IN FOR QUESTIONING: Norway’s Fanny Andersen returns with honest alt-pop banger ‘Wake Up’

In 2016 Fanny Andersen was a buzzy name, a sprightly talent from Norway, but just as soon as she exploded she disappeared. Self-care has become a talking point since 2016 and with that Fanny felt able to learn about herself, grow up and be honest with herself having had to step away when she was just about to get swallowed up by the industry. Wake Up is the sound of an artist doing all of the above and addressing the dark parts of the world and her own world. In an exceptionally honest email exchange with Fanny we stepped further than just song promo and really explored the artist and person that is Fanny.  

Hi Fanny, how are you? It’s both an exciting and a scary time (for everyone and) as an artist, but with people finding new ways to connect with fans and with you having a new single, how does it feel to be Fanny Andersen the artist?

It feels really good at the moment. It’s obviously an insane time right now, but I’m trying to stay calm and just enjoy finally releasing music again. It feels good, and it feels like its about time!

It feels like the lyrics to your new single Wake Up could have been written in lockdown, but we assume it was not, is that correct? When was Wake Up written and what was going on in your life at the time to inspire the track?

It was written about a year ago, so no not in lockdown! I was in a very confusing state of mind when I wrote it. I didn’t have my shit together at all and I was a little bit all over the place emotionally. I hadn’t really been writing anything I liked the past months before Wake up because my head wasn’t in the right place, but when i sat down in London and wrote this it finally clicked. I understood that I just had to express what I was feeling instead of suppressing it. Life can be really fucking hard, and when I wrote this life was really hard. So instead of trying to ignore it, I wanted to write about it and be completely transparent.

You open Wake Up with the lyric “I don’t wanna wake up, fuck”, how do you get yourself out of that feeling? What is your top motivation tip right now given the current situation?

For me, I went and sought professional help. I can’t express enough how important that is, if you’re struggling it is key. Also being honest with yourself and how you feel, not hide from it. I did that a lot. But just being a 100% honest with yourself and how your feeling is so important, that makes it so much easier to talk to people about it too. Talking with your close ones, and feel the support that’s around you is just incredible. And it makes you feel way less lonely while trying to get better.

You’ve spoken about how Wake Up speaks of things you “have a hard time talking about”, what happened to allow you to speak so openly? And what advice would you give to someone trying to open up?

For me, writing this song was kinda the start of it all. Writing it made it less scary to talk about. Not everyone has that opportunity, but what it thought me is that it wasn’t as scary as I thought. I would advise them to just try, you know, it feels so much bigger then it really is to talk about it. And it’s only up to yourself to get help, and you kinda have to jump in to it yourself if you want the conversation to start. No one else can start it but you. And remembering that things get better. Belive me, I thought my life was gonna be a big black hole for the rest of my life, but it isn’t. It wasn’t. It gets better.

It always interests us when an isolated single drops especially in this time, is it part of a bigger release you can talk about? We know a lot of acts have a private SoundCloud with a list of potential releases and we’ve found it interesting that Fontaines DC have just dropped their new single A Hero’s Death with the repeating lyric “Life ain’t always empty” leaving us wondering if this single had been planned or the lyric fit the time and became the single. Was Wake Up always planned as a single and what themes do other ‘singleworthy’ tracks have?

My EP is almost done, and it has been for quite a while. Wake up was always gonna be the first single, it has been in the works way before this pandemic happened. The other songs have the same theme, you know, struggling, heartbreak and just trying to figure out life as a young adult.

In late 2016 you released Kids which caught the attention of the industry, but life has changed a lot for you since then, who was Fanny Andersen back then, and who is Fanny Andersen now?

Me back then was very naive, very inexperienced and way too gullible. I trusted people to much, and I wasn’t really prepared for what this industry can be at times. I think that was one of the reasons I had to take a little break. Finding the right people to work with, and really see if it is all worth it. I feel me now is way more prepared, more experienced and a better artist and songwriter. More confident and I know what i want!

Broadly speaking your work would be termed as pop or alt-pop, we at Underscore Part 3 feel pop is an often dismissed genre by close-minded music fans- something we’re not. What is it you love about pop? And what artists except yourself do you feel are dropping great pop music?

I’ve always loved pop. I grew up listening to and appreciating it. I just love how broad it is, how expressive it is, how honest you can be writing it. Its so empowering, and just a really amazing genre of music. There’s so many! I love Julia Michaels, Tove Lo, Tove Styrke, kali uchis, frank ocean, Billie Ellish and the list goes on.

Most artists seem to have a Modus Operandi of how they begin their songwriting process, what instrument do you naturally sit at to write music? And when you play live do you envisage playing an instrument with a band or how do you feel you’ll present yourself?

I usually always write in the studio. I only write down lyrics and ideas for songs, but it always becomes a song when I’m in the studio. I’ve never had the patience to get really good at an instrument, I can just play really basic piano and guitar, so I just feel like I’m not good enough to sit down and write to myself playing. I think with live i’ll do it with the set up I always have had, a band and only sing myself.

It feels hard to ask this question with life being so strange and unpredictable right now, but if you were able to live out the rest of 2020 the way you want to as Fanny Andersen the musician, what do you hope to do/achieve/release?

With the world being in such a crazy place, I don’t really know right now how it’s gonna be. I think we have to figure it out while going! But, I hope i’ll be able to play live at some point, doing small gigs or whatever, that would be amazing. I’ll continue releasing music throughout the year tho. That’s for sure. And spending a lot of time in the studio making new music!

To close this piece we don’t have any further questions except, how would you line to sign off this piece?

My new single Wake Up is out everywhere, go stream it baby!

Words: James Wadsworth @jamespart31