ALMA

She ist the new pop sensation from Finland. ALMA doesn’t comply with the established ideals of a pop star: raspy voice, punky outfit and neon-green hair. With Chasing Highs and Dye My Hair she had her international breakthrough last year. This was followed by collaborations with Felix JaehnFrench Montana and Charli XCX. Her ten most popular songs have reached about 250 Million streams on Spotify. And still ALMA is standing at the very beginning of her career.

Foto: © Andre Pozusis

TAHIR CHAUDHRY: How is it going?

ALMA: Easy breezy.

TC: Berlin must feel like a second home. Your musical career started in Germany. Your EP was recorded here in Berlin.

ALMA: Yes, it does feel like that! I have a lot of friends here and I’ve been here many times. That’s why I stay here for three days. One day is for the show, one is for the promo and the last one is for a holiday.

TC: Do you have plans for the last day?

ALMA: We will go to the club, definitely. But I don’t know where. And I just love walking around and see all the little streets and shops.

TC: When you’re here, what do you miss about Finland?

ALMA: I miss the quietness, the peacefulness and the nature. Here everything is wuuuh…cars, bikes, people and music!

TC: Most of the time you live and work overseas. Are you still able to visit your family in Finland?

ALMA: I try to visit them as much as I can but it’s hard right now. I’m doing so much. I’m making my album at the moment and touring. So I haven’t seen them for a while. But every time I have holidays I go back home.

TC: You still live in your parents’ home in Finland.

ALMA: Yeah, but I’m actually buying a house right now. My life is very hectic at the moment. So I could use one week off to go look around the houses. But about a year ago I decided that I’m gonna move. My schedule had been so busy that I couldn’t take the step yet.

TC: How do your parents feel about it?

ALMA: They’re excited but they obviously are sometimes sad that don’t get to see me that much. But they trust me and are very very proud.

TC: If I would ask your parents how Alma is as daughter, what would they say?

ALMA: They would say she is loud and funny. And sometimes it’s very hard when she is angry. But she’s lovable!

ALMA: “I have two sides. As a normal human being I’m very reserved and I cry a lot. But as an artist I’m very confident and on stage I have the…thing! I’m powerful like a monster.”
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TC: Your appearance is not usual for a pop singer. It reminds me of a girls’ gang member.

ALMA: Yeah (haha)! I would love to be in a girls’ gang. I don’t’ know… this is who I am.

TC: The raspy voice, punky clothing style and glow-in-the-dark hair. Were you part of a gang as a teen?

ALMA: Yes, I was. I had my homies. We were a good gang… but very bad. We were very wild. We did everything that we were not supposed to. It was fun. There are so many crazy stories. Everything that was illegal we did.

TC: Like?

ALMA: We were young, we all had fake IDs and we liked to party (haha).

TC: Did the climate in Finland somehow affect your behaviour?

ALMA: Yes, of course. Finland is very dark and cold. The sun doesn’t come up. That makes people angry. But the culture is very shy.

TC: I read that in Scandinavia they use giant mirrors to reflect the sun, light-therapy, and positive psychology to overcome the seasonal depression.

ALMA: I didn’t even understand this for a long time until I started traveling around the world. And I saw… Wow! There is light all the time and the people are happy. Then I understood that our culture is kind of dark. We are happy people but we don’t show it openly. We don’t socialize much like people in Berlin. They are outside Monday to Sunday eating and drinking and having a good time. That’s not what finnish people do. They like to stay at home with their families.

TC: How did your overseas experiences shape your music?

ALMA: I think that my songs are more positive. In all my stories there is like a happy ending. You can win, succeed and be happy. While traveling I learned that I want to create a mixture of different cultures. I don’t wanna show just one way of living the life.

TC: In your Hit-Single Dye My Hair you say: “I’m not that kinda girl, to keep my voice unheard, to carefully pick words, I’m not that kinda girl, To easily get hurt”. Is it a curse or a blessing to be like that?

ALMA: It’s definitely a blessing. I haven’t been always like that. But now when I have become successful in my life and am happy about myself that’s how I got into that place. Now it’s not easy to hurt me. And when I speak people listen to me. I like to say stuff that people are frightened to say. It takes a lot of confidence to get there.

TC: I said „curse“ because being that way can also mean that you are less sensitive and not able to reach the „highs“ of happiness that you are „chasing“.

ALMA: I’m very sensitive. I have two sides. I think that every artist is fucked up (haha). As a normal human being I’m very reserved and I cry a lot. But as an artist I’m very confident and on stage I have the…thing! I’m so powerful like a monster.

TC: Your upcoming album is set to release. What is it about?

ALMA: I haven’t talked about my album a lot but I think now it’s finally time to talk about it. I made the whole album for myself. It’s about me breaking the rules… as an artist, as a pop musician and as a human. Especially being born as a woman on this planet you have a lot of rules. And you can’t do what most of the people can do. These rules were present in every fucking thing that I did from childhood to now. I realized that I don’t want to be forced into a box and I want to be who I wanna be. The only rule for me is to not hurt anybody. The album is about me understanding all of this.

TC: So can we expect more of this kind of teenage rebel feeling.

ALMA: Totally. This is empowerment. This time there are deeper and more personal lyrics about things that I have in my head but I never even said those to my friends.

TC: Do you have a favorite lyric on the new record?

ALMA: Yes, I have but I can’t tell you. It’s the new single that I will release soon. It is the best song that I ever wrote. I think I will never ever write a better song.

TC: You say that your albums are like diaries where all the good memories are stored. Is the new album just about the good times?

ALMA: No, I think it will shock everyone. Actually it’s not as dancy and fun at all compared to my last singles. When I started my career I was scared because I didn’t know how people would react to me as an artist. So I chose the easy topics like “Chasing Highs”. But now that I know that I have fans who love me for who I am I’m ready to speak about all the shit and crazy stuff that I’ve been going through. It will be a way more darker. I’m very excited but also kind of scared.

TC: If you wouldn’t have the breakthrough you had. Where would you be right now?

ALMA: I think I would be home and probably working as a bartender. Or I would be in school working with kids. But I’m not sure if working in school would be the right thing for me. I was a slow learner and I hated to sit around because I want to do stuff with my hands all the time. I always wanted to be good role model for young kids because I’m not perfect. And I think that role models should not be perfect.

TC: Through your success in music a big dream came true. What are your next life goals?

ALMA: To get my next single out. At the moment this is the most important thing. I think about it everyday. And get the album out. I never had a more important project in my life. I would just love to tour around the world, collaborate with other artists and reach more people with my songs. The only real life goal is to be happy. Even if this sounds like a cliché. But this is where I wanna be.