I traveled over 4,000 miles (well, via cyberspace, anyway) to find out more about emerging singer-songwriter, Lovisa Stahl.
Swedish-born Lovisa Stahl is originally from Karlshamn, Sweden, and is now living in Malmo. She’s also spent time living in France, Mexico, Iceland and Norway and now has returned home to Sweden.
Lovisa, who’s been playing guitar since she was 10 years-old, recently released her second album, Album #2. Her playing incorporates a variety of styles, ranging from New Orleans jazz to folk music, and much in between.
I had a chance to chat with Lovisa via email about her background and her music. She came off in the interview as someone who is imaginative, open and unpretentious, very much like her music.
I really liked your song Thousand Miles and the video for the song. How did you come up with the concept for that video?
I contacted the cartoonist, who I didn’t know at that moment, and asked her if she wanted to make my music video. She said yes, but that we needed someone to put together the whole thing. So I contacted a friend’s friend who is an animator and she did the compositing. I still haven’t met her [the animator] since we all live in different cities. I’ve met Malin. I love her cartoons and I wanted to do something a little different. I thought it would be a good idea to collaborate and voilà, there it was. The first music video for all of us.
The lyrics to Thousand Miles sound personal. Do your songs usually reflect a part of your life?
Yes, they do. I find it easier to speak from my point of view than others. For me it’s hard to tell and deliver a story I have no connection to. So I just tell the stories I feel and relate to. Some bad, some good, some both and others neither.
The song is just you singing and an acoustic guitar. What kind of guitar are you playing?
I play a Yamaha NTX 1200. I love nylon strings. I used to play classical guitar and just fell in love with the warm sound.
Well, every woman needs a Gibson, right? I needed an electric guitar and tried many. I fell for the Gibson – the feeling of it when I played on the neck. It’s important to feel good with the guitar otherwise I wouldn’t practice. It’s a beauty I think!
Do you know what year your Gibson was made?
No, I actually don’t. It was my first electric guitar and I bought it from someone. I bought it in 2007 I think. So it should’ve been made some years before that. It’s a Gibson Les Paul Studio.
Sometimes your music and vocal style remind me a bit of Rikki Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell or Sinead O’Connor. Who are some of your musical influences?
Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Tommy Emmanuel, been listening a lot to Led Zeppelin, Danny Elfman and Tjajkovskij [Tchaikovsky] as well. It’s so hard to say, because you never know what comes out from what you’re listening to.
Your music in general reflects a few different styles – jazz, traditional folk music, bossa nova. When you sit down to compose a song do you do it with a particular style in mind or does the music come out of the lyrics?
Most of the time I have a story going around in my mind and it needs to come out somehow. Sometimes just lyrics at first, but most times lyrics and music at the same time. I have this idea that songs come when they want to be written and they choose who will write them. The song tells me how it prefers to be played. Sometimes I start in one way but notice it just doesn’t get along so then I have to try until it all fits together. Then I love to arrange it as well, so it’s fun to play even with just a guitar.
On some of your songs I’ve heard violin, keyboard and horns. Do you have a group of musicians you usually work with?
Do you mean on stage? It depends. Sometimes people just want me to perform alone, other times with musicians. I do it a lot with a kontrabass player and violinist. I love playing with them, but it works out great solo as well.
Tell us about your latest album.
It’s recorded in the dark forest of Sweden by [producer and engineer] Henrik Alser (Robyn, Soundtrack Of Our Lives). The inspiration is collected from Brazil, Ireland, USA and of course Sweden. It’ll give you a taste of blues, folk, jazz, bossanova and soul. Lyrics are about everything from chaos to cosmos.
Is the dark forest a special area of Sweden?
The town is called Växjö, where we recorded. Växjö is in the province Småland. It’s a lot of forest there. When you drive through it seems like you’re driving in circles. It’s a little contrast since I recorded my first album in Los Angeles, but change is healthy for you, isn’t it?
What’s the music scene like in Sweden?
I would say it’s good. You can see a lot of good musicians both in small and big places. Of course some bad too. I would prefer a bigger music scene ’cause I think we all need music – especially during the dark months.
What are your plans for 2014?
Playing as much as possible! I’ve almost written songs for a full album, so I’ll finish that as well and prepare for the next recording session. I plan to release it in 2015.
I’m sure your fans will be looking forward to that. What are the best places on the web that people can visit to find more information about what you’re doing?