Rosanna performed in London last night as part of Gold Dust at Hoxton Square. With no sign of nerves, she belted out a succession of songs that went down rather well. London audiences can be tough but by the time she was into the amazing songs Gameboy and Runaway, heads started nodding and a few arms were flapping in the wind. Especially at the back. With all eyes on Rosanna, she rocked the place like a queen conquering a rival state. A great live debut. A few hours beforehand, I met up with her to chat about everything from the the current album, the importance of the moon to her songwriting and of course Play. As you'll see, Rosanna absolutely celebrates pop. It is an integral part of work and creativity. Which of course is absolutely fabulous. Whatismore, it is fascinating to understand the journey of Rosanna as she emerges as a singer intent on producing kind of super pop that is all hers and indeed growing up to be an artist. And, a bloody good one at that! I suppose what I'm getting at its great to see Rosanna as an artist extremely proud of her pop routes and construct pop songs as a solo artist that are so good it hurts. Check them out on her myspace...
Welcome to London!
Thank you very much
The sun has welcomed you here! Its a good sign! How is been so far in London?
Its been very good. I’ve been here for a couple of days. Writing music. Tonight I am performing. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
Has the good weather and the madness of London influenced…
Yeah! Of course! It always influences in someway you know.
Who have you writing with?
I am working with a guy called Jim Eliot.
From Kish Mauve!
The people behind 2 Hearts with Kylie!
Yeah, they did 2 Hearts, Kylie and LadyHawke. And we’ve been having such a good time together. Writing songs and having fun! (Giggles)
Fun is the most important thing!
Your getting a lot of support from Dontstopthepop, Popjustice and MyFizzypop but also places that are perhaps unaware of Play and so forth. How does that feel?
I am very thankful for that and really happy that people recognize what I’m doing. And, that it doesn’t really matter what I’ve done before as its so big the internet now and everyone wants their music on myspace and everything. I’m just happy its working. (giggles).
Of course, you still have a lot of fans from your Play days mainly from the United States. Will you consider a US release?
This is my Play question for the Play fans.
Yeah of course. Of course I will release it. Yeah! When the album is done and everything is perfect I’m gonna try and release it every where in the world. Yeah, that’s my goal!
Global domination of Rosanna!
Yes!!! (evil but cute laugh).
Your solo work is incredibly catchy. Were you intent on producing a sense of pop that was intrinsically your own, highly individual and very original? Did you make an obvious decision not to fit in?
No, I don’t think so as everything just came very natural to me. The way I write music and the way I write pop songs. Sometimes if I write “like OK lets write a pop song to whoever” you know you can write a pop song but when its my own things I’ve been very selective with what I want to do, what lyrics I’m gonna use and melodies and harmonies. But I mean come from a very commercial, a whole pop scene with Play and I think that has influenced me a lot as a artist and as a songwriter but still I listen to so many types music. I am just trying to get best of both the worlds.
Yes, I have some questions later on about that traditional sense of pop that Play that provide. I suppose what I am trying to get to is when I first heard your songs they belong to a class of acts coming from Sweden like Christian Walz, Isabel Guzman, Kocky, Kleerup and of course Robyn….who do there own thing yet within the framework of good bouncy yet incredibly credible pop music so they get that best of both worlds that you just talk about. Why do you think that is?
Hmmm I don’t know. I don’t really want to compare myself to all the Swedish musicians but I think what we have in common is like we’ve grown up with the same television shows, the same radio stations, the same artists: you know we have all that together. And also the sun goes down at three o’clock in the day time. What can you do but write music really?
Oh, I’d never thought of that geographical and environmental impact on the music.
Yeah! It could really help! I write music in the night time…
Titiyo’s last album was called Hidden. Perhaps this creativity comes from the sun departing.
Perhaps there’s this running narrative that this batch artists have!
So what are your biggest influences musically?
Right now? Everything from Kylie Minogue to The Shangri La's
To Minnie Ripperton and MGMT to The YeahYeahYeahs to early Madonna stuff.
Its always Early Madonna....
