Cool and inspiring in equal measure, Norway’s prodigal talent Emma Jensen is quickly becoming one to watch, and she’s only 21. Having already been compared to the likes of Zara Larsson, Tove Lo and Lykke Li, we are in no doubt of her imminent success.
Her debut single, “Closer”, is a melodic masterpiece inspired by unrequited love and the feeling of being forced to let go of someone who you want nothing more than to hold onto. Producing and recording her own music, Emma is creating a refreshingly unique and enticing soundscape. She cleverly intertwines Rock n’ Roll with electronica in “Closer” to effectively emphasise the versatility of her soft yet scintillating vocals.
An undoubtable force to be reckoned with, we caught up with Emma to find out more.
Have you always wanted to be a musician?
I’ve always loved to sing and started to play instruments when I was really young. But it wasn’t until I was around 15 years old that I knew I wanted to be an artist for a living.
What musicians inspire you?
There’s so many musicians that inspire me. John Mayer is number one. But I think the first musician who inspired me to be an artist was Katie Melua. I remember driving around in the car with my mom listening to her and daydreaming about making songs and playing concerts. These days I get my inspiration from everything. As long as it’s good music. But some of my favorite artists right now are LANY, Zara Larsson, Julia Michaels, Drake, Franc Ocean and Childish Gambino.
Do you think being Norwegian has influenced your music?
Yes. Definitely. I think everyone is influenced by their nationality. It’s hard to say how, but I think my sound and how I write and produce music would be very different if it wasn’t for the Norwegian sound and vibe.
“I can’t write like really happy songs. I think it’s maybe because I’m usually a really happy and positive person, so I need to get my sad feelings out in my songs.”
Less than six months ago you hadn’t really played your music is front of anyone! Then you were in the US and your friends and boyfriend pushed you to play your stuff, what was that like?
Yes. No one except my mom and my boyfriend had heard anything. It was frightening and I went way out of my comfort zone, but at the same time it was kind of a relief. I think I really needed that push. Thanks to them I’m where I am today, and I’m finally able to do what I love and been waiting to do for such a long time.
You just released your single “Closer”, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?
For me “Closer” is about the feeling when you know you’re about to drift away from/loose someone, but you really want to hold on and let the person know that you’ll give it all to make things work. All my lyrics are about feelings that hurts. I can’t write like really happy songs. I think it’s maybe because I’m usually a really happy and positive person, so I need to get my sad feelings out in my songs.
You produced the single as well. Can you tell us about your creative process?
Yes, I did! I started producing about a year ago – and “Closer” is just a result of me playing around in logic, making a reversed piano reverb. The rest of the beat along with the vocal chops and a verse came along pretty quick. I finished a rough idea of the song the same day, but then I didn’t work on it for weeks. It wasn’t until I started to show it to a couple of people that I thought it could be something. I went back and produced the rest of the track and the rest of the lyrics sort of came naturally.
What else have you got lined up for 2017?
Right now I’m focusing on producing and writing as much music as possible here in Oslo and maybe go to LA for some sunny inspiration, and at the same time working on my live shows. I’m still brand new to this, but I would love to play at least one festival this summer. Fingers crossed!