Switch on that "Time Machine": In conversation with Finnish musical prodigy ALMA

At the intersection of synth-pop and unrelenting realism comes ALMA, the Finnish musical prodigy whose raw and forthright approach has tapped into the depths of a global fanbase. Her scarlet red mane is merely an extension of her equally effervescent energy along with her nonchalant demeanor. ALMA’s breakthrough came in 2016 with her debut single „Karma,“ which quickly catapulted her to the top of the Scandinavian charts. Since then, she released a string of hits, including „Chasing Highs,“ „Cowboy“ and „Good Vibes,“ all of which showcase her unique blend of catchy pop hooks and edgy, unfiltered lyrics.

We meet the 27-year-old for a little catch-up, chatting about fitting in, writing music for others, and working alongside Max Martin, the „fucking king of pop music“ as she refers to him. All the while, that unvarnished honesty, which she speaks so openly with, feels so profoundly relatable, making the conversation a no-brainer. Ahead of her latest album, „Time Machine“ (out now), she introduces tracks like „Tell Mama,“ in which she contemplates giving up her music career and agonizes on how to tell her mother. We‘re all the more pleased that this wasn‘t the case, and while it‘s certainly true, everyone wants to make their Mama proud, self-actualization comes first now. Find the full interview down below.

TUSH: Congratulations on the Album. It’s a beautiful body of work. Very self-aware about your perception of the world and your place in it. How are you feeling now that you’re done writing it?
ALMA: I just feel so proud, it feels as though I’ve always dreamed of writing this album. It took a lot of courage and the right team for me to be able to be so vulnerable and honest. I don’t like using the word ‘real’, but essentially that’s what it is.
Where would you go if you had a Time Machine but only one free pass, to use it?
Not sure why this came to mind, but I would probably go back to my childhood. Early days, like pre-school or something and stand against my bullies. Not doing so is one of the few things I actually regret. Then again it made me who I am today. But yeah, what I’m trying to say is ‘Fuck You’ to all the bullies out there.
All of the tracks seem to be very nostalgic and personal to you, do you feel like the Album helped in the process of healing?
Funnily, around the time I was working on the album was also the very first time I went to therapy. The combination of both, seeking help and writing about these hardships was very therapeutic. When I write it gets deep really quickly, which might be a bit annoying at times, but I don’t find it easy to just write about happy stuff.
Despite some of the tracks being quite pressing to you, the sound of them still feels somewhat upbeat. Is that you going against the grain of cliché pop music?
Although I’m still very young, there are some heavy things I went through that affected the type of person I am today. My superpower is just joking loads regardless of how shit something might be, it’s just how I’ve dealt with things. It feels more natural to talk about tough topics in a lighter way because that’s how I take life as well.
Do you feel like listeners take away different things from your songs than you intended?
Definitely, and I think that’s the best thing about music and art. Sometimes it’s even a little bit annoying to explain songs just because I don’t want to ruin them for someone else. I feel the same about other artists as well. People apply songs to their situations and just naturally make them into their own stories. I love that.
Can you tell us a bit about your track, Natalia? It touches on envy, which is a universal feeling that most people feel very guilty for. Yet you’re just laying it out there.
A lot of people thought it was a song about love, but envy is much closer to it than that. It’s about my girlfriend, which is a bit more fucked up because you shouldn’t be feeling those feelings toward your partner. We obviously talked it through which was so freeing and let me move forward and not dwell on that emotion, but instead focus on myself. Writing that song made me realize that every time I feel jealous in some sort of way, just saying it out loud can help so incredibly much.
You wrote songs for some pretty big industry names, have you ever created a banger you were unsure of keeping to yourself or letting someone else, have it?
I think Slide Away, a song I wrote for Miley Cyrus, felt difficult to let go of, just because it’s one of my favorite tracks. She fell in love with it just as much and really connected with the story at the time, plus she sounds so amazing on it. Her voice is incredible, and I feel like she made that song much bigger than I could have ever even imagined. I’m a songwriter so naturally, this is part of the job.
Since you’re a twin – is twin telepathy a thing?
100% and I probably need to read studies about it or something because it can be so baffling. We get along so well too! We made up our own language back when we were younger, and I remember the first time when I got signed, she was with me. In these label meetings, we would use that secret language which was essentially doing signs with our hands and discussing whether we liked the people around us or whether we thought they were dickheads. That was fun.
What was the last gig concert you went to?
This is so difficult; I think now that you say it, I really don’t go to shows that often. I am usually just busy doing my own. I really want to though!
You’ve had quite a lot of hair changes. How’s your hair holding up?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure how, but my hair still feels so strong and thick. I could probably go from super dark to blonde in one day. My hair is keeping up with me. I really dig the red right now, but who knows about what might come next?
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Yesterday. Wait, can I say it out loud? Fuck it, well I started my own record company yesterday. I’m going to start signing artists here in my hometown. There are so many potential female artists and queer artists that I think I can help out from here. I’ve always had that dream, and I’ve always felt like there’s not a lot of success coming out of Finland. So much potential but just not enough resources and information on how to leverage it. Very excited to see how this one unfolds.
Afra Ugurlu
April 27, 2023
Impressum / Imprint
Datenschutz / Privacy Policy
Cookie Check