Norway - Full Moon 80 - 04/16/03
An interview with...
"I have nothing to hide"
Barefoot was the title of Maria Solheims first album, first released in her native
Norway a couple of years ago. It was a thing of rare beauty - a folk-tinged singer/songwriter
album full of profound truths and moving stories you might expect from an ageing troubadour, but
not an 18-year old girl. Two years we now get her second album, Behind Closed Doors, a
record set to rival the likes of Heather Nova, Tori Amos or Kate Bush. Luna Kafé [and
David Bluhm, Gaesteliste; GL] met up with the quite
gorgeous Maria on the opening night of her last German tour in Hamburg.
Maria: "Tonight is special for me, because my record company is also based in Hamburg
and some of them are coming tonight. The last tour also ended in Hamburg, we like it very much
here. This tour is really exciting, because the last two tours we were the support act [for
German avantgarde popster Poems For Laila and US folkie Josh Rouse] and now we're the headliners,
so it'll be interesting to see if people come to see us at all!"
LK: One difference between Barefoot and the new album is the backing band.
What's the main difference between your own band now and the studio musicians on the first
Maria: "The main difference is that until now it was mostly my producers friends who
joined me on the recordings and now it's MY friends (laughs). My band is like my family, we meet
once a week for dinner or just talk and that's really important, just to be friends and to
develop something that is beyond music. It's important just to spend time toghether and to know
each other, because I think there will be a clearer expression when we play this way. We're not
five different people on stage, we're like one person instead of five. We're just three tonight
though and we really miss our drummer and our other guitar player."
LK: Did you write the new songs on your own or did did the other musicans helped
Maria: "No, I wrote them on my own, because when I was writing these songs, I didn't
know the other guys too well, we really got to know each other this year and with two of the
guys I have been touring a lot, in Norway I play two or three gigs a week, alone or with my
LK: So is playing live more important than making records?
Maria: "I don't make music to make albums, but i make albums because I make music.
Music is a way to express my feelings and thoughts and I get a distance to my own feelings,
because I am a person with a lot of feelings, i'm really emotional. For me songwriting is a
great way to sort out what I am actually thinking. And I think I'm always going to do that, even
though I might not always release CDs. Making music is not a therapy, but a big help for me. And
playing is so much fun. So it's not like: 'Oh, I'm gonna be a big star, I have to make CDs, it's
just a part of the process of me being a human."
LK: You said before that the first record is an open book - so why Behind Closed
Maria: "Actually, it's very open, because I reveal what is behind the closed doors!
The subjects I talk about on this albums are the ones that maybe people don't talk so much about,
like fear and the balance between fear and safety. I think that's very important, not only
because of what happened in America in 2001. I just had to write down what is my safety and what
I believe. Making music is always a process for ME and a way of dealing with my thoughts."
LK: I guess it's our job to find a catagory for your music, but do you consider
your music to be pop music? Because most people think pop is light-hearted and your music obviously
is a lot deeper...
Maria: "Oh, that's a nice compliment (laughs). I would say that Behind Closed Doors
is a kind of strange pop, if you can say that. It's not light hearted at all, and as I said, it's
a part of my life. On Barefoot it's my picture, my handwritig on the cover, it's me - but
then again it's not all of me. To think that people listen to my thoughts in their car is strange.
But in the end, if I can communicate with people and if these songs make for a good conversation,
that's one of the geeatest things that can happen. I'm really interested to learn, I don't know
everything about life, but I'm interested to learn and to get to know other people's fears and
other peoples way of looking at life. So it's really exciting and it's also very exciting to
travel outside of Norway."
LK: Could it be that it would be more helpful if you wouldn't become a big star and
people would approach you as "Maria - the superstar"?
Maria: "Norway is not a big country.... Actually, I had some wonderful conversations
with drivers, who've beend driving me from the shows to the hotel and all those people in these
kind of jobs are really interesting and they are trying to figure out things about those stars
and they really have some interesting questions. And to me that's really good, because I want to
know why I say the things I say and I feel the things I feel and believe the things I believe.
But I think you have a point with that "a star on stage that nobody dares to talk to". But
actually I haven't experienced that yet. At home in Norway I try to be Maria and just Maria. And
to my friends I'm only that. I try to stay away from the people who alway make me compliments all
the time. I try to stay with my old friends, people that were my friends before I made CDs. After
I made these two CDs in Norway, I've been more aware of the fact that I'm not that strong. And
talking to all these journalists I have to be aware of who I am and that's been a hrd process for
me, but still it's been really helpful for my life. As I said, I wanna talk to as many people as
possible - and I think that I will (laughs)!"
LK: I didn't mean to say you don't have a chance to deal with the situation!
Maria: "No, no, you're right, there's a danger in it and that's one of the issues that
I have to deal with. And if I allow myself to be that star, I have a problem, but then I have lost
the whole point of doing it. I think you can go quite far and still stay the person that people
will talk to. Jesus for example. He was really well known, but hehad the nerve to get down to the
people and that's the nerve that I need (laughs)!"
LK: Your lyrics seem to be very open at times. You can usually interpert them in
several ways, some wrong, some right...
Maria: "Yeah, that's really interesting, because people think they know me because they
know my thoughts and they go: 'Oh, I know what you meant in this song, you meant...' and that's
exciting to see. When I'm talking to the Norwegian media and people are asking me about the songs,
I tell them that I don't want to tell them what they are about, because I don't want to ruin
people's chance to have the wrong thoughts about me."
GL: But you are prepared that the media could piant the wrong picture?
Maria: "I had a dream last summer and I imagined that the media knew all the worst
things about me that they possible could know, but then I thought, it's okay, because I'm only
human and I'm not a big star and I have the problems than everybody else. I have nothing to
GL: What would've been your job if you wouldn't have had the chance to become
Maria: "Hmm, maybe I woud've worked with youths or i would have become a missionary in
China or something (laughs) I don't know! But I think even if I would quit music, I probably
wouldn't want to study to get a certain job, but then again I'm only a child yet.
GL: To end it all - any Famous last words?
Maria: "There is an answers to every question. Sometimes it's not really obvious and
sometimes more obvious than we can see and that is my main motivation to talk to people because
I know that there is an answer!"
Copyright © 2003 Carsten Wohlfeld
Copyright © 2003 David Bluhm