Jonna is a Finnish singer-songwriter based in New York City, whose soulful voice flirts with the pop in electropop. Not afraid to play with sounds of all kind, Jonna’s latest album Sound Mind explores her musical range and showcases her skills. Not only is Jonna a fabulous musician, she’s also a swell person. I caught up with her with a few questions so you can get to know her, too.
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?
I’ve been describing the music on my new album as “experimental groovy indiepop”. Experimental because I like to think that the sounds we created for the electronic instruments are unique. Groovy because most of the songs are mid tempo and have like an RnB groove to them.
You’re from Finland originally, how did you get your start in music?
I auditioned for a show called “Popstars” (predecessor to American Idol) in 2002 and I was 1 out of 4 singers that were selected into the girl band that they were looking for. I left the band soon after and got signed with Sony Music as a solo artist. My first single came out in January 2003 and my debut album was released that summer.
I know you have several albums in Finnish, what made you switch to English?
I grew up listening to English music and my dream was to one day perform all around the world, which would be much easier if people understood what I was singing. So after 3 albums and national success in Finland, I was ready to try out my wings and switch to English.
How do the music scenes in New York–or the States in general–compare to Finland?
There are far less music venues to perform at in our small country of 5 million people. And most of the venues are all booked up for months at a time. You need to start booking a show at least 6 months ahead of time. Whereas in NYC you can sometimes even get a gig for the same week. There are so many places to perform at and it also seems like more people go out and listen to live music even on weeknights. But I’m still trying to figure out how everything works. That’s just my experience so far.
What are you up to in NYC, what’s your focus right now?
I’ve been mainly focusing on performing and meeting musicians to collaborate with these past 4 months. Now it’s time to start submitting some music to music blogs, radios and pretty much anywhere. I have a lot of homework to do.
Is there any new music in the works?
We made a cool rendition of a song called “Like it is” from my album and I’m planning to release it as my next single. But first I need to find some filmmakers to collaborate with on a music video.
What two or three songs do you most want your audience to hear?
Still Breathing, Smile and Proud of Me.
What’s your favorite moment when performing?
What should we expect from you in 2018?
The new single, music video and hopefully some more new music later in the year. And lots of gigs of course.