MTV Iggy's Artist of the Week Dishes on her grand piano, her new EP, and leaving Swedish Idol in the final rounds.
Cartoon voiceover artist, Swedish Idol defector (she quit in the final rounds!), label manager — these are just some of the biographical standouts for Cornelia, the Swedish-bred, London-based indie-pop artist to watch if you’re down with nostalgia, pretty things, and lush TOKiMONSTA remixes (go ahead and listen, it’s lovely. We can wait.)
Cornelia’s fans fought tooth and nail for MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week slot, and she swept the crown just in time for the release of her new, coquettish EP Stormy Weather. We spoke to her about her inner child, her inner turmoil, and that how-does-she-do-it?? soprano. Even with all the real talk, she remains the dreamiest Swede to hit the blogowaves. See what she had to say.
Hello Cornelia! Tell us about your musical background. Who influenced you, how did you start?
Hello. I was brought up in a home with a monstrous piano that my parents bought for cheap, simply because it was incredibly heavy. Even though I never really learned how to play in a classical sense, my hands were always drawn to it and I spent hours at the keys every day. There was a great chemistry between me and that piano.
Every fourth year or so my parents decided to wrap up our belongings and move to a new part of Sweden so I lived through a constant change of life, friends, surroundings and rules pretty much all through my upbringing. But we somehow always managed to carry that monstrous piano around with us. My family tree looks quite different now from when I grew up, but the piano still lives on like a stubborn old granny.
What inspired “Stormy Weather”?
Stormy Weather happened at a time where I felt there was a need for a real peace song. I had a few things to reconcile with if you know what I mean.
You do cartoon voices? Can you tell us about your characters? Got any clips?
I do. I love it. I did it for a living in Sweden, I especially enjoyed voice acting for feature films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Monster House. Bob the Builder was a really great project too as I got cast to play the character of Scrambler. She’s dead fun.
When I moved to London a few years ago I wanted get more confident with every day spoken English before attempting to apply for a voice over agency. I’m now registered with a couple of agencies here as a foreign voice, but I’d love to do some more acting in English! Casting people: feel welcome to contact me. Here’s a link.
There is something quite nostalgic and sweet and fairytalish about the songs you’ve released…would you say you’re in touch with your inner child?
That’s a very nice thing to say. Maybe I am, or at least I’m trying to. Being brought up in the countryside I was allowed to wander free and all the books my mum bought me certainly inspired me as a story teller. I still have a library of childrens books that I wish I could take with me everywhere.
Still some things that happened in my childhood were far from enchanting and I like to believe there’s a darker core to every song I produce. Just like my favourite fairytales they allow the magic and the otherworldly to happen, but they do not always provide you with a happy end.
How do you maintain that voice?
I wish I knew how to treat my voice correctly but I never really attended singing classes or such things. Everything I’ve learned about my voice comes from singing in church choirs. I did that from a really early age up to what some would call professional level. It also taught me to create harmonies which is great to have when you’re composing.
Tell us about your stint on Swedish Idol, and why you defected! Have any funny backstage stories?
It was a strange thing that. It was the first year the program got broadcasted on Swedish television, no one knew where it was going to end. My band split up a year or so before and after a short spell as a songwriter for others I realized I still wanted to sing, and someone convinced me to apply. Rest is history I guess. I did surprisingly well, but suddenly it hit me that I wasn’t interested in joining a market which most probably would have chewed me dry, only to spit me out a few years later.
This need I have, of composing and producing, is not compatible with the Idol format, and for a good reason. If you really want to create something of your own you have to do it yourself. That’s why I decided to start my own label Camp Mozart.
Take us through a typical Cornelia day.
They vary a lot as I hate routine and I work in different places of London during the week.
But maybe something like this:
8am – God I’m tired.
9am – Breakfast over BBC news and Al Jazeera
9.30am – E-mail fest ‘100 new emails in your inbox’
11am – Ok Cornelia it’s time to get going in the studio
12 o clock – No sign of improvement cause I’m still too busy with emails and shit
1pm – Making lunch watching a TED video
2pm – Going for a run
2.30pm – Getting busy in the home studio
7pm – Holy crap how time flies
7.30pm – Having dinner with people I love
9pm – Going back to work for a few hours
11pm – Someone asks me out for a pint around the corner
12 o clock – Bedtime
Three most important things in the world to you?
Freedom, friends and access to clean water.
There will be another single, maybe two before the album gets released beginning of next year. I hope I will be able to put out many albums. And a musical! I really need to write a musical before I die.