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by Megan Bowles

Ahead of the release of her second album, meet the pop sensation making nostalgia cool again.

For lots of us, lockdown was a time for baking banana bread and deciding on a new, very sterile hobby. Whilst we were debating whether to go on our daily walk now or later, ALMA was writing a hit song. The Finnish singer penned her new single ‘Summer Really Hurt Us’ over Zoom, using new-found time in lockdown to reflect on the previous few summers, where she said ‘I really felt like I lost my control’. The song’s deeply confessional, personal themes of guilt, grief and nostalgia are perfectly counterbalanced by ALMA’s signature pop melodies, laced with euphoria and a tempo that makes you want to get up and dance.

Having already amassed over 650 million streams, ALMA’s new single comes after a history of success and teases her highly anticipated upcoming album, set to be released in 2023. Her recent single ‘Chasing Highs’, is a Platinum-certified UK breakthrough hit that only adds to her musical accolades, sitting alongside being hand picked as a co-writer for pop royalty such as Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and Charli XCX. We can expect the follow up to ALMA’s debut album, ‘Have U Seen Her’, to be an ever more vulnerable, real take on her style, where she explores how to forgive herself for previous mistakes and express the previously unspoken.

The message of her new single is saturated in raw, honest emotion but is ultimately clear: ‘We’re all human and when life gets too much we tend to do things that hurt us and others’, she explains “I think for me the biggest lesson that summer was that I’m so privileged to have such an amazing group of friends around me. Even if I lose my control they will always be there to back me up and help me come out the other side. We are there for each other, we support each other no matter what.” We caught up with ALMA to hear all about her upcoming album, European tour and more…

Who is ALMA?

Human who likes to sing. Likes to make music a lot. Likes to be on tour and sing on stage but sometimes gets anxious about it.

What makes you want to make music?

I’ve always been singing. The first memory I have, was when I was 7. When I had to walk across this scary little forest to get to school every day and I remember just singing in the forest and it made me less scared. For me music is therapy, and my life is pretty much like a rollercoaster up and down so I’m constantly writing and sorting my own life out! lol so why I make music? Selfish reasons mainly but of course it’s beautiful and rewarding to see that other people get something from it too.

What are your earliest memories of music?

I remember when we got our first computer and I found YouTube that’s when I completely fell in love with music. It was crazy that I had the access to every music there was because before that it was just me with my CD’s. I found Amy Winehouse, Elton John, The Prodigy, Nina Simone and later Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds etc. I was listening to everything! That’s why I think my own music is the way it is… no boundaries.

How would you describe your work in 3 words?

Thoughtful, heartbreak, powerful.

Every artist has their muse. Who or what is a source of inspiration for you?

Ugh, I have so many. But the first that comes in my mind is Amy Winehouse I fell in love with her writing, it was so honest and heart-breaking. Before her I had never heard anyone being so real in their songs. Her lyrics gave me a lot of comfort and that is always my goal to be honest and real in my own music. She is definitely my inspiration.

What are the five albums that you feel have shaped you the most personally?

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Santigold – Santigold

Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Jessie J – Who You Are

How do you navigate the music scene as a young creative?

Well, sometimes I have to really fight for my vision to be heard. I would like to see more young people working at the labels. Obviously, youth is the future. Luckily, I have a very good and supportive team around me.

What should be the role of new-gen artists in modern society?

Well first of all I hope there would be more time and money spent on projects that actually matter. Right now I’m a bit worried that music is just going to be more and more about quick wins. There won’t be more artists who literally changing the world like Elton John or Beyonce if we going to go down that path. For me artists have always been like Gods and religion. So, I think it’s very important that we have all kind of artists from different backgrounds and different stories/messages to shine through. The world is such a mess right now, so I think that instead of thinking about viral TikTok moments and who’s making the best money, we (labels, musicians, press) should be focusing on artists and songs that actually make a difference. Change the world.

What do you hope people take away from your work?

I hope people find some kind of comfort from the songs. That they can be themselves and they are good enough. Especially on this new album I’m very honest about my life and stuff I’m going through and I’m not perfect at all. I wanted to create an album that won’t give any pressure to the listener to be more than they are in that moment.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully happy on tour. With a couple more albums that were successful. More cowrites with artists that I love. That’s it basically.

What’s next for you?

Next for me is to go on my European tour in November. I will be putting out more singles and an album yeyy. We are also filming something super exciting at the moment. Next year is going to be busy with shows and promoting my new album.

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