• The last week Maria Mena has felt bad. Her baby, the album "Cause and Effect", a piece of work she describes as "my fourth love child", landed in the reviewers' hands a couple of days ago, and the 22 year old has been sitting at home and dreaded the reviews.

    - How does it feel to let go of something you have such a strong relationship to?

    - It is never funny. I've had a week off and I've been sitting at home and feeling bad. Today, however, it feels really good. I've got some good reviews, and now I can start talking the journalists' heads off, she chuckles.

    It is producer Martin Sjølie who has had the main supervision with Maria's fourth album.

    - I experience the new album as bigger when it comes to arrangements, and maybe a little more bombastic in a positive way?

    - I experience it as the opposite. I've switched producer, and where we earlier would fill every free room in the songs in a more normal pop way, we've tried to make the contrasts bigger. That being said, it is incredible how many opinions people have about this record, she says.

    - Did you know beforehand where you wanted?

    - I had no idea. I've noticed that my way of writing songs has changed. I have been letting myself getting inspired more by music I've heard the last three years, and I've played with new genres, she says.

    Mena's distinct voice is the most central thread on the fourt album as well.

    - I've always been spoiled in proportion to my voice. It is easy to recognize.

    - Is it so that you can play with several genres and still be sure that it sounds like Maria Mena?

    - Yes, maybe. I try not to limit myself. So people rather get to stop me if I get into heavy metal, she grins.

    Mena has been inspired by everything from country to Russian folk music.

    - Three years have passed since the last record. I am not among those who listen the most to music. I had a little period where I listened to Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins. That resulted in "Cause And Effect", the song which was a little inspired by country. The song "Eyesore" I made after I got a record with Russian folk music after a visit in Berlin, she tells us.

    She still hasn't bothered to learn how to play an instrument.

    - In many ways my songs become what they are because I can't play an instrument. I and the songs become more intuitive that way. It is 100 % driven by fantasy, she says.

    The lyrics and the melodies she makes she give away to the producers, and together they work on it until they got the final result.

    - For a long time we discussed if I should learn how to play instruments. If I had learned to play three chords I am afraid all the songs would have contained only those three chords afterwards, she says.

    Throughout her entire career Maria Mena has let the listeners get to know her innermost feelings. She has served very personal stories that some times have been criticized for being a little too self exposing. That is also how it is this time. The stories are strong and the themes are oftentimes heavy and serious, and they are a contrast to the private happiness she experiences with the boyfriend Eivind Sæther.

    - The lyrics are a retrospective glance. I had to write them. I am aware that my lyrics will cause reactions, but I had a need to finish writing about certain themes. Most likely it will be an entirely different record next time, she says.

    She is a little surprised that the success in Germany and the Netherlands haven't made more headlines here in her home country than it actually has. If we judge by gold records in Germany and the Netherlands, five million views on YouTube, concerts in front of ten thousands, and a European record sale in over 250 000 copies of the last album, she might have a reason to be surprised. And she is visibly proud about the success.

    - I am a bit disappointed that journalists don't ask more questions about it. I was, after all, one of the biggest newcomers in Germany, she reminds us.

    That might also be the reason why it isn't many concerts in Norway in the first round.

    - I'll do two concerts in Norway in October. One in Bergen and one in Oslo. That is mostly to check if people show up. I haven't really established myself as a concert artist in this country, she says.

    The Netherlands will follow, and then christmas holiday, some other countries and a long tour in Germany in February. After that there may be more concerts here in Norway.

    Original-Artikel - Herzlichen Dank für die Übersetzung ins Englische an Thea Bjertnes

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