She claims to be super tall, even for a Norwegian! Despite living in countries with cold temperatures, she wishes to spend her life in shorts. And your ears are going to bleed if she talks about her passion, because she just won’t shut up! This week’s guest on Friendly Fridays is a Norwegian singer and pianist making London crazy about her, Louise Thommessen.
Having had gigs in London, playing since the age of 5, Louise is set to impress the world with her original compositions. Currently a student at SOAS School, University of London, studying politics and development, Louise spends most of her time laughing calling it her favourite thing. Louise talks a lot for a singer and we absolutely had a ball interviewing her. She can mesmerize you with her stories of Norwegian smagodt ( a pick and mix candy that’s her favourite)
ED Team: Welcome to Friendly Fridays Louise! First things first! Tell us a bit about your music?
Louise: My music is me and my piano hanging out. Whenever I’ve been making my own material or covering some of my favorite songs, I’m simply having precious alone time. Although sharing music has been really fun so far, and I would love to continue doing so (!), it’s the one space where no-one can really interfere with my thoughts. In a very good way!
Lyrically, I get inspired by the people close to me. I rarely start out writing about myself – it’s usually someone else’s story that gets me going. I mean, of course, I get personally engaged. No song is objective. I can have an idea in my head that, when being transformed into music, starts spinning off and developing itself in a different direction.
ED Team: Well, as an audience we believe your music connects both with its rhythm and the lyrics. What developed your interest? How did it all start?
Louise: I have always been fascinated by music. When I was a baby, my dad would pick up the saxophone every now and then and play a few songs. I would crawl towards the sound, sit on my bum and excitedly sway along to the music.
In my childhood home, we had a grand piano that we were holding for my godfather (we still are, luckily). My two older sisters started playing, and as the youngest child obsessed with their routines I of course saw the need to get into it myself! I already had a long ‘career’ of entertaining my family with songs and plays, and adding an extra musical edge to it was not a bad idea. Although I played the piano for a while, it really became the most fun when I learned how to make the piano complement my voice rather than the other way around. I had two great, fun, young music teachers when I was around 11 and 12 who taught me how to really appreciate all the fun there is in music! From where I’m sitting now, they might have been my greatest musical inspiration so far. It is important to remember all the fun.
Also, I’ve attended a few music schools throughout the years. I attended LaGuardia, an incredibly cool performing arts high school in New York, for a year when I was living abroad with my family. I think studying amongst so many talented and dedicated young teenagers got me to think about music a little more sincerely.
ED Team: I think we will agree with your thought about sincerity with your passion. Since you are past the Youtube cover phase and work on your own original compositions, we wish to know more about the inspiration and thought there?
Louise: As mentioned, I loved putting on shows for my family when I was younger. That led to me wanting to make songs for my audience – which at that point consisted of my family and their friends who were forced to participate. It probably started as a way of communicating my feelings and thoughts towards both me and the people around me – although that is quite weird, as I really have no problem at all doing that verbally!
Throughout the years, making original music has been a form of release and relief I guess. Both lyrically and compositionally, music gives you the tools to explore different parts of your mind, thoughts and emotions. It might sound super cliché, but it really is a great way to connect with both yourself and others.
ED Team: When we speak of connect. How has your parents’ connect been with your music? Do your parents see you as a future Grammy nominee or are they can’t wait till you get rid of your piano and make your way into a fancy white collar job?
Louise: (Laughs) Haha! I know most musicians have struggle convincing their families about their passion. But my case is a little different. My parents are over all incredibly supportive; they really just want me to live a happy life whether that means pursuing a professional academic career or exploring the music-world further. Though the value of education is imperative (I am currently studying Politics and Development Studies, quite non-music related), and I’m finding my academics exceptionally interesting and giving, I’m never really worried that they won’t accept my career choices – no matter what they may become in the future. I feel really lucky to be surrounded by family and friends that support my decisions and that stay interested in my life and my work.
They don’t consider my music ‘noise’ because very often they ask me to play for their friends or show their friends my music. They are super enthusiastic about my gigs here in London and they give really good and thorough feedback whenever I need it. They are really good listeners! My dad even harmonizes and snaps his fingers along when I’m playing at home. He’s actually really good, too.
ED Team: We know you’ve been having gigs in London and you’re quite the singing sensation there! What was your first performance like? Does it have some nervous sweat stories attached or were you a natural?
Louise: Never thought I’d be called a singing sensation! I pretty much had my first solo gig ever here in London this fall (though my mother insists the first was in fact in a hotel lobby in New York). It was quite unofficial and informal, but I was super nervous nonetheless. I prepared for days, as I had to actually finish a few of my songs as well as perfecting many covers – I had a lot of half-done projects, as I hadn’t intended to share them. Though I’ve always loved performing, performing your own, personal material and interpretations is a whole different experience. I was to play at the terrace at Proud Camden, a great venue here in London that I’ve visited several times to check out music, and plenty of my friends showed up (they are the absolute best, they keep showing up!). The time got a bit crammed, so I didn’t have time to preform my whole set, but the cheering crowd of smiling, friendly faces was such a boost. It must be added that the guy playing before me actually held my mic for me throughout the whole set, as we couldn’t get it to stand properly – way to help a brother out. Overall a really cool experience – I’ve been back there to play and I plan to do so again!
I’ve had a few more gigs here in London over the past months, and have some more coming up – for example on January 17th, when I’m playing at The Good Ship – another great venue here in London and definitely one of my favorite places to play. I’m also playing in Oslo this summer, which will be both terrifying and amazing. Looking forward to more adventures!
ED Team: Talking of adventures, how adventurous are your Fridays? I mean besides the usual sleeping, eating, bathing and singing?
Louise: Honestly speaking, my Fridays are very normal, I might relax with a bag of smågodt, but I’ll most likely be out with my friends drinking and dancing and discussing all at once. Or I might be playing some music.
ED Team: So one can say music is not just a part ,but a way to live life. Any artists you are currently impressed with musically or as an inspiring figure?
Louise: Although I’ve been terrible at keeping up with new artists lately, I have some favorites. For example, I love James Bay at the moment. He has received well-deserved recognition this year, and he’s truly fresh and talented. He’s been touring with the amazing Hozier, who I consider a lyrical mastermind and a musical genius. What I love about both of these artists, along with classic inspirations such as the great Jeff Buckley, is that their music seem so wise – it’s like they’re old men who has experienced long and emotional lives that are now trapped in young, hip bodies. Also got to mention Matt Corby: ‘Trick of the light’, amongst many others, rocks my world.
I know these are all guys, and there are so many talented female musicians out there as well! Such as the Norwegian newcomer Emilie Nicolas, who creates a wonderful musical universe in her debut album, or Danish Agnes Obel who also carries an incredible wisdom in her songs.
ED Team: What’s your core belief in life? That one saying that keeps you going?
Louise: This is a difficult question. In one way, I believe that hard work pays off and that things shouldn’t be done half-heartedly. On the other hand, I think that there is a reason why some things are done half-heartedly at times, and that one should accept not always being capable of doing the right thing, the best thing or the most important thing. And one should accept that no one else could do the right thing or the best thing all the time either. At least that’s what I tell myself at night – but living by it is always more difficult.
All you readers wondering how to stalk Louise now, can check out her Facebook page and her Soundcloud channel linked below:
We wish this talented beauty a great journey ahead. Hope she invites us to the Grammys someday!