By: Shayla Lee
If you have ever listened to Spotify’s ‘Most Beautiful Songs In The World,’ ‘Fresh Folk’ or ‘Evening Acoustic’ playlists, chances are your ears have been blessed by the musician Siv Jakobsen. Her distinct Scandinavian sound mixed with her innate lyricism provides the atmospheric landscape of her newest album ‘Live In Oslo’ which is reminiscent of Bon Iver’s self-titled album and Damien Rice’s ‘O.’
Recorded in front of a sold-out audience in her hometown of Oslo, ‘Live In Oslo’ brings together tracks from Siv’s EP ‘The Nordic Mellow,’ LP ‘The Lingering,’ and two cover tracks. The journey of ‘Live In Oslo’ begins with Siv’s atmospheric ‘Dark’ and ends with the epically stunning ‘Bullet’ which has such a beautiful string arrangement I teared up the first time I listened to it. She also put a sultry-gothic spin on Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ that will give you chills.
Siv took the time to walk us through the creative process of her live album and she also shared her musical influences, how growing up in Norway influenced her music, and what we can expect from her this year. She also places high on the relatability scale because just like us she spends half of her income at cafes.
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
Siv Jakobsen: I’m a songwriter, singer and guitarist from Oslo, Norway. I am a massive coffee-lover, and spend about half of my income on nice coffees in nice cafes, where I write lyrics for my songs.
I can’t say that there was a specific moment that inspired me to become a musician – I’ve been a singer since I was very young, and I can’t remember a time where being a musician wasn’t part of my dream or reality. However I didn’t get into songwriting until my early twenties, after getting really into artists like Ane Brun and Damien Rice, and realizing that I wanted to write that sort of music – beautiful and emotive and void of filter, and also realizing that I had it in me to write songs once I actually tried it out (and got a guitar to learn to play and write on.)
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
This is a tough one – it’s often described as melancholic, emotive and folky / acoustic by others.
When I listen to your music I can definitely hear the Scandinavian influences. Who would you cite as the musicians who have influenced your style the most?
Definitely! I’m perhaps shaped by the traditional music we have in Norway, the melodies that sound natural and normal to me may sound specifically “Nordic” to others.
I’m a big fan of Ane Brun, whose music has had an impact on how I started out writing. Her music taught me that it is alright to be bold and completely void of a filter when writing. As for who has influenced me the most it’s hard to say as I listen to a lot of different music, and what I listen to changes all the time.
When you were growing up was there a prevalent music scene in Oslo?
I’m sure there was – I spent most of my time singing in choirs and doing music in school though, and then I went to states right after high school to go to college, so I didn’t spend much time immersing myself in the music scene until I was an adult.
Congratulations on the release of your album! What inspired you to create a live album as opposed to an original EP or LP?
It just sort of happened – I decided to record the hometown show from the The Nordic Mellow album campaign as I had my full band and string section with me, not really having decided beforehand if I was going to release it or not. The recordings sounded so good that we ended up with nine really good tracks, so I thought it would be a shame to not just release them all 🙂 I will of course release more studio albums / EP’s in the future, but I’ve always loved live albums, so I thought it would be nice to release one.
How did you choose which songs to perform? With so many beautiful songs to choose from, I feel like I would be deciding between my unborn children!
Hehe, true! I just chose the songs that sounded the best from the show – there were about 16 tracks performed at the show, but I picked the ones that sounded best and had them mixed and mastered.
I’m sure that performing in front of a sold-out crowd in your hometown must have been really special. How did the experience recording a live album differ from a studio album? Since it’s a live album, did you feel more pressure to get everything right?
It was indeed so so special! I loved every second of it. And – since I hadn’t told the audience that it was being recorded and potentially becoming an album, I didn’t even think about it happening. I made it a low pressure thing – if the recording came out good, that would be a bonus from the show – if not, it was worth the try.
On your live recording of ‘Bullet,’ the strings sound both delicate and epic and it’s absolutely beautiful! Why did you decide to add the string quartet into your performance?
Thank you! Those strings were arranged by my good friend Christian Li and performed by my incredible string quartet – so I can’t take any credit for them! That arrangement was actually also on the studio recording of the tracks, so it felt natural to add it during the live show as well.
I love strings so much – they add so much emotion and really help me build my songs in ways I couldn’t do on my own – so having them as part of my recordings and live performances (when I can) has always been a no brainer for me.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women going through obstacles in their own lives?
I’ve had a pretty good time of it – haven’t experienced anything bad thankfully.
What do you have in the works this year? Hopefully we will see you in Canada sometime soon!
This year I am doing a few select shows and writing a new album – it’s a lovely time for me at the moment. I too hope to come back to Canada soon – I was in Montreal last summer and fell in love with it.
What songs are you currently listening to?