With Norwegian singer Issa Frontiers Records have a new singer on their rooster and the blond Norwegian just presented her debut album which is full of catchy rockers. Some songs have a pop appeal, but that's not bad at all. Time to learn a little more about Issa!
Issa, in Norway quite a few people know you, but outside your home country you are a nobody - at the moment. So please tell us a bit about you! When did you start pursuing a career as a singer?
Heyyy.. Well, I think I've always been into music and even as a child I was singing and dancing and even making my own radio shown with my tape recorder - really funny as I think every one around knew I'd be into music or acting.
I think I started singing more professional when I was about 17, when I started working for this Norwegian artist called Jahn Teigen. I started out on small shows and also got to work in his desk as a receptionist. It was in cooperation with Jahn that I got to enter the competition with Fox Kids hits that I also won. Later on I started in cover bands - as I believe life is a school this really made me 'find myself' in the musically way that is. I think its important for any artist to experience how it actually works out there - situations you get into and things I think you'll never learn at a school. Well, in between it all I've also got the chance to work a lot in the studios around. I've worked with some amazing songwriters and done a lot of demo singing for big record labels all over. All in general in really grateful that I've got the chance to figure out me before the release of any record I'm more experienced now and I have more to bring to the table.
You were singing on some records. Which was the first album you added your voice to?
Ahh, I think the first released record I put my voice to was an idol artist called Gaute Ormaasen. I think this was his second album - ha, the world works strange as I remember watching the first idol saying 'ahh one day I'll sing with him'. Later on we've also done shows together.
But you not just sang on some albums, you already played a lot shows. How much did the live experience helped you now when you did your first solo album?
I truly believe that it has all to say - you get a lot of important experience from live work. I think you learn more about how to work you're voice and also doing a lot of live gives you the chance to try out things with you're voice you never would have used the time for in a studio. Also the confidence you get from live work helps you to focus more with studio work - and I think you're voice is like any muscle - it takes practice to be able to stand 8 hours in a studio.
The songs been written by several renown musicians, but as far as I know you write songs yourself, why none of these?
Yes, I write a lot myself, but as I did not feel my material was ready or I had the time to finish it we decided to go for some professional writers this time. After the album I've cooperated with some of the writers themselves and by now its some songs coming out on other albums from the same record label as me. I'm already working on songs for an next album and I can't wait to show people I do more then just sing, cos that's very far from the truth here. I would say it's hard matching up with songs on a second album when you've had such amazing writers on your first, but with their help I think we can work magic. :o)))
Ronny Milianowicz was the producer, but it looks like he was more then just the producer... Did he hook you up with the other musicians involved? At least he and Nobby Norberg work together for years...
It's a small world you know. I had very good knowledge of these people before we started making the album and I was blown away when the record company suggested Ronny as the producer. Ronny has been a big support and to make an record like this takes many nights awake working in the studio. He's also - in my eyes - put in more personal work then any other producer I know. Also I think Nobby is one of the most amazing bass player I know and to have their acquaintance made the decision very easy regarding musicians on this record. Its been a dream team working with these guys and I've made some very nice friendships too.
The songs have a positive vibe, heavy guitars and on top your vocals, but it's not pure metal. How would you describe your sound?
Yes, what is the style? Haha... Well, I would split this record in 3 parts- you have the songs that reflects pop songs made a bit rougher.. With this I mean songs like Closer and I'm Alive etc. Then you have the true AOR songs with a happy vibe to them - it's songs you wanna put on driving you're car a nice summer day, and the last part would be the more darker songs witch are heavier. All in all this album has a very clear line with guitars and sound and if I should have put an mark on this I would say the record is melodic rock witch can reach more than just one scene.
Which singers influenced you? And do comparisons annoy you?
I think growing up I've taken bits and parts form all kinda music and styles, but as many other singers I've been fascinated by the big singers like Celine Dion and Carey and things like that- later on I've loved Kelly Clarkson, Heart, Robin Beck and even AC/DC and TNT etc. When it comes to comparisons I have no problem with that - I think people have the right to make up their own mind about it and well I can say I haven't agreed in some of them, but still it's just very funny to read about the way people interpreters you.
You did a video for I'm Alive. Why this track? And will there be another video? And if so, will you work with Thomas Tjader again?
Well, I think we just thought this track had more hit potential and had a wide range of people to reach. I know it stood between I'm Alive and Angels Crying at the time, so the record company got to make that decision.
There is a new video in the move here - I'm off to Sweden in just 2 days to shoot a video for the song Unbelievable . I'm very excited and this time the will be another director for this video. I loved working with Thomas and I hope to have the chance again, but this time we are after a specific feel over the video and chose to work with a new very talented director.
I can imagine Unbelievable in an acoustic version, a stripped-down version. Can you imagine doing some acoustic stuff in future?
Ha, it's funny you mention this - it's actually been made an acoustic version of this song that never made onto the record. This song is BEAUTIFUL all stripped down and it's a song I can't wait to perform like that. One of my favorite things to do is acoustic stuff on same level as having a smash band behind you. I really hope you are gonna like the new video for this song as I don't think it will be a long wait.
At the moment it's you, but no band. Are you looking for musicians, so you can play live frequently?
Well, true my years working with music I have so many great musicians on hand that this will be the easy part. Also the musicians on this record will be joining me when they have the opportunity as I know they have a lot to do with their own bands these days. I can't wait to bring this to stages around and we are working on tour plan these days.. All in all I'm much more an live artist then a studio singer and I put a lot of me in live performing.
It seems that the Norwegian scene is probably not as big as e.g. the Finnish, but has a lot strong bands / artists. Any ties to other Norwegian bands?
Ahh yeah, you are right here - Norway is a small country and it's not that many acts that gets outside the borders here. But we have many very good bands here, even though I have to say that having the internet these days are a big opportunity for many acts. In my time I've joined and done a lot of things and I even guested on Illusion Suite when they came out with their album also been in their video and joined the band on stage too. When we speak about this - I can probable be tied to a lot of things, but mostly I've shared a stage more with bigger acts rather than joined them.
I guess you are already thinking about the next step. Can we expect to find some of your own songs on your next album? And will you keep working with Ronny & co?
Aahh yes, my next album is something I've already started to think about - I'm in the process of writing songs and using this time to make demos of them and really get into the job of creating a next album that can be just as good and even better if possible. I really have the belief of keep on working with someone you are happy with - also true this album we have learn much about each other that we can bring with us into a next album. I'm honored to work with these people and I can only hope they wanna work with me again.
Another thing you are working on these days, at least I think so, is a decent internet presence, coz these days it's essential. And a good way to keep in touch with fans... Website, social network pages etc coming soon?
Yes, I'm working on that as we speak - my web site is soon ready - it's www.issasite.com and I'm on Facebook to these days keeping a really close connection to people - look up Issa Oversveen and please add me - I love to be involved and hear what people think and I always keep it updated to all the crazy things I might do.
What's the next highlight on your schedule?
Ahhhh, my next step now is to start playing live as much as I can - getting out there and meet people. I hope to be able to maybe do an support for an bigger act, but right now it's all in the planning stage, but what I can promise is that I'll be out there soon. After that I keep working on songs and music and write not only for me, but for others - recording demos has been a weekly thing so its a lot of music these days.
I can imagine that Issa's songs sound even better live and so I hope she can hit the road. If no possibility pops up, then I guess it won't take long til she has the follow-up ready - and then start rocking the stages!