March, come she will

Doesn’t rhyme quite as well as the original Paul Simon title April come she will, but it’s certainly more apt for my news! As you can see on the “news” part of my homepage mariabohm.com (news is default) I’ll release the new album March 12th FINALLY! With a surprise soon after but, dude, if I told you it wouldn’t be surprise, now would it? Why March 12th? Realistically, I’ll just figure out the schedule and a ballpark number of days for when things can be done to get a sense of when I can release. And March is realistic. It just so happened I became a cousin for the first time on March 12th 15 years ago. I AM a family girl, I’ve had several videos, singles and releases dropped on family member’s birthdays. Whoever seems to have an apt birthday… 😉 It’s my way of celebrating them a little extra.

Besides working a bit on the release the past couple of days I’ve taken it easy. I lost a pint of blood yesterday. Voluntarily! But still! I’ve donated blood regularly since I was 19, because why not? I have big thick veins the nurses love, a high amount of iron (even being veggie and a woman it’s still around 140 with 100-120 being normal) in my blood, and I’ve got A+, a major blood group. But it knocks the wind out of me for a day or two for sure! Keep in mind that blood delivers oxygen to most parts of the body, so losing a tenth of it does brush off the top of your stamina for a few days. Had a bit of a comedic moment yesterday at work when I snacked for the FIFTH time (I love food, I’m a proud eater, but having to eat non stop not to kill people is annoying). Co-worker: “You’re pale, you’re annoyed, you eat all the time, giving blood is what gives you PMS!” (She knows I don’t really get PMS, I’m a bit too calm). “Grumble grumble” *giving her killer eyes*. “Want the last of my sugar fizzy drink?” Me, softening and looking hopeful: “Yes, please…” So yeah, a good indication of what could be if I actually PMS:ed a bit more 😉

So I’ve put rhinestones on my fingernails. Actually not my fingernails, the fingernails on my cool winter mittens with fingernails on them. I’ve hemmed the only two pair of trousers I own. And I’ve finished some drawings long overdue that I made for winter, which is a bit wonky and schizo in Sweden at the moment (winter, not the drawings). I actually did four, but using non-pro fiber pens two of them didn’t turn out the way I liked. I did get to use watercolour pencil on the snowman, my boss lent me her set for the drawing (the art stuff she owns would blow your mind, her drawings too, why she’s not an illustrator I’ll never know). I wasn’t quite satisfied as I had to use fingers a lot, I have no brushes at the mo’, but it was still fun. I’ll probably get a small set of my own (brushes and watercolour pencils) later this spring, but the two first months of the year are always a bit poor for me, so I can’t really make it a priority now when I don’t draw for a living, even though “I love it and it calms me” IS a good reason. But right now it’s album release bonanza. And that ain’t a bad thing either.

Snoflake Snowman

A singer of a band with my name on it…

I did indicate a bit of a grumpy mood at how we were handled on our first gig this year, and I thought I’d explain that a bit more, I’m not worried about being portrayed as the picture perfect happy artist in this case.

First of all, let me make it perfectly clear. We were tighter than ever, we played brilliantly, and the audience and most of the arrangers full on got my thing and approached me when giving the compliments and asking the questions. So the gig itself I am perfectly content with.

The events surrounding it sucked monkey balls though. We had this big meeting with all the bands, all the personel gathered, and the presenter made his case to us. “I’ve played this and this band and I’m a brilliant contact to have.” Oh! Fair enough. I’m no good at talking and I’d gladly hand the torch over a lot of the time, but I’ll do my job when needed, and this seemed like a good time. So he approached us. “How long have you been playing?”

Me, after Robin the drummer pointed at me: “Oh, I’ve been writing since 14!” … “Uh, yeah, but how long have you been playing together?” “Uhm, since about 2012, that’s when I really felt I’ve got the right gang. You see, I’m the artist. I write the songs, I run the show, I’ve just happened to play with a crew/posse I like since 2012, so I’ll play with them whenever I can. Like Patti Smith and the Patti Smith group, or Tori Amos and her Matt Chamberlain/Jon Evans combo”.
“Yeaaah, I don’t know who they are.”… Oh? An experienced musician, serious about his work? No clue about Patti Smith or Tori Amos? Well… OK. “Awright then, I’m the artist, it’s my sh*t, put it simply, and I work with some awesome people!”
“I dunno how to write that…” And then he ignored me, listening only to Robin, the only male member of the posse. I tried to get some points across, and Robin tried to ball the questions over to me everytime, but he wouldn’t listen.

The gig came and we got presented: “They want you to try different instruments, in the band Maria Bohm.” (And no, it’s not a sloppy typo, the purpose of my music is to get people to try instruments :P) Me, clearly in the mic and speakers: “Uh, yeah, I’m the artist, it’s all my stuff, and I just play with some brilliant people, it’s NOT a band” Presenter, sourly; “That’s not how I perceived it, I thought you were a band!”. … Uh, really? I mean… really?!! After all the attempts to clarify?

