If you haven’t already heard the banging tunes from Finland’s Alma, you’ll definitely have seen her neon hair. The young star is taking the world by storm with her unapologetic brand of firecracker pop – she’s currently in full promo mode and lining up the biggest stars to work with, so we caught her on the blower (and a very crackly line) to catch up with where she’s at…
How are you and what are you doing right this second?
I’m at a cafe in London, and I’m doing great!
Right, straight up: how sick are you of people asking you about your hair?
(Laughs) In every interview I’ve ever had there’s always a question about my hair! But you know, it’s very bright and it’s very out there and people just want to know!
We won’t torture you with another question about that, fear not. We’ll go for another cliche question though: what’s the most common misconception about music from Finland?
I think people just don’t know anything about Finland, and people just don’t know any Finnish act…
Lordi! That’s all we know. But we’re here to talk about your new song Chasing Highs, which is exceptional. Tell us how it came about.
I wrote that song in Berlin about a year ago. I was there for a year writing my songs and I was partying a lot, just going out all the time, and then I met someone special that changed my life for that moment. It’s about that moment when I met that person.
As someone quite young and new to the industry, is there a danger of being seduced and just chasing highs all the time?
Yeah, I think when you meet people from out of this business and out of this world, they’re the people who really bring you out. If you hang out with artists you are just chasing highs and going crazy all the time, but if you have some people beside you that aren’t from the whole business it’s the most important thing.
You also do have quite a punk ethos. How do you reconcile that with being part of a big company and how does your relationship work?
They’ve always been very supportive of me. If you have a very clear opinion of what you’re doing and it works, nobody can say no. I’ve heard so many horrible stories about being in the big pop world, but I haven’t discovered that. I think it will start coming but you need to have a very clear mind on what you’re doing and say it out loud… and let nobody change your opinion!
So, the Alma experience – very ‘cyber’, a bit different. What’s the live show like?
Loads of energy, mosh pits, me and my sister going crazy on stage and having a good time. It’s a one hour party!
“People just assume that I have a very fun life and it’s amazing, but of course there are downsides”
Have you ever been tempted to replace yourself with your twin sister for meetings?
I’d love to – it’d be amazing but..! (laughs)
Your last year, particularly in the UK, has been amazing. What would you say have been the downsides?
I miss my family a lot, I miss my friends. People just assume that I have a very fun life and it’s amazing, but of course there are downsides. There’s 24-hour work every day, there’s a strange routine and a hectic lifestyle, you take a couple of years to get used to it and then it gets normal. But of course there are downsides, and the main one is I don’t get to see my family a lot.
One of the first things we noticed about your music was that whole sense of being an outsider and not giving a shit about it. What sort of advice would you give to other people who might feel like they have to compromise who they are for an industry?
It’s very easy and people keep on saying it, but just be yourself and don’t give a fuck. I always say to my younger fans that you need to be nice but otherwise you can do whatever you want. If you’re nice and you don’t harm anyone, you can do anything. It takes time to not give a fuck, but it comes if you really try!
What can we expect from your upcoming music?
I’m working with Charli XCX and MNEK at the moment, but it’s just really a diary for my life at the moment. I just want to give my fans stories – how I am, how I’m feeling now, how I was feeling two years ago. All the moments, good and bad. There’s some fun new things I want to try out, so it’s very experimental I would say.
What are you listening to at the moment and seeking inspiration from?
It’s very strange as I have different tastes. Last week I was listening to punk, this week it’s easy dancehall music like French Montana and Drake! I’m into so much new music though.
Finally, the question we ask everyone: favourite Beyonce song?
OK, OK, this is hard. Run The World (Girls). Of course I would say that!