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Sweden's Sweetheart Corinne

NAJM Dance Culture
Her debut album scored a perfect 5 on NAJM's Album Reviews. Corinne is the fresh new talent out of Sweden on the Cool Music label. Combining R&B with vocal ballads, all spun together with a club sensibility, "This One's For You" has something for everyone! Corinne is busy preparing for her second album release. She spoke with NAJM from her home in Sweden.
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NAJM:  Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did your musical career begin?
CORINNE:  It was a couple of years ago in 1993. I’ve been singing since I was five years old. Everything from rock and roll to opera, I like all kinds of music, starting out with The Beatles and ABBA. Just standing in front of the mirror, singing in front of the family. I started taking singing lessons and joined a rock and roll band. My brother is a drummer so we started a band. Eventually I got together with two guys from a small town on the West Coast [of Sweden]. They are producing a group called the A-Teens, do you know them?
dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) NAJM:  Yes.
CORINNE:  RNT Productions. I met the two guys and they needed a demo singer. So I started to sing their songs and got a record contract in 1993. I’ve been with different record companies and got in contact with Roy Colegate over at Cool Music. We did a couple of singles but nothing really big. Then I spent two wonderful years studying singing and acting in a small town in the middle of Sweden. I learned a lot. When I got out it was 1997 and Roy had started his Cool Music label. We started from scratch with people that I liked working with including the two guys from RNT Productions. We recorded a few songs, and people liked them. The result is this album. It’s basically my first full length CD. It seems like I’ve been doing this for years. It’s hard. If a big record company doesn’t take you on, promote you, it’s difficult.
NAJM:  It can be a very confusing business. No doubt about that.
CORINNE:  When I started out in 1993, it was overwhelming. [The big record labels] want to change you, there are so many promises [they make] and nothing happens. But this feels great to work with Roy and it feels like me.
NAJM:  How is the dance music scene in Sweden?
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Swedish Dance Music Scene?

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CORINNE:  Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys are very big. They listen to other new artists from Finland, Europe and England. In Stockholm there are many more clubs and lots of different things going on. It’s just starting out [here]– we want to put Gothenburg on “the musical map” so to speak. Everything happens in Stockholm, go to Stockholm if you want things to happen. But the guys who produced the A-Teens album live on the West Coast and they refused to move from Gothenburg.
NAJM:  With such mega pop stars as ABBA and ACE OF BASE coming out of Sweden, have you found that people outside of Sweden have a preconceived notion of what Swedish dance music is all about?
CORINNE:  I hope they can see and appreciate the variety of artists that are coming out of Sweden like The Cardigans and Roxette. There are lots of good artists who are putting out music; we have a lot of different music going on. Of course, it’s easy to relate to ABBA and the big artists. But I hope that [Sweden] will be known for its variety. There is a lot of great music in Sweden.
NAJM:  When you think of the United States and Dance Music, who or what comes to mind?
CORINNE:  Wow, you have a lot of great artists. Of course I think of the big divas like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The great soul music I like very much. You have the feeling for the beat and the rap and all that. It’s very good in your country. Everyone tries to sound very American with the rap and soul, but I don’t think they succeed that well. I think there is a lot of music that doesn’t reach Europe.
NAJM:  Everyone says that if you can conquer the United States you can make it anywhere; do you think that that’s true?
CORINNE:  No. The United States is the biggest market for any type of music. So that’s partly true. The market in Japan is very different; I was there in 1999. The US is so dominate over the rest of the world, but I don’t think it’s true in every case.
NAJM:  I wanted to read you a couple of lines from our website review of your debut album ‘This One’s For You”. Overall the music production is stellar and very strong. It is so refreshing to find classic house music so alive and as fresh as this. The album is mixed with a diverse blend of material all excellently delivered by Corinne. We really enjoyed your album, how has you album been received in Europe and overseas?
CORINNE:  Mostly people are interested in the variety of songs from ballads to dance music. Some people might say that it is too spread out; they want just one type to go by. I think it’s a strong point to have the courage to do all sorts of music, like in the ‘80’s.
NAJM:  I love the 80’s!
CORINNE:  They didn’t follow just one voice or one sound. The production was different. I get questions about the different songs together [on the album], including the soul, R&B and house, and how did I enjoy doing it. I think most people like it. Everyone can find something that they like in it.
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Artist Input on Debut Album...