Anyway, the gig was brilliant, but it looked almost painful for him to take my hand and shake it afterwards, no problem with Robin’s though! Well, OK, as long as the rest of the bunch got it?

But no… this article was fed to me afterwards;

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I am basically reduced to the singer of a band with my name on it. And my musical style is almost depicted as pretend. And while I saw the photographer struggling to get good angles of men twice my size, my photo wasn’t a big concern. I won’t dive into this too much, but no wonder the news publish more unflattering pics of women. Apparently they’re not even supposed to try with us, we should look good no matter what angle…

This may all look like small potato to you, but several small things add upp to a lot of big things, allowing us women to be scrutinized in a totally different way in this business, and I’m not playing along.

Ed Sheeran always have musicians on stage, yet it’s never the band “Ed Sheeran”. I am not a project. I am not a band. I even wrote most of the harmonies, notes, lines, instruments and drums on this albums without having the musicians having to “translate” from the demos, and that shouldn’t even matter. It’s my sh*t. And it apparently seemed so inconcievable that a woman was running the show that my show got reduced to being a band with me as a singer in it. “No one” could get it otherwise.

I will clarify, even though I shouldn’t have to; I love it when my musicians talk my music. I’d trust them to the end of the world to talk about it when I just feel like getting ready for the show. But when you ignore the friggin source when she TRIES to answer the questions? Like talking to Matt Chamberlain and Jon Evans all about Tori and not listening to her when she’s present at the interview? So friggin off!

And I KNOW this happens to men and men suffer from the industry but the dimensions are nowhere near how women encounter this. I’ll leave you to this article, which will hopefully make you understand my quiet boil, which I used to defend friends this weekend on feminist pages since I couldn’t let it out on the gig…

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/21/bjork_pitchfork_interview_she_s_tired_of_not_getting_credit_for_her_music.html?wpsrc=fol_tw

A decade of Mezmerizing and Hypnotizing

I’ve gotta give a shoutout to System of A Down and their two albums that changed my life in 2005. I mean, I say they’re an influence, and people wonder how the f*ck can they influence my music? My answer? I don’t know.

I just know I loved Toxicity, I loved Steal This Album, and that was it. But when they released this… I played it round the clock. I was obsessed, and I didn’t even now why. It was just on repeat. I couldn’t stop listening. I’m still contemplating that they put some kind of subliminal, positive brainwashing messages in there. Because all of a sudden I was like: “Heeey, TV and fashion magazines are brainwashing me!” And I stopped watching TV, and I ripped up and burned all my Cosmos and similar mags. And I wrote songs for four hours a day instead. Most of my songs from my soon-to-be three albums are from this period of time in 2005-2006, so say thank you to the nice rock group! 🙂

It was also during this period of time that I overnight started fighting for the underdogs, for equality, for not buying into the small shit we are distracted with, missing the bigger picture. Yes, literally, overnight. I remember this morning in October 2005 when I woke up with these thoughts and became so angry with media distracting me with the wrong things. And I thought: “My life is gonna be about helping”. So the “Equality Knight” I’ve been jokefully named was born right then and there. People looked at me funny when I looked for eco, fairtrade and locally produced, because it hadn’t become fashionable yet. New Age circuits believed there was a wave hitting the receptable at that very night, one out of three nights, so who knows? I’m glad I’ve got company now! 🙂

Anyways, first gig of the year went smoothly, weird energy from some guys refusing to talk to me and shake my hand though (but gladly shaking my male drummers). At this point, I’m really used to it. Too bad one of ’em was in the jury, and a presenter, and couldn’t present me properly, or get what I was about, to save a life… As I said. Prepared. The audience was great though! 🙂

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Pre-gig selfies. I’m no good at duckface 😉 …  ;

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Live shizzles

I told you I would sit on the second live 2015 surprise a bit longer, well, now it’s on. I’ve begun to practice Tori Amos style, i.e. playing two keyboards simultaniously, and while I MAY not be ready for the first show (still got some kinks and co-ordination to work out but it’s progressing fast) on friday, make sure to come to my live shows and see firsthand when I begin! 🙂

Let me just tell you it’s a proper workout. I have this “step counter” on my mobile phone, recording my steps, you know, you’re ideally supposed to fit in about 10 000 each day, and each song when I’m standing up and playing and singing gives me about 100 steps now (in 3 minutes), even with constricted movements. And I’m sweating bullets.

