Interviews Music

Music | Interview: Jennie Abrahamson

Following a tour supporting former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, Jennie Abrahamson has been making a name for herself. Spread across 9 countries over the last 2-months, Jennie has gone from being support act to joining Peter onstage with Peter including on ‘Don’t Give Up’.

“It’s been fantastic, in so many ways. I’ve always been a big Peter Gabriel fan, so on a personal level just getting the chance to work with him wasn’t exactly something I had expected in my lifetime. On a professional level, getting to lend the ears of Peter’s crowd in the supporting set every night has been such a gift. I’m truly grateful for that. I think the So Back to Front really was a fantastic show too, so I’m not surprised it got good reviews. It had a bit of everything.” she says.

It isn’t her first time supporting Peter on a tour or touring in that way though…

“No, I’ve been part of the whole ‘So Back to Front’ tour during four legs, the first one was North America in the autumn of 2012. And before I went solo I used to work as a freelance musician in Sweden, so I’ve done some bigger tours there. But none really that had this kind of production and so many people involved.”

Jennie got into music easily enough, coming from a musical family where her parents and older siblings were always playing instruments.  After some persistent nagging to her parents for piano lessons as a child, Jennie began her classical piano lessons at the age of 5.  But for her, it wasn’t exactly a career choice,

“I started my classical piano training at age 5 with a very strict german lady, and then started bands in my teens and on it went… A common interview question is ”When did you decide upon attempting a musical career?” – but it was never a choice for me. Music was natural for me, it was just who I was. Or how I viewed myself as a child. I’m trying to constantly remind my grown-up self about that simplicity of it.”

As for influences, Jennie was mostly listening to what her older sister played in the late 80’s. Music from Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, U2, Donna Summer & Kate Bush influenced her style, but one of her favourite acts of the past 12 months has been The War On Drugs;

“Great singers, songs and productions – it’s music that I still go back to. The album that really got to me in 2014 was “Lost In A Dream” by The War on Drugs, I’ve listened to that for days on end. There’s also been some of Blood Orange and Arcade Fire lately, and some Swedish colleagues like Linnea Olsson and Jonathan Johansson.”

At the moment, Sweden is bursting with new acts making the sub-heads on music blogs left, right, and centre.  For Jennie, being part of that has been inspiring to see acts and friends make a mark internationally.

“Stockholm is pretty small so in a way most people know each other or know of each other. I think the whole ”Swedish music wonder” has to do with just that, Sweden being so small, and that early on we saw people making it out in the big world  That creates a sort of ”oh, I could also do that” kind of feeling. I think ABBA is responsible for a lot of that! And as Sweden is so small and there are only a few who can live out of a career solely built on a Swedish audience, we have to think big. And I think we’re helping each other in doing that.

As for her setup on stage, it has always been about a solo project in her mind.  A bold move, especially when you’re settled in the comfort of bands or performing of her own volition;

“I’ve always loved and idealised the band thing – I think it’s one of the greatest things on earth to be in a band when you’re all in sync and you can make it work. In a way though, I have a band. Johannes Berglund, my co-producer and bassplayer, and Mikael Häggström, my drummer, were in the very very first band I put together when I was 13. So we’ve been with each other for a very long time, and we run a studio together in Stockholm. We’ve added a fantastic keyboard player this past year, Samuel Starck, and right now it’s been the four of us touring and I think it’s my best band setup so far.”

Jennie released her first single ‘The War’ ahead of her début album in March, which she describes as a “sort of a tribute song to those who endlessly fight for equal rights, regardless of sex.”  A song that also covers the feminist views in her, which she learned from her time at university in Stockholm.  Armed with a “more educated perspective” on a range of issues.  She sought to use the title as more of an analogy rather than a statement of intent, believing that there shouldn’t be a fight for rights, or indeed a war.

Upon the release of the record last month, Jennie plans to return sooner rather than later on her own set of dates.

“We’re going to tour Europe a bit in May, and then hopefully some summer festivals, so I do hope to get back to Dublin in not too long. Always lovely to come to Dublin, but I haven’t had any shows there in my own name. It’s about time!”

Jennie Abrahamson’s upcoming album “Gemini Gemini” is out on 27 March. New single ‘Wolf’ is out on 16 March.