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Theresa Andersson - Interview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Theresa AnderssonRock singer, songwriter, multi-talented musician Theresa Andersson takes time from concert performances to chat with Luxury Experience Magazine about how a girl from Sweden lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and records on the Basin Street Records label.


I caught up with Theresa Andersson in New York at The Living Room in August 2008, where I heard her play to an appreciative packed room audience. Theresa had just returned from playing and touring in her native Sweden, and was playing a few New York gigs before returning to New Orleans. The lucky audience had the opportunity to hear Theresa perform a few cuts off her latest CD, Hummingbird, Go! (Read the review on Hummingbird, Go! in the Music Scene section), that has a September 2008 release date.

Theresa Andersson Performing in New York at The Living Room
Theresa Andersson at The Living Room in New York City 

LEM:

Theresa, Edward and I just returned from Sweden where you grew up. Where in Sweden did you live and how did you find your musical way to New Orleans? What attracted you to the city?

TA:

Theresa Anderson Performing in New York at The Living RoomI grew up on the island of Gotland located in the Baltic sea. As a girl I spent a lot of time riding horses, playing Cowboys and Indians.  I also sang songs with my mother and friends. I ended up in New Orleans through music and love. Very romantic. I was supposed to be on tour with the world youth choir, but it ended early that year. I believe it was my adventurous spirit and fate that brought me to New Orleans in the first place. Staying there was a different story. That's when my stubborn Gotlander nature made itself known and helped me make my way.

My first memory of New Orleans was the sound of the brass bands echoing through Jackson Square in the French quarter. Mixed with the out of tune calliope from the riverboat Natchez it put a spell on me with its cacophony of sounds. I still live close to there on the other side of the river.

LEM:

You are a singer/songwriter/violinist and all around musician. Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to be a musician?

TA:

Yes, I always found myself attracted to situations that involved a stage, an instrument, or a song. At 16, I was awarded a special permit to enter a music school otherwise reserved for 18 year olds and older.  I spent two years studying music there before hopping out into the real world.

LEM:

Growing up, what music and musicians most influenced you? What bands did you listen to? And today?

TA:

Well, my parents had a small, but awesome record collection.  I remember they kept it in an old Styrofoam cooler with a red vinyl wrapping around it. In this magic cooler I found records from Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin.  However my mother tells me that I thought Aretha sang too loud.  That was then, you know how taste develops with age. I am now a big fan of Aretha's dynamics.

Today, I have two favorite records traveling with me on my iphone; Leonard Cohen "New skin for the old," and Bobbie Gentry "Ode to Billie Joe."

LEM:

The life as a musician performing around the world can be both exhilarating and exhausting. What are some of the challenges you face as a musician, and what makes the challenges of touring and performing so rewarding?

TA: 

Getting there can be exhausting. I have a lot of gear for a one-person band.  Dealing with check-ins at airports etc can be stressful. To keep my voice in shape I have to preserve energy and avoid talking in loud places and cars.  I try to catch little naps whenever possible. I try to avoid stress.

My favorite thing to do in a new place is to go for a run.  That's how I explore the new area and work out the travel kinks at the same time. It's fascinating to me to play in a foreign culture, as the audience will be very different in one part of the world from another. That's when music is best.  There's no better way to communicate a feeling.

LEM:

You have played around the world, what are a few of your favorite cities to perform, and why?

TA:

New Orleans: The air here is thick and the city oozes funk in the loveliest way.  I am very inspired here from all the rhythms and the sounds and scents. The audience is always fun and upbeat. New York:  Playing a city that offers everything and forgives nothing is challenging.  I've had great experiences here.

Visby (Gotland): Where else can you play in a venue that is set into a medieval wall? Paris: Great fashionable audience. I love the art and the language here! Ici très bien.

TA: 

I would love to collaborate with Brian Eno.  Especially now that I am doing a ton of looping. It would be a blast.

LEM:

What's next?

TA:

My latest CD Hummingbird, Go! is due out in the US on September 2, 2008 on the Basin Street Records label. I am very proud of this record as it really connects my Swedish roots to my New Orleans influences, and is produced by my Gotland teamster Tobias Fröberg.

Thank you Theresa for taking time out for an interview, and best wishes on your new CD, Hummingbird, Go!

© September 2008. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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