With her bleach-green hair, Alma has been gaining recognition as a solo artist since her first single Karma in 2015. Over the years, she has been collaborating with numerous artists from Charli XCX to Tove Lo and most recently Miley Cyrus and Kim Petras. However, it wasn’t until this year that her debut album got confirmed. Have You Seen Her was previously set for release in April, then September. Until now, the album release is still unclear.
However, Alma did premiere the album at this year’s Flow Festival in Helsinki. Originally from Kuopio, north from Helsinki, the festival owns a special place in her heart. On this occasion, we catched up with her about the festival, her home country and the upcoming album release.
Tonight is a special show for you as you’ll perform your debut album for the first time live. How are you feeling?
You know, we’ve been training a long time for this. I’m very excited, I’ve never been this scared. A lot of people have been waiting for a long time, it’s been like three years since I’ve put out my first track. But now it’s ready, the album’s ready, I always thought that I cant finish the album, but now it’s finished and I have to go out there and sing it to the people. I can’t wait to see the reactions, how every song is going to go live.
Did you want it to be premiered at Flow?
Yes, this is literally my hometown, I live 10 minutes from here. I’ve been here since I’m 16, I used to climb thence and come here. I’ve been working here to get the ticket and I’ve been performing three or four times in a row. This is a special place for me.
And this must be your first time playing the main stage.
This is the first time Finnish artists ever play this late, 8.30 is a good time. I just read the biggest Finnish newspaper and it said ‚The pressure is on Alma‘. But I’m excited and very proud I can be on that stage.
Do you have any specific memories from Flow that were inspiring to you?
Last year Lykke Li, I love her. Kanye West was 2015, that was a crazy moment. I climbed the fence and was running to not get caught. I was seeing the MainStage for the first time in my life and Kanye West was playing the Ballet song. That was a special moment, I never seen such a big performance with dancers.
“It’s not common to see Finnish people happy, but this is the place.”
Do you have time to check out other artists during this weekend?
I’m gonna perform with Tove Lo the track Baddest Boys which we just released. And we got some party plans. I really want to see Robyn tonight, the queen of pop. Before I want to see her live before I die or she quits. I also want to see Tame impala and The Cure. I’ve seen them many times, but they’re rock’n’roll.
What makes Flow special compared to other international festivals?
I feel very at home, when I’m here. It’s not common to see Finnish people happy, but this is the place. People are quite, they don’t talk to each other. But these are the last three days before summer is over. At night time this festival turns into another festival, its a festival but a club at the same time. My mum and dad are gonna watch the show and a lot of friends.
What would you recommend somebody who just has 24 hours in Helsinki?
I would say go to Sauna and Lake. There’s free saunas, just five minutes from here. And go to Kallio, the Kreuzberg-type of thing area. Cool nice vegan places, cheap beer, the atmosphere is nice. And then come here and party with me.
How is the state of the Finnish music scene at the moment?
It’s a very small, very Finnish speaking scene. There’s not much international things happening which is a sad thing. But there are kids and friends of mine who are doing interesting things. There’s coming more, young internet kids especially.
Has Flow empowered you to get into doing your own music?
Yes, totally. Just to come here and see live shows and performances that are a bit different. This was the first place I saw punk shows and I love punk. And I also saw my first rap shows. At least my experience is that you can get very inspired here.
What more can you tell about the album?
There’s definitely gonna be some features, some friends I’ve met during the album process and even some people I’ve always admired. The album has been a long process, two years ago I thought I hate all my demos, all my tracks and then I started the whole process again. I was very true to myself and had stories I wanted to tell. I had so much stuff going on in my life two years ago and I still have. I really want to be honest and open about that. The album is very real, if you want to get to know me, there you go! And get to know yourself as well.