When Swedish singer Sarah Dawn Finer sang at New York’s legendary The Bitter End some time ago, it was a homecoming of sorts. Though Finer was born and raised in Stockholm, her mother comes from the Bronx, NY and Finer has many relatives and friends in the city. The Big Apple is also where she first embarked on a serious career as a songwriter, and the city has provided her with endless inspiration.
“New York,” says Finer, “is my muse.”
She’s got a husky, mature voice, a big smile and sings the kind of melancholic love songs that are the perfect accessories for gray fall days. These are a few of the reasons why Nordic Reach likes Sarah Dawn Finer. There’s just something hearty and spirited about this girl who seems born to stand on stage.
“It’s something I’ve always done,” Finer explains. “I mean since I was like six years old and got a part in a TV-show. I’ve been performing ever since.”
She had an unconventional childhood growing up in a commune with constant access to the arts. Her mother’s a dance therapist, her brother Rennie Mirro a dancer, and as a child she was immersed in a multitude of musical genres – from Mozart to Bob Marley, Bob Dylan to Nina Simone via Janis Joplin. And Finer never hesitated:
“I never thought about doing anything but singing, acting, and performing.”
Yet, for many years Finer was known mostly as a back-up singer for artists like Eric Gadd and ABBA’s Agneta Fältskog. She also accompanied Putte Wickman, one of the world’s leading jazz clarinetists, on his last tour. To top it off, she starred in musicals and shows such as Rent and Godspell. However, in 2003 she took a break from it all and moved to New York where she spent time learning to write her own material.
“New York makes me feel alive. It lets you just be, it’s such a wonderful Mecca for artists. When I came back to Sweden I had a lot of material and l felt very energized.”
Still no record deals were forthcoming, and finally Finer assumed firm command of her own career and released her music on her own: The EP Sarah Dawn Finer came out in 2005. Although continuously bubbling under the music radar, Finer didn’t have her breakthrough until the spring of 2007, when she competed with her own I remember love in the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest. She didn’t win – but established a permanent place in the hearts of the Swedish people. When her full-length debut album came out it debuted as number 2 on the Swedish album charts.
Now the sky’s the limit for Finer.
“Oh, I want it all!” she smiles. “I want to sing my own songs, I want to act and do musicals, I want to do challenging things. Things I don’t quite think I can do.”
Next up for Finer is the part of Lucy Harris in the musical Jekyll & Hyde at Stockholm’s Chinateatern.
For more info, see: www.sarahfiner.com