Josefina Sanner – productive songwriter releases debut album

Published: 2006-11-30 by Sebastian Tiger

Josefina Sanner has not experienced any difficulties with productivity whatsoever during her decade-long songwriting career. To date, she has written 600 songs, but she waited until last autumn before releasing her debut album.

Josefina Sanner comes from a family where music was a natural, everyday ingredient. However, taking up music as a career was not an obvious matter of course, but as Josefina has always needed to express herself in an artistic manner, she fought for her creativity and is able to devote all her time to music today.

For a long time, Josefina expressed her creativity mainly through painting but the music was never far away. During her childhood, she sang in a choir and played the cello. She continued to play the cello at the high school of music that she attended, but during those years she gradually devoted more of her time to singing.

Josefina was primarily interested in jazz and pop and applied for a place at “Kulturama”, the School of Performing Arts, in Stockholm. She sang with various groups and when she began composing music she realised that was what she wanted to devote her time and energies to.

“It was like discovering a religion. I could clearly express things through music that, although I had tried, I had not been able to express through painting. It became apparent that there was an incredible amount of music inside my head.”

Six hundred songs in ten years
Josefina is thoroughly tired of the “singer-songwriter” designation, because in her opinion it really doesn’t say anything about the music. Her early songs belong to a Swedish ballad cum pop tradition with an element of jazz. She moved on to compose what she likes to call acoustic folk/pop music.

“In more recent years, American music has had an increasing influence on my work. At the same time, my music and lyrics have probably adopted a more personal style.”

Shortly after starting to compose, Josefina became a member of STIM. She is pleased she did so and explains that it is reassuring to know that STIM supports the songwriters. These days, she uses STIM’s web services, but has not had time to enter all her songs yet.

Since she started composing ten years ago, Josefina has produced about 600 songs and, she declares, she can vouch for every single one of them. Her lyrics have a dark edge and are often about separations, as well as hope.

“After listening to my next album, one of my friends pronounced it a "divorce album". And there is a melancholy strain constantly present in my songs, but it is just at the point where light and dark meet that my music emerges. My goal is to communicate, and I hope that people realise that I am totally sincere in my music.”

Characteristic features of Josefina’s music are a distinct line of melody and the way she clearly shapes the mood of the song. She thinks a lot about the function of the bass in music, which might be because of her background as a cellist.

Belief in the writing process
Josefina says that she could sit and write non-stop. The urge and enthusiasm to create music seldom desert her and come as soon as she sits down to play. Her belief that it will work is firmly rooted.

“I know that the songs are there. All I have to do is get them. The process doesn’t scare me in the slightest and, at the same time, I have a very permissive attitude toward what I create.”

The writing process, as she describes it, has a lot in common with improvisation. She doesn’t plan anything before starting to write. And when she gets started, most sections of the music come to her simultaneously, even some of the lyrics.

It may be because she finds it so easy to compose that she emphasises how important it is to set limits. This helps her to achieve simplicity in her music and gives her new opportunities for development.

“I would love to learn to use the cello in composing. I believe it would restrict me in a creative way.”

Josefina has composed a considerable number of songs with other songwriters. She enjoys this and intends to continue working in this way. She feels that because she has a tendency to be quick and persistent, it’s also beneficial for her to work on various projects with other people. As a result of her work with others, some of Josefina’s songs have occasionally appeared on the albums of non-Swedish artists. A couple of years ago, one of her songs became a hit in Spain, sung by Ana Torroja.

Debut album this autumn
Her debut album "Josefina Sanner" was released in October on the independent label Promising Records. Perhaps the album should have been released earlier on, says Josefina. She explains it was late in coming because she declined offers from larger record companies as she was concerned about losing control of the production.

The fact that this is a sort of "Best-Of" album makes it an unusual debut CD. Josefina has produced the album herself together with David Nyström and she says that she has had the privilege of working with some marvellous musicians.

After the album has been released, Josefina will play a number of gigs in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and other countries. She will also be performing at a singer-songwriter festival in Berlin at the beginning of September in conjunction with the Popkomm Music Festival.

“I hope that next year I’ll be able to fulfil my plans for a series of tours abroad, with concerts in the UK, the USA and other countries.”

Visit Josefina’s web site for further information [link to]

Mattias Franzén


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