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NAJM:  How much input did you have in what was put out on the album?
CORINNE:  I’m very critical. I want to be a part of everything. But sometimes you have to listen to your producers. The producers, Roy, and I worked very closely together on everything from the cover photo, everything [else]. I feel like I’m surrounded by good people.
NAJM:  That’s very important. People constantly tell me to work with people that you want to work with who have good credit, who you feel comfortable with, who you feel will give you the quality product that you are looking for and I’m hearing that time and time again.
CORINNE:  When I started out with RNT Productions in ‘93, they didn’t listen to what I had to say. [Since then,] we both matured and when we got together again in 1997, we found a perfect way to make it work. They understood what I wanted to do, how I felt about the songs and it was just fun being in the studio.
NAJM:  I understand you did an extensive tour of Japan recently, what was that like? How were you and your album received there?
CORINNE:  It was incredible. They are incredible. I was overwhelmed. How friendly and appreciative they were [in Japan]. They showed their emotions in sort of a shy way, clapping along and they are very interested and curious. It’s a great feeling. They are very interested, not in just the music, but in who I was. I was really impressed with the Japanese people, how they treat one another.
NAJM:  Based on your tour there and your knowledge of the dance market in Sweden and other countries, what is your impression of the dance music market in Japan?
CORINNE:  They have a lot of things going on there. They have a very special taste for music, and they are very curious. A curiosity for new things and new sounds – they like the “Aqua” sound, Euro Dance, happy tunes. They want to explore new things, very open. As a new Swedish artist, it’s much harder to have a success here, in Japan it’s much more open – no matter who you are, or what production you have, or what label you’re on, it doesn’t matter to them. I think they are more open to new music. That’s a good thing.
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Segregated Dance Music?

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NAJM:  In the past here in the US, Dance Music has been treated as very much its own underground thing, but recently we’ve had a few dance singles and remixes explode onto the top 40 pop charts. Is dance music in Sweden as segregated as it is here in the US?
CORINNE:  In Sweden they are a little scared to play new music. I guess they are afraid of losing listeners. You hear the same things over and over again. I would love to have a radio station that would dare to play more new songs; they do mostly the Top 10 hit singles. They don’t separate pop and rock. Between certain hours they play just ‘80’s, that’s when I listen. They have different programs.
NAJM:  That caters to different listeners?
CORINNE:  Yes. But I would prefer that they have more guts to play new stuff, new artists and a little more variation.
NAJM:  We here at NAJM are promoting a dance music movement know as “Melodic House” where the focus of dance music moves back to the performer with the melodies and away from the soulless programmed tracks. What are your thoughts on Melodic House?
CORINNE:  That’s great when you have an idea that you want to put out, when you want to make people aware of something. So many talented artists and musicians never get a chance because of this business. When something is popular everyone wants to sound like them, it’s very frustrating. You have to help people with new ideas that can bring fresh air into the business. I think it’s great.
NAJM:  Who are some of your musical influences?
CORINNE::  I’ve been listening to so many. It started with The Beatles of course. My father was a huge [Beatles] fan. [I listen to] ABBA, Sting, 80’s, jazz, Nat King Cole, anything with a melody. I also like Rock and Roll. I can also listen to Whitesnake, and I love David Coverdale.
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American Musical Influences?

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NAJM:  What are some of your favorite albums?
CORINNE:  It’s hard to say. I like TLC, I also like En Vogue – “Free Your Mind”. I also like Robyn, Swedish girl.
NAJM:  Where would you like your musical career to take you?
CORINNE:  I would just love to be able to focus on my music and be able to concentrate and earn my living on my music for the rest of my life. That would be ideal. I want to do something with my heart and soul. I don’t want to be controlled. I want to sing what I want to sing. I’ve started to write my own music as well. I would hope to be more involved in the next album and be able to reach out to others.
NAJM:  We’ve heard so many horror stories about people in this business. Have your experiences in the music industry been positive so far?
CORINNE:  I’ve been lucky I think. I have lots of friends who work hard and have never had the chance to get this far. Sometimes the negativity gets to you. Sometimes everything is about looks and how old you are. Everyone is getting younger and younger. That’s a big problem in the business, everything is about looks – I love people who are their own like Alanis Morrisette and other artists like that.
NAJM:  How do you work with people that have different points of view on this business than you do?
CORINNE:  It’s hard to listen sometimes to others when you think it should be one way, you need to listen to your heart. If you’re not secure enough, which I wasn’t at that time, it’s easy to be controlled. You shouldn’t let yourself be controlled or else you will not last in the business.
NAJM:  That’s a very good observation. So much of it is just about the look. You are right there.
CORINNE:  I think it’s great that young girls and boys are getting the chance to make music. But I fear that they won’t be secure enough to be themselves.
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What's Next for Corinne?

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NAJM:  Do you have plans for a second album or additional singles? What is next for you?
CORINNE:  I’m sitting by the piano writing music. Hopefully I will go back into the studio soon, but many things need to be put in place before we can start. I hope we can make another album. I hope to be more involved with the songwriting and I would love to go on tour with a band. Go places; it’s a wonderful experience. Gigs in Japan. I love to be on stage. The best feeling in the world is to be on stage in front of an audience!
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Check out NAJM's Review of "This One's For You"

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