“I’m a very different artist from the one who put out my first single…” - hmv.com talks to Alma
We’ve been reading about Finnish pop sensation Alma for a good while now. We wrote about her back in 2018, a full year after she’d released breakthrough single ‘Chasing Highs’, when she was riding high with ‘B**ches”, a collaboration with Tove Lo and Charli XCX. It seemed like her debut album was imminent, but a full 18 months later, it’s still not here.
Born Alma-Sofia Miettinen, the singer first caught public attention in her native land back in 2013, aged just 16, she managed to place fifth in the seventh season of the Finnish version of Pop Idol.
That earned her a deal with Universal Music, but, frustrated by the delays over the album, she has now jumped ship to Sony Music.
Not that she’s been idle. She has written a good chunk of Miley Cyrus’s new album as well as recent monster hit ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’.
We spoke to her about her change of label and her plans for the album to finally come out...
How’s 2019 been for you? Has it been a productive year?
“It’s been a good and bad year. I’ve finally finished my album and I’m ready to put it out. That has been a long time in coming. I’ve had some amazing shows, I loved Glastonbury and I got to play lots of new places.”
Where does the bad part come in?
“The first part of the year. The album was supposed to come out and we had a lot of issues. It was very frustrating. I was ready for everyone to hear it and I had built it up in my head. I’ve changed labels now and we are finally all set for it to come out.”
How has the transition from Universal to Sony been?
“I’ve changed a lot. I’m a very different artist from the one who put out my first single. I felt like Sony had better ideas and a better support package for the album. I don’t have anything bad to say about my old label, but it was the best thing for everybody.”
Has the album changed much over the course of 2019? Is the same album you planned to drop?
“It was ready, but I have used the time for it. I’ve been co-writing a lot and getting very inspired, so I have added a couple of tracks. It’s even better now. I’m glad I didn’t put it out last year. I’m a much better writer than I was a year ago.”
Is there a song on the album that you’re proudest of?
“There’s a track called ‘LA Money’ and a lot of different artists have tried to take that track from me. Over the years, lots of singers have asked for it and I’ve said no. It’s the only track I think that I would never give away. I gave a lot of my singles to bigger artists, but that one is mine. No one else can sing it.”
You’ve collaborated a lot in the past, Tove Lo, Charli XCX and more. Are there going to be guests on the record?
“There’ll be a couple of people, you’ll know them, I’m honoured they wanted to do it, but I can tell you who they are yet.”
How is your 2020 touring shaping up?
“I’ve got a full month of US shows in February and after that, it’s still being figured out. We’ll be doing a lot of shows.”
You’ve been writing a lot for other artists, has that delayed the album at all?
“My world has felt quite slow and I want to move fast. I want to do my own songs, but more than that I wanted to keep making songs. I get the same feeling if it’s me singing or somebody else. There’s no difference for me.”
Finally, what album have you loved in 2019 that wasn’t your own?
“I love Rosalia. All her singles have been incredible. I love Flamenco and those rhythms and the strength of those singers. I went to Spain a lot as a young girl and I saw flamenco shows and I took a lot from those singers. Seeing a woman dominate the stage, it was big for me. Billie Eilish too. She’s incredible. But everybody knows that…”