I am always keen getting interesting and original…
female artists onto my pages. I have had a run of boys lately: it is good to have Maja Francis here talking about her song, Saved by the Summer, and the Shura Remix. She discusses her life in Sweden and music that has inspired her; whether there are gig dates coming up – and whether there is any more material coming along.
I find out whether Francis gets chance to relax outside of music; how emotions connect with her music; what she would say to new artists coming through; how she felt when her current E.P., Come Companion, garnered huge reception – ending the interview with a great song!
Hi, Maja. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m having an emotional day, but I’m ok - just cried a little bit in my bathtub while listening to Dolly Parton, so I feel better now.
My week has been really nice. I had a show in Stockholm and I loved every minute of it. Also; I’ve been having lots of me-time looking, at cute baby animals on Instagram and taking long baths.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a Cry Baby from the south of Sweden that loves glitter.
Saved by the Summer is new. It has that feel-good vibe and harks back to the classic summer songs. What was the inspiration behind it?
It's about having your heart broken but, when summer comes, it feels a little bit easier to handle it...summer is there to lay you down on the grass telling you: 'Everything will be ok'...
It certainly adds sunshine and warmth to the world! What was your reaction when hearing it back for the first time?
I'm glad you feel that way! I started writing this song with some friends in springtime...you know; when those first sun rays come peeking out, reassuring you that brighter days will come? We finished it late summer and, when I heard the finished version, I just smiled.
It is something about this tune that makes me playful and careless.
The version we have out is Shura’s remix. What was the reason for drafting in Shura? How did you come to discover her music?
My drummer showed me her music on our way to a show last summer and I loved it. Somehow, a year later, my manager got in contact with hers and asked if she would like to do her take on Saved by the Summer...and she did! I'm super-excited about it!
Your E.P., Come Companion, did very well! Were you surprised by its success and popularity?
I’m really happy for all the love it got! But, at the time, I was so thankful for even getting the E.P. out there. It was a long journey with lots of obstacles and setbacks. I learned a lot in that process that I’ve got real use for now that I’m releasing my new E.P.
Do you think they’ll be more material coming later this year?
I'm releasing an E.P. series called Cry Baby Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 this spring and summer! The first one is released March 23rd - so I'm counting the days now! The next one is due by early-June. By releasing Cry Baby, I’m celebrating the beauty of feelings...and of being emotional. It's like a tribute to feelings, really.
About how I think we should start wearing them like a tiara and never apologize for them. I think the most interesting people and things in the world are the ones who have a crack or a tear somewhere. I guess Cry Baby is a place where glitter and tears can live together in symbiosis...
Without one taking out the other.
It seems like music, for you, is a way of putting emotions out there and finding some form of clarity. How important is it to get songs out and express yourself through music?
Music is definitely a channel for my never-ending rollercoasters…and for my emotional cycle. I even turned this ‘feelings cycle’ to tracks on my upcoming E.P.s. They’re called Feel, Break; Grow and Shine - and they’re a reminder that everything is temporary. If you let yourself feel and break down, you will be able to grow and then shine.
What is the music scene like in Sweden? Is it quite a blossoming and diverse musical landscape?
Sweden has many amazing artists, songwriters and producers. New flowers pop up every day! But, I do miss smaller venues for Pop or Alternative music - at least where I live in Stockholm. When I lived in Nashville; I could just go down the street any day of the week finding a new act to fall in love with.
Stockholm is more of a behind-the-scenes music town.
Which artists did you grow up listening to? Did music arrive in your life early?
Mariah Carey was my first female crush; then came Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper and many more. I love unique and weird voices.
My dad owned a record store where I hung out all the time as a little girl. Also, my grandmother was a singer in Sweden in the 1950s and my grandfather was a songwriter – so, I guess music has been with me since I was a baby!
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I have some shows planned in Sweden this summer, but I would love to come play outside of Sweden! Will definitely work on making that happen (smiles).
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I hope to make a Cry Baby army that will take over the world with emotions and glitter!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
When I got to sing my song, Last Days of Dancing, with my friends Seinabo Sey & Amanda Bergman at one of the biggest arenas in Stockholm, with thousands of people to collect money for refugees coming to Sweden. I was, maybe, the most nervous I've ever been but Seinabo & Amanda took my hand and I felt like we became the Powerpuff girls and I could walk out there without any trouble.
Also, those babes have two of my favorite voices ever; so it was really a dream singing with them
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Stay in your own creative bubble! It's so easy to look at others and compare. But, in the end; the only thing that matters is you. Your music. Your art. That’s where the beauty lies…
Even if people don't get it.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I try to go down south to my parents’ house a lot where I have my cat, Pony, the ocean and its quiet. Also; I make sure to get alone time with myself a few times a week so I can recover from all the buzz, take a bath and a glass of wine. Read poetry and put sequins on clothes or things in my apartment.
Also, I like to dance in my living-room.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Kate Bush - This Woman’s Work
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