Ronya Interview! The Finnish/British Alt-Pop artist answers questions on her influences, the difference between British and Finnish music and what to expect from her second album…

Q. Who is Ronya and what are you about?

I’m a half-Finnish half-British Helsinki based singer-songwriter, born in ‘91 but inspired but the 80’s. My music could be described as melodic pop with a Scandinavian touch.

Q. Who are the main influences to your music and sound?

I grew up with Phil Collins, Toto, Michael Jackson and Prince to name a few, which could explain why I’m so drawn to 80’s inspired sounds and melodies. Blood Orange, Robyn and HAIM are perhaps the most current influences whom I’m feel I can relate to in terms of writing music lyrically and sonically.

Q. Do you think there are any differences between British and Finnish Music? How have you faired in each country?

It’s well known that music coming out of Scandinavia tends to have a flavour of it’s own – I guess a certain amount of isolation creates a different platform for making music. Finland isn’t nearly as versatile as the UK for example, and our music scene still has a lot of evolving to do in order to become as vivid and rich. On how well I’ve faired in each country, I’ve released an album here in Finland (2012) and I’m preparing the release of my next single and working towards a second album – the UK is still a working progress but I’m on my way!

Q. Could you tell us what your latest single ‘Work Harder’ is about? Musically and lyrically? 

‘Work Harder’ is a reflection on my journey as an artist and an individual. Initially I wrote the song to give myself the confidence to keep going and work towards my goals and dreams, but I’m hoping anyone can relate to it. Musically I wanted to make something more fun and upbeat, with hints of 80’s inspired sounds.

Q. You worked with Taito Kawata for the song’s video; what do you think a video can add to a song if anything? 

In this case the video not only illustrates the feeling and energy of the song but it also gives the audience a chance to get to know me. My previous video was a tad more dramatic and “colder” – this time around I wanted to express a warmer and more colourful and happy/goofy side of myself. Setting that aside it’s a great platform to channel 80’s tackiness and dance around for no reason.

Q. There’s a big 80’s influence on the track; will this sound carry over on to your upcoming album and what’s the finest thing about the decade?

‘Work Harder’ is definitely a taste of what is to come. I love how music from the 80’s is the perfect combination of happy/uplifting and melancholic, music had more depth to it and although some tackiness was involved it was still soo good.

Q. How will your second studio album differ from your first? 

Like night and day. My first album was an explosion of sounds, genres and teenage angst. What can be expected from this album is a more uplifting and energetic sound with an 80’s feel throughout. More singing and less screaming.

Q. You signed to Cocoa Records last year; what difference has that made for you if any?

I now have a team I can work closely with, that understands my vision as an artist. But a lot of the bigger changes are mostly related to my own development and growth as an artist, and knowing what I want.

Q. Do you have any advice for teenage artists? What did you learn from starting your career at a young age?

I really hope that any young artists that want to have a career in the music industry really take their time, and I can’t stress that enough, to find out who they are as individuals and artists. I feel like singing competitions on TV may send a message to young artist that to “”make it” and be a star, you need to be like someone else – the world doesn’t need an army of Beyoncés and Drakes (although they are fabulous!). What made the biggest artists of our time into what they are is having something that no one else has. Create your own identity, your own voice and most importantly WORK on your own material and listen to your heart, be open to learning new things and taking advice (you’ll need it). Oh, and don’t take shit from anyone. When I had my first record deal at 16 I didn’t have enough experience or understanding of the industry to actually know what I wanted, or how to get it. You have to be the boss, otherwise someone will run you over with their own vision and ideas of who they think you are or should be as an artist.

Q. What can we expect from Ronya in 2015?

New material – I’ll be releasing a new single this spring, and writing songs so I can share my music live as well as online.

Thanks to Ronya for the answers and keep an eye out for her second studio album.

Questions by Owen Riddle

 

 

Single Review and New Video – Ronya – Work Harder

Ronya is a British-Finnish artist described as alt-pop in her style and who is one of the leading prospects in her native Finland. Following on from her 2012 debut album The key is the Key she has since signed with independent Helsinki label Cocoa Music and has since unveiled singles such as ‘Flame’ in February and now ‘Work Harder’; a faithful piece of luscious and infectious 80’s pop with similarities to the likes of HAIM and Robyn. Speaking of the track she said that it’s a “reflection on my journey as an artist and an individual – but most importantly it’s a reminder to myself and to anyone working towards their goals and dreams: keep going no matter what – it’s only the beginning” The track certainly carries that optimistic message on a musical level too, with he light but purposeful vocal set around the neatly arranged riffs, synth chords, rumbling bass line and crisp percussion. This track is a seamless piece of stylish retro synth-pop that really sets a precedent for an upcoming second studio album next year.

Single Review – Phantom – Shadows

Phantom are a dark electronic duo made up of Hanna Toivonen and Tommi Koskinen from Helsinki, Finland. The two of them have had Portishead, Bjork and The Knife mentioned in the same breath as them; hard acts to follow for, but they seem to be living up to those names recently. Their new single ‘Shadows’ was released on Thursday and see’s them channel Hanna’s static effected vocal through washed out percussion and whirring synths that gently force the issue in the chorus with rising and expanding sounds. This gives the song an air of subtlety and atmospheric refinement, but this is delivered in a rough and murky fashion. The track finishes on numerous burst of light and direct synth flurries that cut through the darker undertones of the song. A well produced and delivered track.

Single Review – Redder – Let Us Get Out

redder

Redder are a Finnish electronic group dealing in ambience and subtle melodies which will undoubtedly be the aim for their debut album Walk Long Play which is set for a late November release that follows on from the self release of their debut EP Border/Lines which was released last year. The latest single to be take from their upcoming debut LP is ‘Let us Get Out’ and it acts as an example of delicately formed melodies and structures around an understated vocal. It may not be the most urgent and rapid tracks, but this is far from it’s aims. The echoed and soft edged percussion pull the song outwards from the gentle piano chords, as do the slightly distorted and unfocused vocals that retain their melodic harmonic integrity, whist also adding to the songs growing space and atmosphere. The clarinet interludes into the song’s progression gives the track a slight grounding to work from as well. Not a spectacular track, yet one that showcases their skill and considered approach.