
As an artist I try to shine light upon things often hidden and darkened. Looking into my own heart and expressing what lives there, unrestrained and uninhibited. The light and the dark. Giving the best of what I have.
4.What is the most important accomplishment of your career so far?
Singing to those that listen to. Wherever and whomever. Whether it be at a country wedding, in an old barn, in churches or on stage, around the midnight fire or at a contest. I honor every day that I may sing to people. It fills me with a joy I cannot describe.
5. What were the biggest challenges you had to face in your career?
To follow my own heart and accepting my own rhythm. Often people tried to push me in some or other direction. But to stay true to that voice of wisdom, living in the depths of everyone of us, that often demands great courage. To continue doing what I know to be righteous, every day again. Singing as I sing, walking as I walk, laughing as I laugh.
6. What musicians are a role model for you?
I especially admire Björk, Roisin Murphy, PJ Harvey, Leonard Cohen and Tori Amos for their amazing creative quests, lyrics and voices. They inspire me to be who I am. As they are who they are.
7. Do you believe that art has the power to change the modern society?
It is my experience that art can touch me deeply, thus opening something inside of me that was closed before. It can bring light in the darkness, it can open my mind to worlds I had never met before, so it enlarges my consciousness, often in irrational ways. In that manner I do believe art can affect and change the way people think and feel. And one enlightened mind can inspire others around the world.
8.What are the messages you want to transmit through your songs?
In ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ I sing about what it means to me to be a woman. ‘The Black River’ tells me how to grow deep. In ‘The Earth Song’ I look at our fertile planet and how we are stripping it of its core. ‘The Cave Tale’ talks about the female and the male energies and how we need them both to be sustainable. ‘Run with the River’ is a love song. ‘Sisters of Arrows’ honors the sisterhood shared between women of all races, as they all drink from a common well that will not dry. ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ is what happens when two warriors, who fought side by side, meet again many years later. ‘Wolf Sin Me’ talks about a parallel universe, where powers dwell shamanistic. ‘The Free Mind’ mirrors how fear often narrows our minds and keeps us enslaved. ‘Use it Before you Lose it’ speaks for itself. The ‘Dirty Mind’ is often our own biggest enemy, or how thoughts can bring us straight to hell. ‘Woman of Fire’ shows how fire can create new life forms. ‘To be at Peace with one’s War’ is a great mantra for every day use.
9. What things in this world would you like to change through your music?
I am ever thrilled and amazed when I hear that a song of mine has inspired someone to grow into deeper understanding of themselves and thus of the world we are living in. I think it is often our very own thoughts and beliefs, our convictions and definitions about who we are and how things are, that narrow our understanding. This results into wars and conflicts of all kind, both local and global. Lack of understanding of our own motives makes us demonize “the other, the stranger” and turns us into frightened and narrow-minded poor little creatures. Whereas we have this enormous potential inside of us, to be ‘great’, to understand and respect and love. We as human kind. To help the sea of consciousness into broadening and reaching more and more shores is a work I gladly devote myself to.
Interviewed by Sasha, also visit http://www.azira.be to find out more about this inspiring project in the beating heart of Brussels.