ALBUM COLLABORATIONS I/V: SONGWRITING

I want to introduce you to all the wonderful people that I’ve had the pleasure to create with. These people and their music helped me find the music in me. First post is about creating the song material, after this I’ll tell you more about the musicians, and last but so totally not least I’ll share about the process of production and recording & mixing.. Check these people out, get to know their projects and get inspired.

First up: songwriting. ∇ ∇ ∇ 

Jukka Backlund
The producer. Backlund has produced award-winning and platinum-selling albums, worked as a sound designer / composer in avantgarde installations and art videos, his main project right now is Nik Mystery and he plays drums in a band called Dead Sirius 3000. He’s a member of electronic music production collective called Vanilla Dream, plays various instruments, works internationally and has been studying jazz since early childhood. Watch Nik Mystery’s video Movie Life Fantasy here and Dead Sirius 3000’s “I Won’t Stop My Dance” music video here – – Backlund has also made the videos.
When we started to collaborate I did a lot of demos from old songs and was trying all sorts of ideas – – but it was very hard to find a fresh, new perspective. During one songwriting session we had with Backlund he started to play with one rhytmical idea with his acoustic guitar; he started to record that idea and after few minutes there was this new song that felt super inspiring.. I had to go out for a walk after I heard that music! Now it’s clear: that song and that moment opened the door for this whole album.

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Photo: Tommi Posa

Timo Kiiskinen
Kiiskinen has written some of the most loved pop songs in Finland (Sami Saari: Ainutkertainen, Samuli Edelmann: Sininen sointu..), released many beautiful solo albums and has made a wonderful jazz album called “Chet” which has Chet Baker songs in it with Finnish lyrics. I have been a big fan of his for as long as I can remember. You can listen to his ‘Chet’ from here.
Thanks to producer Backlund I eventually wrote to Kiiskinen and told him about this music project, asked if he’d like to get involved. Kiiskinen called me, we had a great talk and after few weeks I received a beautiful song from him. Kiiskinen wrote me a song that has lyrics from Kanteletar – – that song feels like home and I’ll never forget how cool it felt to start singing it..

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Photo: Tuomo Manninen

Niillas Holmberg
I met Holmberg the first time some years ago at Helsinki National Theatre’s music club where we both happened to be performing. It was great to see him perform live. His work as a musician, poet, activist etc. has always felt very inspiring. Watch his video here.
As the album thing started to happen and producer Backlund couraged me to think about my songwriting dream team I contacted Holmberg and asked if he’d like to write Northern Sami lyrics to one song that popped out after one songwriting camp with Backlund. After some e-mails we met and talked about the album – – few months later he sent me a demo and the lyrics and I was blown away by the story..! When it was time to start learning singing in Northern Sami at first I thought it would never happen (and that I was crazy to even try) but after a while I started to ‘hear’ the language..

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Photo: Paul S. Amundsen

Suvi Isotalo
Isotalo is a pianist, songwriter, singer, composer and I got to know her years ago when we were both invited to perform in this songwriter’s event. She has written music for theatre, released solo albums,  performed with various music ensembles and has worked as a studio musician.
I asked Isotalo’s help relating to the album songwriting; especially the lyrics – – to tell me straight if some words were unmusical / storytelling wasn’t clear enough. She helped a lot with one specific song and her honest feedback about the album was pure gold. Check out Isotalo’s music video, this was a fun night, it was a lot of fun to be involved in the making of it.

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Photo: Ville Malja

Josef Donner
Donner is a singer, songwriter, writer, entertainer and he knows a lot about different languages. Donner has his own band Juzzman, he performs with f. ex. Cafe De Abejas, works in various performing arts projects as a writer and as a performer.
I asked Donner to write a song with me; I had never ever wrote lyrics in Swedish but had a feeling we could write something awesome together. I had gotten to know Donner via many mutual friends and I had one song without lyrics – – I had a bit of an idea about the story and then asked if he’d be interested to collaborate with me. He said yes, we had couple of writing sessions and a song was born.

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Photo: J. Donner

Sonja Korkman
Korkman is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator, soundpainter and I’ve been collaborating with her for over ten years now in Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble (avantgarde music group that she leads). Korkman is very experienced in traditional Nordic music, world music, reggae, songwriting in various genres and we had some songwriting sessions together – – though the song material we made with Korkman didn’t end up to the album I really enjoyed our sessions together.
Korkman also helped me with one of the album songs, song that has a Finnish-Swedish dialect; she made sure that I’m singing every word properly.

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Photo: Yle Svenska

Oskari Lehtonen
Lehtonen is a percussionist, educator, long-time band colleague in Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble. He has been jamming with me thru this album project and even before that; we know each other from Helsinki Pop & Jazz Concervatory years. We made song material for this album but those ideas stayed on the desktop – – they’ll be waiting for the albums to come after this first one..
Playing improvised music (improvising lyrics also) with Lehtonen in both Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble and in Karelia Drum’N’Bass has given me many ideas relating to lyric structure, telling a story in music etc. Lehtonen plays in the album ensemble, he’ll play in the live band also and he plays in various Finnish folk music / world music (Okra Playground, Viitasen Piia) ensembles.

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Photo: Tomi Rajala

Aino Kurki
I got to know Kurki when she started making music with Korkman. Hearing Kurki play live the first time made me really thrilled. Kurki has studied kantele (traditional Finnish string instrument) in Finland but also in Africa, she is a very versatile player and has performed internationally as a soloist and with different music projects.
Playing with Kurki made a lot of things clearer to me during the album songwriting process and we spent good time together going thru the songs and getting ready for studio. Kurki will be a vital member of the live band with her kantele, she was in the studio sessions and you can check out her original music from here.

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Photo: Global Music Center
ALBUM COLLABORATIONS I/V: SONGWRITING