Thank You for the Music: Hanne Sørvaag

Recently I have become more and more interested in songwriters and producers, and since I always find interviews with them fascinating, I have decided to begin a new regular feature where I profile some of the best pop writers and producers working today, and where possible do interviews with them.

First up is Hanne Sørvaag, a young singer-songwriter from Norway whose profile as a writer is currently on the up. My personal favourite of the songs she’s had released so far is Tricky by Velvet Inc., a fantastic entry for the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix this year. As for her best known work, it’s a tie between the German Eurovision entry I Disappear by No Angels (co-written with the great Danes, Thomas Troelsen and Remée), and Katherine McPhee’s post-Idol single My Destiny, which got to no.2 in the USA. Hanne’s song Brief and Beautiful is also very popular with certain pop bloggers and has been recorded numerous times internationally. She’s had some success as a singer in Norway, and you can listen to some lovely songs on her MySpace here. The sound is quite similar to Delta Goodrem, but better than anything I’ve heard from Delta recently.

Here’s my interview with Hanne:

You’ve contributed several songs for Eurovision, but would you consider entering the contest yourself as a singer?
If I ever write a song that I feel is right for me and that could also work in the competition I would consider it. It’s a great window for exposure, though right now I am not sure my own style of music would work in that setting. Still, I never say never.

Do you prefer writing ballads or upbeat songs?

That depends on my mood, both as a writer and as a listener. I like when the music matches the way I feel, the ballads more for the emotion stuff and the upbeat for making a statement or to get in a good mood.

What was it like working with Thomas Troelsen on the No Angels song?

That was great and very easy. He and Remee are both fantastic at what they do and such nice guys. We wrote that the first day we worked together, and they were very happy with my singing, so it was an effortless vocal session too. And I saw Thomas’ video from his band, it was so cool! He gave me the record on vinyl. Great stuff!!

What do you think of Norway’s chances in Eurovision this year?

In my opinion they are very good, beacuse of the fantastic violin-hook that I think can reach people across the borders. Aleksander Rybak is also very charming and handsome and the song is a hit! But then again, it’s hard to tell with Eurovision, you never know what’s gonna happen!

Which other songwriters or producers would you most like to collaborate with in the future?

I have gotten a great opportunity to write with Jeff Trott, one of Sheryl Crow’s collaborators, and I am a huge fan of Sheryl Crow, so it would be amazing to write with the guy who wrote If it Makes You Happy with Sheryl. I haven’t made it happen yet, but that would be amazing and of course it’s a huge dream to work with Max Martin, the King of Pop.

How long does it usually take you to write a song?

We try to finish it in a day, then we work from 10am til 5 or 6pm and try to get some vocals down too. Sometimes shorter and sometimes longer, but usually we finish in a day.

If you came up with a song you believed to be your best work yet, would you sell it or keep it for yourself?

I have one song out of the 500 in my catalogue that I want to keep for myself, so it doesn’t happen that often, but that one is very personal and really beautiful so I don’t want to give it away. I am afraid it will be ruined and I won’t take that chance. The only person I would even consider giving it away to would be someone as great as Faith Hill or Carrie Underwood.

Which acts have you worked with recently who you think might become big stars in the future?
I think and I hope that these will make it big:
Lesley Roy, an Irish girl with a fantastic voice
Jade McRae, an Australian girl with a super-cool star vibe
Anna Sahlene, a Swedish singer with a beautiful voice
Maria Haukaas Storeng, Norwegian contender in Eurovision 2008
Nikki, the Pop Idol from Holland with a rocksteady voice

Thank you Hanne for such interesting and insightful answers. I’m off to look up Jade McRae now as I’ve never heard of her before!

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