Martina Edoff – Scandinavia’s Queen of rock.


From talent hunting, to back up singer for several famous artists such as E-Type, Dr Alban and Ace of Base. She’s taken the step towards becoming a solo artist. Already with devoted fans, amongst others the British rock journalist Dave Ling who wrote about her debut album: "Stirring, Confident melodies from an unashamed Swedish rock chick!” At the end of August she released her second album under her own name. We ask Martina Edoff about her past, present and future...

There was quite a short period of time between your albums. One in 2014 and the second one this year, how come?

I had an inquiry to make a solo album from a friend of mine. He offered to sponsor me with that and I was like: “What, wow!” really surprised. So I took some of the songs I’ve written over the years. I wrote loads of songs during my years as a freelancer. I just had to use all of my old songs from the “drawer” and see what I could make out of them when I was given the opportunity and they resulted in my first album; the songs are new to the audience but old to me. After I recorded and released the first album I felt:”Noo, we could have made a brand new album with all new material that feels more now, updated and present. I also felt it could be a lot of fun working together with people who has a sound that I am looking for, a modern sound. So I got a hold of a producer, Tobias Lindell, who was very clear of what I wanted to achieve. I phoned him up and said: “could you recommend someone I can write and work with?” He suggested, he had just worked with the guys from H.E.A.T., why not work with them? So I got in touch with the keyboardist Jona Tee in the band, we met just before Christmas and decided to start writing in January. And I brought a few songs, when I get a song in my head I usually record it on my phone and write down the lyrics and so on. So I turned up with my scribbles, my songs and we sat down with an acoustic guitar and sang and tried to put some music, tunes and lyrics together. Then we continued and found new songs and made demos out of them. We collected the material and also I was given songs from other song-writers I’ve worked and wrote the lyrics together with, already made songs. After that we went in to the studio in Gothenburg and started recording. – So it wasn’t a lot of time in between my first and second album, but it was because I felt I wanted to release something that felt 2015 both in sound and for me personally songs that felt more current. So that’s the reason...

After your collaboration with the members of the band H.E.A.T., should the lead singer Erik Grönwall be worried that you might pinch his band members?

No absolutely not. I just borrowed the musicians. There are several bands through out history that have done the same thing, such as Toto, they played on Michael Jackson’s albums. So it’s not unusual that skilful bands jump in and back up someone else. It was great fun to lend these guys for the album.

These two albums are recorded in different studios, does it colour the final result or is it more due to who you are recording it with, who’s behind the wheel so to speak?

It’s the most common thing today, since there are many with the opportunity to record at home. There are so many possibilities via computers. Usually you have one studio to set the basics for the first, second and third instrument, you go in one at the time, which is great. But I thought it was fantastic to be able to use the Bohus Sound Studios since it’s a legendary studio. The studios used to be huge so that the whole band would fit in as they recorded at the same time. That’s how they used to record and how we did it this time around. I really enjoyed being in a studio like that, so I don’t think it matters if you’re in a large studio or at someone’s house, it has more to do with the angle you want for the album.

If you are to do it “live” you have to be able to fit the whole band…

Actually we did the same on the first album too. So when you ask if there’s a difference, it’s really not. I think it’s more due to how you wanted it from the start, but its fun to try different ways. One time in a small studio and the next a little bigger.

After your release you went over to the US, will you be on tour soon again?

Yes, first I am going to Argentina in November, I will be the opening act for Tarja Turunen she has a huge audience. So that will be a lot of fun playing at that venue as they say, with 7,000 in the audience. So I am opening for her which is going to be fun and I also have a lot of fans down in South America. And we are working on a tour in Europe for next year, there have been many requests, and then they want us back in the US but I don’t know when. But it will happen...

So it’s just us Swede’s that won’t be able to see and hear you…

It’s because there’s not been any requests here. We go where we get the inquiries from.

No at the moment it’s probably just hip-hop and stuff…

I really don’t know the reason. But it’s really great you see, there are so many people abroad that feel that this is really good and no one is happier than me, it feels very good. And if Sweden would feel that same I would be just as happy, one would like for people to like this here as well but I guess it takes a bit longer here.

So I guess we have to try and get you on Metallsvenskan…

That sounds good. Where is that?

In Örebro. They mix football and hard rock, a football and hard rock festival.

Sounds like fun, which would be great to join in on.

I can’t promise you anything, but we can always ask.

Ha, ha. One can always ask…

Going back in time, how come you started singing?

