Swedish Theresa Andersson will appear on Late Night with Conan O'Brien this week—if you happen to be on the East coast, you may also be able to catch her at a live performance.
With one of Theresa Andersson’s recordings reaching over 783,000 views on youtube (the song Na Na Na recorded in Andersson’s kitchen / recording studio at her New Orleans home) we are inclined to agree. She toured California in January, performing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego and will be on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on February 4, then on Feb. 6 at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, NYC. (www.joespub.com)
Joe’s Pub is part of The Public Theater, located at 425 Lafayette Street between East 4th and Astor Place in New York City’s East Village.
The street address for Joe’s Pub is 425 Lafayette Street, NYC NY. 10003.
New Orleans' roots in jazz and blues go as deep as the waters of the mighty Mississippi River. The jazz there is jazzier, the soul deeper and the blues bluer. Amidst all the enormous talent of the Big Easy is Theresa Andersson, from Sweden, who has managed to carve out quite a name for herself as a musician to reckon with.
“I’ve always believed in following my heart,” says Theresa Andersson and takes a sip of lemonade. She is sitting in a huge Tribeca loft, temporarily on loan from a friend, while she is passing through New York City on tour.
It’s a slow, hot summer day in New York, the kind that must remind Andersson of the hot and balmy days in New Orleans…for the Big Easy is Andersson’s base and number one source of inspiration. She first arrived there when she was 18 and fell in love with the complex and sensual city. For the most part, she has lived there ever since.
“There is a dark mysterious undercurrent in New Orleans that just pulled me in,” she says. “It felt right for me to be there, I felt at home in my heart.”
Andersson, who is originally from the little island of Gotland in Sweden, was young and admittedly a bit naïve at first. She also struggled with the language, so it took some time before she caught her balance.
“I’ve changed a lot since I first came,” she goes on. “Of course I’ve gotten older, but also musically I’ve changed.”
Growing up, her main interests were music and horses, and when the most expendable party had to be removed, music remained. Her mother played the piano and the accordion, and Andersson got her first taste of performance at Sunday school.
“I sang at Sunday school and was four when I performed in front of an audience. Later on I learned the violin, it was my first instrument.”
Instead of continuing to study music, however, she decided to go to America and New Orleans with a boyfriend. She got hooked and stayed. Studying music at an institution is one thing, absorbing it through your soul and your senses from musicians touched by the poetry of America’s south, is another.
“I had no history in New Orleans so it felt a bit like starting over. I’ve invested many years here, but I also feel like the city welcomed me, people there welcomed me….”
The respect she’s garnered from other musicians is something she thinks has to do with the fact that she doesn’t just sing, she plays several different instruments, and she writes her own music, too.
“I’ve worked around the city with many people, like bassist George Porter and drummer Johnny Vidacovich. I’ve built up my network slowly.”
It’s an impressive network, but Andersson is an impressive musician. Since coming to America she’s picked up several new instruments, like the drums and the mountain dulcimer.
“I’m inspired by the music that springs from New Orleans. With that I mean the soul, rhythm and blues of the 1960’s, Allen Toussaint and Betty Harris. I’m really inspired by Betty Harris. There’s something very funky with the music in New Orleans that you simply cannot find anywhere else. When I play with musicians from other places, I miss it.”
With her new album, entitled “Hummingbird, go”, about to be released, Theresa Andersson has embarked on a tour. She is excited about her material and about touring.
“It’s wonderful, this one-woman show I’m having, because it’s something I care very much about.”
Her show builds on the concept of musical looping, with Andersson using a boomerang-shaped device with pedals.
“Working with looping is like making a quilt or a collage of sounds and pre-recorded details. Nothing is synchronized and that’s the charm, because it’s always alive, never the same. Music feels more like art to me now than ever before.”
The new album, which was produced by fellow Swede Tobias Fröberg, contains music all written by Andersson. The lyrics, however, she left for poet Jessica Faust.
“We spent time talking, Jessica and I, and when she gave me the lyrics I felt like they were truly about me. Tobias also wrote some lyrics for me, a little flirtier, they fit right in.”
Andersson plans to be touring a couple of years, and will miss walking along the Mississippi, sticking her fingers in the soil in her garden, or even sewing – all of which she enjoys when at home.
“But that’s fine,” she concludes. “I’ve worked hard and long to get to where I am now, and I am living my dream. I remember way back when I was in a choir on Gotland, we sang this song with text from Ecclesiastes, where it says there’s a time for everything, and I’ve always remembered that, because I think that’s so true. There’s a time for everything, and my time is now.”
More info: www.theresaandersson.com or www.myspace.com/theresaanderssonmusic
Her performance at Joe's Pub is scheduled for 10 PM on Feb. 6. Call 212-967-7555 or see www.joespub.com for more info on the performance.
www.nbc.com/super-bowl/commercials/video/clips/bud-light-swedish/981841/ - Conan O'Brien's "Swedish" SuperBowl commercial