5 Minutes with ALMA: The Finnish pop star on vulnerability and her love for the UK
HUNGER catches up with the flame-haired singer following the release of her latest single, ‘Summer Really Hurt Us.’
ALMA’s captivating blend of intricate storytelling, honesty and impassioned vocals have made her one of the most exciting pop stars we’ve seen over the past few years. The Finnish singer burst onto the scene in 2017 when her single ‘Chasing Highs’ became a platinum-selling top 20 UK hit thanks to its infectious hook and tropical house sonics. Since then, ALMA has only gone from strength to strength, she’s worked with pop royalty such as Ariana Grande and Charli XCX as well as released her stunning debut album Have U Seen Her in 2020.
Fast forward to today and ALMA has returned with her latest single ‘Summer Really Hurt Us.’ As this summer comes to a close the 26-year-old reflects on a previous summer where it all went wrong. The lyrics reflect on feelings of guilt and regret for what could’ve been but a bouncy synth-pop instrumental keeps the spirits high. Whether you’re looking to cry or let loose on the dance floor, there’s enough room for both in the track’s three-minute runtime, and you won’t want it to end. Here, HUNGER chats with the pop sensation to talk through her latest track, musical balance and her proudest moments.
What’s been the biggest influence on the music you’re making right now?
My family and friends are a huge influence on the music I make as well as old music that I used to listen to when I was younger. There was also this indie club Tavastia that I used to go to when I was younger which influenced me and powerful female artists always inspire me like Lady Gaga, Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus.
You’ve always been very open in your lyrics but with ‘Summer Really Hurt Us’ you go into a lot of personal details, would you say you’ve become more confident over the years to share your darker times on record?
100%. I also think that I’ve just become a better writer and much better at expressing my feelings and emotions. On this album I wanted to be 100% honest about everything, even if it would be something bad to say out loud.
You always have that balance in your music of being vulnerable whilst also being able to have fun, is having that balance important to you?
Well, that’s just how I experience life. There are darker times but I just somehow keep ongoing. Giving a positive message and hope to the world right now is important to me.
How do you think your younger self would react to the success you’re having right now?
She wouldn’t believe it. She would feel very overwhelmed but proud and freaking out!
What have you been most proud of in your career so far?
Playing my first ever festival at Flow Festival, playing Glastonbury. Working with Max Martin, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey on the Charlie’s Angels track.
You’re about to go on your European tour in November, how’re you feeling about That?
Super excited. It feels a bit weird to be back on tour as it has been a very long time since the last one. But I love that lifestyle so I’m more than ready to go.
You’ll be coming to the UK too, which is where you’ve had a lot of success. Would you say that’s a place you hold quite close to your heart?
Yes, I love the UK. I love the dark humour, it reminds me of home. UK crowds are always the best and if there are lots of students, they are always ready to party!
What do you think is people’s biggest misconception of you?
That I don’t write my own music or that I’m Swedish.
How do you think your music has evolved over the last few years?
A lot. I’ve grown as an artist, as a songwriter and most importantly as a human so much. I feel like I’m just so much better at expressing my feelings in the songs now.
You’ve already worked with some huge artists but who would be a dream collaboration right now?
Lady Gaga. Always.
What’s the best thing about being ALMA?
To be able to sing, make music and play music for a living. It still amazes me sometimes that all of this is real.
You’re obviously very into fashion too. What’s your favourite piece in your wardrobe right now?
My favourite piece in my wardrobe is a huge leather jacket. It looks like it could be Balenciaga but it was seven euros for me.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Literally everything. Music, music videos, gigs and lots of surprises. We’ve been working a lot behind the scenes and now it’s all coming out.