As a girl I knew I was going to be a singer, because it was the only thing I did. Music has always been fascinating to me and I’ve always been singing. In my teens I was out playing with bands and I used to compete in talent shows and did everything just to be able to sing. During my early twenties I was a part of the opening of Wallman’s salonger in Stockholm. I was on stage five days a week, a very good school. After that I was invited to go on a world tour with Dr. Alban. He was huge in Europe during that time, in the whole world really and I worked with him for a long time. That generated in more work, so when I was home from touring I worked in the studio and live. I was very busy during that time, and then I have been freelancing for more than twenty years and sung different genres. But I never quite took the step to make something on my own, I’ve always said that if I would do something on my own it has to be rock since I always wanted to do and if I would put myself out there it has to be with something I can stand for. Those kinds of offers has not been made to me from the record companies so I have continued to write my own music and played with different bands, the record industry is tough and you are left with what you’re offered. I have had offers but always been stubborn and wanted it my way, so this is why I declined… but finally the question came which I never thought it would. I think it’s great that I have had this opportunity, then again you can never know how it’s going to go down but one has to work hard in what you believe in.

Many musicians say’s it’s hard to live just on your music, one needs a job on the side…

Yes that’s how it is everywhere. I’ve been lucky to be able to live off my music over the years. I’ve been freelancing and done all sorts of stuff. But as I said I’ve been lucky to have been able to live on my singing during my adult life. But it’s getting tougher and tougher. The most common thing today is to have a job and play music on the side.

You worked as a life coach for a while?

hit the wall as you nicely put it. I got burnt out totally. I was ill for eight months with exhaustion. Since I always have been working as a freelancer, without any set working times, working every awake minute of the day, planning, preparing and trying to survive. You really need to be an inventive person to find different ways out. So after working very hard for such a long time, plus other things going on in my life I was diagnosed with fatigue syndrome. As I was lying there being ill, I felt I had to change direction in my life to be able to get well again. As I was recovering I took a course that always been very close to my heart, I’ve always been interested in psychology and such. And I started totally fresh and put the music behind med and thought this is what I am supposed to do now. I started my own business and ran with it, but then this person, a friend of mine came to me and said: “Martina, I know you are a singer and you don’t get to do what you love.”Okay I said. But let’s do this he said. I was so lucky that he really picked up on me and had the resources at the time to help me. Today he, Robert Jansson and I run a record company together, which is great. So I have taken a little break from what I was educated to do, one can always go back later.

Perhaps two careers to combine?

Absolutely. They’re great to combine. My friends are still combining this with me. Ha, ha. I like to be able to help.

Any odd or fun tour memory you would like to share with us?

I’ve done this for such a long time so I haven’t the faintest idea what to chose. But it’s always crazy on the road. Always crazy and fun, I’ll tell you. One has to be very open minded in this business, because everything might happen. But I can tell you about that time when the former president of the United States, Clinton visited Sweden and was giving a speech at the Grand Hotel. I was invited as a singer. The evening’s events were microscopically planned. Dinner and entertaining. Everything was well handled. I was going to sing and stepped out into the spotlight, it was playback. I start to sing and I look at Clinton and realize that he is miming when I’m singing and knows that song completely. At that moment there’s a problem with the recorded music and I’m totally lost...
I’m starring at Clinton and I’m thinking where I am in the song, after a little while I find myself again and start singing right about where the music failed. I sung with the same power I should have done in the part where the music jumped and failed, and then the music is messed up again. I save myself again, and a little bit later it’s happening again and I felt drops of sweat on my forehead and I’m thinking what should I do, the song will never end… So I just stood up, smiled and thanked the audience and stepped down. It was a horrible moment but a lot of fun afterwards, I will never forget it.

Do you remember the first record you ever bought?

I’m not quite sure. I was given everything with ABBA as a child. When there was a new release with ABBA one would be in ecstasy. I don’t know, because when I bought albums I bought a lot at the same time. It was a jungle to walk into a record store, I miss them. To step into a shop and stand around and look and search, it was fun, I used to run off and buy a bag of music. To come back home and unpack the vinyl’s from their covers. So what was my first album I don’t remember exactly, but it was during that period I thought the music was at its best. This was during the middle and the end of the 80:s. Fantastic music.

And this reflected on the covers you played with The Poodles…

Exactly. That’s what we were doing, we played those songs. Everyone that was “there” during that period of time has a lot of memories from the songs that was huge back then. Even though it was a bit passé when we created The Poodles with that kind of music and people said we don’t listen to this type of music anymore… But we knew that deep down they liked it.

You have a ten year old at home. Is he going with you on tour?

He’s not. He came along when he was a newborn and a few years ahead, so he’s used to being back stage. He’s a child who knows this kind of life. He’s not too impressed by anything in this business, that’s how it goes. would like to wish Martina good luck with her solo carrier and hope to see her live at our latitudes within a short future.