But having fun and quite happy. As you can see. I might ask for the “carola”-fan (Swedish, Carola fläkt, very Eurovision) next time, just to not stink up the place, the drummer looks quite relaxed and commercial with his fan! 😉

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Master of my domain

Wow, the last 24 hrs have been interesting. I posted the Björn Afzelius- Sång till Friheten, and thought nothing of it. It’s not even a cover, you know, just a voice sample for a competition. So “here you go then”. And it’s gotten about three times more plays in the first 24 hrs than any of my songs or covers get on the first day! Apparently people like Björn Afzelius! 🙂

I know I had good timing, in 2014 the “Tusen Bitar” film was out, so he’s fresh in Swede’s memories. But honestly, for me it was just: “Oh, bother, I have to sing something in Swedish, might as well do one of my dad’s old favs, he loved this song”. And I’m just a wee bit of a fan of the Swedish troubadour scene thanks to my parents, so why not? But I love that people seem to appreciate it, I had a fun time making the sample, and as I said, I didn’t even try to produce. So… wow…

On the note of album-making and my own original songs, mastering of the album finished today so I really see the release coming closer. I fought for more kazoo, and more kazoo I got! 😀 You’re all welcome… 😉 Mixer named it “the devil’s instrument” and I tried to pull out of hen (Swedish pro-noun, him-or-her, love it, so useful!) “How can you NOT like kazoo?” … “I can’t even begin to formulate an answer for that question.” Oh well, you all get some more of the awesomeness 😉

Here are some pics. Second one of my messy notes for the final mix and master process. I used post-its when my computer crashed, because post-its don’t crash. My handwriting is quite awful, so I had to interpret, but it works! 😉

First one of soon-to-come album cover. I purposely shook the camera to make them both blurry as I don’t want you to see the song titles, notes or actual cover til’ it’s all done, but I promise an explosion of things when album is released and I don’t have to be quiet anymore! 🙂

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Swedish Cåver

I was expecting this post. A friend insisted I tried out for the Tommy Körberg-thing, and it didn’t feel as horrible as trying out for Idol or Talang, so I went with it. Put simply: “I trust you, you’re my friend, I’ll try out because you want me to”.

And nope. But good for me to be able to release it in public! 🙂 It’s me singing in Swedish, as a voice sample. I couldn’t think of contemporary Swedish artists I liked ( a Swedish song-voice-sample needed)  so I went back to my childhood, my father loving the troubadours. Cornelis, Fred Åkerström, Björn Afzelius and then it was like; “yes, this song has stuck with me and I lurve it!”

I kept it simple. Only a voice sample and Afzelius always kept this song simple as well. I hear myself struggling with singing in my first language at times and going towards an English accent, but that’s OK 😉 And it’s only 2:15 long, so for you impatient listeners it’s perfect, and Swedish in singing is still quite interesting to listen to for snippets of time, I think.

And Tommy Körberg, who had the Swedish voice of the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” (that’s how my generation remembers him) said I should “never stop singing”, so that’s pretty cool! But I know my voice is a bit too quirky for Swedish music scene, so as I said, I was expecting this.

First rehearsals of the year!

I am finally on the go with rehearsals and I’ve missed it so much. Already more gigs booked in this year than I had last year and I can’t wait! Plus, it’s been three months since proper rehearsal with the gang, as we did our last recordings in October. So chappy chappy. We had our different theories as to what we should do to win Livekarusellen. I thought about stage diving with the piano, as the setting it on fire has already been done with Lady Gaga. Damn you, Gaga, always imitating me and my ideas! 😉

Then we thought about doing a Lion King intro. But most venues won’t accept you waving a cat in their face, what with allergies and such, even if you whisper a magical, cool “Simmm-bah…” into the mic. So we’re back to stage diving. I might have to.

Anyway, pics down below. One from rehearsal room and me and my bestest pals: The maker of the coffee, and Kiss Hello Kitty.

And one from the tragic storm Egon hitting us all in Sweden and traumatizing us this weekend. One of my chairs tipped and my balcony carpets got all messed up. Curse you, patriarchal storm Egon, the chair will rise again!

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Egon. We’ll never forget… always hits harder when it
hits you personally…

For the elderly and young and beautiful.

When work is calm and there’s not much to do but read a book or watch a film waiting for the set times to do something (key when working with autism) I usually read or do music work, but my boss insisted on me watching a film she’d just watched herself. It’s called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and is set in India. A group of retired people in Britain finds an ad for “The Marigold Hotel- for the beautiful and elderly”, and their different life situations have them going “well, why not, India is sunny and it sounds wonderful” (The owner’s business idea is actually “all countries wanna get rid of their old people, it’s brilliant” ) but of course, the hotel is not a wonderful resort, yet it grows on them anyway. Brilliant cast; Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson among others.

It had me thinking about age again. I’ve only just recently started working with more people, among them a 32-year-old woman with several kids, and we’ve been discussing. I tell her I’m not worried about age one bit and she goes “oh my, I’m worried all the time!” and I’m like; “well, that’s a very nordic thing, innit’? People abroad are quite amazed at how obsessed we are, apparently we’re worse than the modeling industry and Hollywood, and that’s saying something!” and she goes: “Yeah, that’s true.”