Yeah! Its always early Madonna. It always come back to early Madonna! But I mean its all different things and I think its very important as well when I write music that I don’t get too stuck like: “I want it this way, I want this way”. Its always gonna sound like me but I am really up for experimenting right now and go wild. And, see what happens really ‘cus that’s always what turns out the best.
You hear that on Gameboy. It has an incredibly tight production? How did that song come about? Can you remember?
I don’t really remember actually.
I think started on the bus on the way to Tortuga. And I started having this melody in my head and then it just developed like that eventually becoming the song? Its mostly like that with me.
What was it like working with Tortuga?
They’re fantastic guys. I’ve been working with them for a few years back. I think they really helped me grow as a songwriter as well. Because, I wasn’t really…I could write songs but I think I didn’t really consider myself be like a songwriter one day. That? I could really do that! You know? But I feel so much more confident now and I’ve learned a lot from them.
Do you record with them at Cosmos?
Yeah, I record at Cosmos and at their own studio. So, a little bit of both. I’ve been everywhere (giggles).
So, some new songs have appeared on myspace…..like the amazing Runaway. Runaway is like chant. Love it! Whats that song all about? Are you thinking of leaving Stockholm?
Thank you! I wrote it together with Tim Elliot last time I was over here. You can really relate to it in different ways. It can be about leaving Stockholm when you just wanna run away from your home. Or also it can be about running away with someone else from Stockholm! (Laughs)
Ah, so it could be from other side!
Yeah. I am pleased with that song. It was just funny because we started writing that song like 2 hours before the session was supposed to stop. So we wrote it really fast and it felt like something we had to do.
Are there songs you’ve completed that are your favourites but HAVEN’T appeared on Myspace yet? Any hints?
Yes! But I won’t tell you anything about them (Hahaha)
They’ll be a surprise!
That’s the best way
Now your appearing live tonight, other than the obvious how will it be different from performing without your ex-bandmates?
It’s a big difference. I’ve had so much fun on stage with Play. We’ve been performing at these big arena’s and then I’ve been performing with Kocky which is more like rock festivals and all these indie clubs. Its just been a very good experience for me as an artist to find really what I want to do and who I want to be on stage. And, feel comfortable in who I am. Its pretty different. You’ll see tonight.
What is it like singing? What do you get out of it?
I get everything out of it. I’ve been singing my whole life. That’s the only thing I really want to do. Its also wonderful to sing the songs you’ve written, they’re designed for me. Its just wonderful to sing how I really like.
And sometimes when your performing a song do you see a side or element to it that you hadn’t perhaps when recording or writing it?
Yeah, absolutely! I think so. That’s an important thing!
And do you get nervous when performing?
No. No. I am a little nervous. But more excited. I don’t want to get too nervous. I am more like “whatever”.
No (laughs). No No, I don’t mean it like that. I don’t want to stress myself even more. We’ll see how it goes.
Its not like an exam…
No no! Its not now or never. We’ll see and have fun.
What do you prefer the most…the writing of the songs, the recording process or getting on stage and presenting them to an audience?
Oh that’s a hard question! Erm, I don’t think I could say actually because I love being on stage but still I wouldn’t….I mean I love being in the studio and I love writing music. And, just being in that vibe and being in that zone where you just write music with someone its just fantastic.
Like with Runaway?
Do you think that you emerging as Rosanna the solo artist doing all the songwriting, performing and singing that brings it all together whereas with Play it was perhaps more categorized and this is more exciting in a sense?
I couldn’t say its more exciting because what I did with then I thought was the best thing I’ve done in my life. I still think that the experience that I had was just wonderful but now I am doing this. I can’t really say but of course it was more categorized because it was a whole different thing. When we were released I was really young, I was 13 and I couldn’t really be a singer-songwriter back then because I didn’t know how to and people wouldn’t take me seriously. I mean, I was in a whole different position than where I am now. I am just very excited about what’s going to happen next and how I’ll grow as an artist because its just wonderful to meet all these people all the time and write with these songwriters and producers. Its great!
And, what can we expect tonight?
You can expect pop songs! You can expect some nice harmonies and some rock n’ roll.
Okay cool! And a bit of shimmering?
Yes of course!
Do you think your history with Play has influenced the sense of pop your currently producing at the moment? Perhaps your avoiding in a way?
