A unique and captivating singer/songwriter, Tuva Finserås is originally from Drøbak, Norway but shifted her entire life to Melbourne in order to study, write and perform music in early 2015. She began her career in music early on in life, experimenting with violin and playing at the yearly festival of Norwegian folk music, before moving on to piano at the age of nine, eventually developing a deep passion and love for songwriting and going on to compose and arrange every note of every song she writes.
Courtesy of Lisa Businovski
Tuva’s latest project sees her working with producer Benjamin McCarthy who has previously worked with the likes of Alex The Astronaut, Gordi, nyck, Thelma Plum, Kate Miller-Heidke and Pete Murray. The producer was instantly drawn to Tuva and her music after being an audience member at her show earlier this year. The full EP that they have been working on is on its way, in the meantime Tuva’s two debut singles ‘Easy Going Monday’ and ‘Paintings and Photographs’ will be available on Spotify and all other music services in the coming week, or you can listen to them right now on her Triple J Unearthed page
Triple J DJ, Dave Ruby Howe, rated the single ‘Easy Going Monday’ four and a half stars, saying, “One of those ones that made me take my headphones off on first listen and excitedly check with my Unearthed mates that everyone had heard how good this was. Enchanting voice and it’s cast atop a sweet and swirly backdrop.”
Courtesy of Lisa Businovski.
We recently sat down with Tuva to discuss her new musical workings and her plans for the future as a musician in Melbourne.
Outlet: Could you tell us a little bit about ‘Easy Going Monday’ and ‘Paintings and Photographs?’
Tuva: ‘Easy Going Monday’ is about having a day off work or school and living that day in your own little bubble; sipping on your coffee, watching other people go by with their lives. Have you ever had that feeling when you wake up early thinking you have to go to work or school, but then you realise that it’s a weekend or holiday? When I was in high school, I really liked that feeling, so when I was waking up on a Monday morning and thinking ‘I have to go to school now’, I said to myself ‘wait, no this is a public holiday – or so I pretended – and I’m just going to do my own thing’. Sometimes you feel the weekend is just way too short, and wish you could turn the Monday into a resting day, and sometimes the extra alone time can do wonders.
‘Paintings and Photographs’ is a pretty dark song with a bit of edge. The lyrics leave a lot of room for the listener to make up their own pictures in their head. The song is about the more unconscious side of our mind and all the imagery that it processes and creates through our memories and dreams. It’s pretty mysterious.
O: How have you enjoyed working with producer Ben McCarthy?
T: I really enjoy working with producer Ben McCarthy! He is a wonderful person as well as a really great producer. When we’ve been recording vocals, his cat Rollie sometimes comes into the studio meowing in the takes, which is really funny and adorable. I’m really thankful to be working with someone such as Ben McCarthy.
O: When and how did you figure out that you wanted to be a musician and songwriter?
T: I always knew I wanted to do something creative. After I’ve created something, I get this really joyous feeling, and the process of creating is almost a bit therapeutic. When I was very young, I was into a lot of movies and my biggest dream was to act in a movie, however, I got really into music and songwriting in my early teens and the passion has never gone away since then.
Courtesy of Lisa Businovski.
O: Have the two different cultures of Norway and Australia affected the sound of your music in any way?
T: Well, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different music, both in Norway and Australia. I’ve always liked the typical Norwegian sounds like in Edward Grieg’s classical pieces, and I’ve grown up with Norwegian folk and dance music all around me. Then I came to Australia and I started to listen to a lot of bands such as Tame Impala which is such a contrast! I believe even Australia’s hot weather has had some effect on me to get really into chill rock music or music of the more funky or psychedelic type.
O: When it comes to musicians and songwriters, who are some of your biggest inspirations and why?
T: I remember the first artist I really got crazy about was Michael Jackson. His singing, dancing, personality and songwriting were all unique. Every instrument and part in his songs have their own personality and necessity, so it feels like everything just fell down from the sky. My biggest inspirations today are bands such as Sigur Ros, Alt J, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Muse and Vashti Bunyan, so it’s a great variety! Each of them has their own great uniqueness, and you can instantly recognise the artist from their song. I also love good old jazz artists like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, and also the singer/songwriter icons Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens.
O: If you had to describe your music to someone who had never heard it before, how would you describe it?
T: That is a hard question! Well, each song has a lot of meaning lyrically, a lot about what I write affects me personally. Apart from lyrics and melody, the arrangement plays a big part in my songs. There are always quite a few tracks and layers of instruments, and the arrangement can be quite quirky. I want the songs to have a distinctive personality depending on what the lyrics are about, so they are all quite different structurally and instrument-wise. However, quite a lot of my songs end up being in B minor without me being aware of it and there are quite a few animals always turning up here and there.
O: What does your songwriting process involve?
T: It is actually quite different from song to song. I usually don’t sit down and try to come up with a whole song. At first, I get some sort of an idea out of the blue, whether it’s a melody line, something instrumental or a chord progression. I record or write the idea into my phone, then later I can sit down and try to work around that idea. The song can fall into place quickly or it can take a bit more time and effort. When there are enough ideas to make a full recording, I record in Logic, then it’s easier to develop the song and ideas further. I find that it can be good to play around on the guitar or piano, sometimes I get good ideas from that. I also think finding music that I really like or doing something that I really like can get me in the right creative mood and help me to get creative ideas.
Make sure to have a listen to ‘Easy Going Monday’, ‘Paintings and Photographs’, and also the EP when it is released!