And it really is. Nowhere else in the world has this infantile idea that “30 is ooold” stuck quite as much. Most people outgrow it. Not here though. When I say I don’t worry I get a lot of: “Well that’s easy for you to say, looking so young!” Would it not be OK for me to not worry if I didn’t? What a weird concept! We’re beautiful in different ways. There’s no “right way” to be beautiful. We sure have an industry of “beauty products” telling us otherwise, but that’s because they make money of us, come on!

In most parts of the world, your 30’s and 40’s are for trying things out, being creative and doing your thing, especially in the entertainment industry, not your 20’s. Because 30 and up is where you have the confidence, the looks (that again) and the life experience. How many of your role models did their best job in their 20’s? I know I wasn’t even ready to face the hardships of making and album and dealing with difficult people until I was 26. Tori Amos was up in my number of albums she was proud of at 34. She even says in her book: “The Beekeeper” that her rebellious stage was for that age and that she gets to calm down and not breastfeed a pig now that she’s nearing 50.

Starting a family? Don’t even get me started… I was sober for a 30’s fest and drove some of the party goers into town, the girl next to me starts mumbling; “So… you wanna have kids?” (what a personal question you seldom ask men no matter their age!). “Errr, I guess… one day. I dunno, haven’t really thought about it, I mean… I’m barely 30!” (summer 2014 so I was weeks away). “Oh my god, you’re so weird! I’m 26 and I think about it all the time!” First of all… 26? This girl looked my senior… I understand why people say I look young! And second of all; yes… yes… it would be weird… if we weren’t two different individuals with two different minds… Taking hormones or adopting (which I’ve always supported anyway) is about 15 yrs away, and I’m not unusual in my line of work. Most wait ’til late 30’s so career doesn’t suffer. This goes for men too. And this could go for other lines of work if people weren’t so damn hysterical about it. “I want to be able to relate to my child!” Ah, well… erm… being a big lover of Spongebob and receiving rubber ducks, toys and barbies as christmas gifts this year… I’d say I’m not worried there either yet… A good example here is when Halle Berry was expecting for the second time, announced on this entertainment page. Everyone congratulated her. Except a Swede who commented: “Well, how fun will it be for the kid if it graduates when you’re 60?”. I guess as fun as any graduation…?

I hang out with all kindsa ages. And one thing I’ve learned is: You don’t change. You get more experienced and opinions get changed along the way, sure, but you don’t change. If I love Spongebob now, I will probably love weird kids shows when I’m 80 as long as they’re as brilliant.

And with expected life spam increasing, I’m sure as hell not gonna spend the next 50 years knitting! Actually, I hate knitting, so I might never. But I’m sure as hell not settling. My grandpa started building violins and playing them brilliantly at 60. My relative, Meta Velander, is almost 90 and still loves acting. I come from a long line of none settlers.

I’ll leave you with my reaction to my friend’s request. She gave me a present December 23d, asking that I didn’t open it until December 24th (Swedish christmas). “Oooooh, come oooon, why do I have to wait so loooooong?”. Getting older is inevitable. Growing up is a choice.

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You are certainly never too young or too old to be grumpy cat with a tiara!!

Three new shows

Mapped out and planned at last, and more to come, but dates not set yet.  As I think I’ve pointed out before, I love playing live and it’s been a huge sacrifice to not do so very much in 2014, but the album is one of my biggest projects yet, and pushing the envelope in many more ways than one to how I’ve worked before. I hope I can plan for the album to be released if not before, then some time during the last show, as I’ll be playing songs from the album and, well, you really wanna give the listeners an opportunity to know where they can get/keep listening to the music. I remember Lenka performing “Heart Skips A Beat” at Arvika in 2010, and it was just waaay to long of a wait til’ the album was actually released late spring (April) 2011. February in Singapore, still too long!)

It’s already been delayed a bit as I started asking around in late 2013 and arranging the whole thing, wanting 2014 to be the year of release. You know, every two years is a good number. One to create, one to tour. Tour year is pretty awesome, it’s when I try new things, show new skills and learn a lot by experimenting, those skills passing over to the next year and the next album.

However, I know plans in music means about twice the time lapse you think it’s going to be. And I’ve done the “major touring with album release” year before, so it’s not too bad. I needed 2014 to work on it though, I know that, but jumping back in the live saddle feels wonderful. Some suprises and new skills and new live tricks in store for you for sure! Earlier it’s been; new equipment with shiny buttons for me to press on from the comfort of my mic, new instruments. This year might be more organic, less tech;

Choirs might actually be added, which I can give away, the second suprise I might sit on for a bit longer! 🙂

For tour dates and updates on tour dates;

http://www.mariabohm.com/index.php?page=shows

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