No. No musically I am not avoiding any thing I’ve done with Play. Not at all.
Its more like: musically I don’t know if I’ve learnt so much songwriting-wise or as an artist. As a musician. But still, I got so much experience from being out on the road. I just think I have a commercial view when I look at things but still I try to do it my own way because I come from that background. I love Pop! And that’s the thing!
Yes, and you can hear that you celebrate it!
Yeah exactly! I love pop music and I’m not afraid to say that. I am not afraid of saying that I do pop music. Its not something bad really.
Its great. I think that’s what makes those wave of pop acts from Sweden so cool. They simply love pop. They don’t deny it and state it. So my second question to that really is would you ever consider re-writing or redrafting a song like I Must Not Chase The Boys with the Rosanna slant to it. With your distinct pop quality that you’ve producing at the moment with your current material? Perhaps as an Itunes bonus track? As a kind of a celebration of your time with the girls.
YEAH! I don’t know, I never thought of doing something like that before.
Its just a thought that occurred to me. Robyn did something similar by retracing Show Me Love on a recent special edition of her last album.
Oh yeah. Yeah, I never thought of that. Maybe I should do that! (laughs).
As Play, you worked with some big names including Robyn . What was it like not only covering her but also having Robyn write on the album…
Some of the tracks she wrote as a song-writer not as an artist. Two Blocks Down and What Is Love. She wrote them with another girl called Kara Diogardi so I haven’t actually met her. We just recorded with Kara.
As I remember (haha).
I really like the song she did called You Found Me which Play recorded.
I love that song! Its really good.
Returning to that solo work, tracks like Gameboy and Flashing Lights are highly unique and new. How did that come about? I mean, these songs are really good. In the crowded field of electropop, to me they sound so original and rather brilliant.
No worries. It comes directly from the music though…how does this emerge.
I just write songs. I’m very selective of melodies, lyrics and get everything right. It doesn’t matter if you write ten songs; if one becomes really good then that’s the most important thing.
So you're a perfectionist then?
Yes. So you wont let any duds out? And put to the side?
No. Still, when it comes to songwriting, recording it and recording vocals, soundwise, sometimes I think it shouldn’t be too perfect. But the songs should be definitely ‘there’. I think its charming if the vocals aren’t perfect and shouldn’t be too plastic really.
It would sound too manufactured?
Yes, as because then it s not interesting at all. But still, the song needs to be ‘there’.
Do you think that your experience in Play, made you ever more aware with regards to what kind of pop music you wanted to produce as a solo act? Perhaps somewhat like an apprenticeship?
No, I don’t think so. What do you mean?
Well, do you think your previous experiences with the girls has helped you with the industry?
Oh yes. Definitely. It has definitely helped me with the industry.
And working your way through a recording studio?
Yes, exactly exactly. But I still I think so many other things has helped me. Play of course but also I had four years where I didn’t do….
What did you do in those four years?
I went to school. I got to be like this normal teenager. I got to write music. I started writing with Tortuga and that has helped me a lot too you know so everything has in someway helped me (haha).
So it was a great ending in many ways.
Yes definitely. And I needed those four years to find out what exactly what I wanted to do and what I really liked.
In Flashing Lights, you declare you want to be the one and only and that you want to be a one man show. Would you say the song is perhaps your declaration to the world that you are emerging the pop industry as Rosanna? A complete break from the Play. “Let the Story Begin” as you say. Your independence song?
Yeah, definitely of course its gonna be that song that has that strong message but I don’t think it’s a break from Play or from my past. Because, I don’t want to break from that. Its not something negative. Its so much that I’ve gone through and it just felt like a natural step for me to take to write that song. It’s a part of me.
So, when can we expect the album?
I don’t have a date. But its going really well so expect it soon! (Laughs). This year! I am a perfectionist as I said!
And what general sounds can we expect on it?
Its still gonna have pure pop songs but I will try and mix different elements in the songs like everything from electro to rock to punk. And pop, pop, pop, pop!!!
And do you have a first single yet?
I have a couple of ideas. But I’m not sure yet. It depends whether I do another better song.
Its good to have a couple!
I should have like 12 hit songs on the first album. Have a best-of album for the first album (hahaha).