ALMA is stepping out of the writer’s room and onto the stage. With her neon-green hair and equally electrifying pop sensibility, it seems like the spotlight is natural for her. The Finland native has crafted songs for pop heavy-hitters like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Charli XCX, solidifying her as a master hit-maker at only 24 years old.
“I always had a goal in my mind that I wanted to make a record that is meaningful,” ALMA tells LADYGUNN. “It took me a while to figure out what was meaningful to me and I really had to grow and be brave enough to start writing songs that were honest and real.”
She’s spent this year touring with alt-pop queen and fellow Scandinavian Tove Lo, gearing up to release her debut album, Have U Seen Her?, set to release on May 15.
Today, ALMA drops three singles from Have U Seen Her?; “Stay All Night”, “King of the Castle”, and “Find Me”. The tracks showcase what fans have come to love about her: fearless genre-bending, rip-roaring beats, and refreshing vulnerability.
We chatted with ALMA about her journey so far, what inspires her, and her highly-anticipated debut album.
What can you tell us about your album coming out this year, as well as the singles that you just dropped?
Well, I’ve been doing this album a long time and I’m very proud of it! When I started releasing music I always had a goal in my mind that I wanted to make a record that is meaningful. It took me a while to figure out what was meaningful to me and I really had to grow and be brave enough to start writing songs that were honest and real.
I wrote the single “Stay All Night” from my upcoming album Have U Seen Her? in my hometown of Helsinki. I was going to the clubs that I used to go to as a teenager before fame and I felt like I was just being super lame. I was leaving early to go back home and I was super anxious that people would see me too drunk or doing something stupid (which was a big part of my teenage years, lol) and I wasn’t enjoying life at all. I think the whole song is basically me saying to myself, “Don’t think about it, just do it.”
How has it been touring with Tove Lo? Any advice you’ve learned from her along the way?
It’s been very good! All the shows have been sold out! We’ve known each other for a couple of years and we’re good friends. She’s an amazing songwriter too and I’ve been learning a lot from her. I’m blessed to have the best mentors!
Given your hair color and album art, it’s clear you’re very drawn to neons (green in particular!). Why do you think you’re attracted to these tones? How does color inspire you and your music?
I’ve had this neon green hair for like 10 years now and it’s been a big part of my identity.
It was still that time when nobody had any shocking hair color and me and my twin sister were the only ones in our school so everyone started calling us the cybertwinz! I see myself like that! Cyber is very punk, fearless, and young. You can definitely see that in my writing style and how I live my life.
Your music blurs the boundary between pop and punk. Do you think the industry is changing in terms of letting artists move more freely between genres, and not categorize themselves so strictly?
I really see that it gives artists more freedom to make music and art. So in that case music is just getting better and better! Look at Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Charli XCX, etc.
You’ve worked with some legendary songwriters and musicians. Is that experience ever intimidating for you? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your collaborations?
Yes, I’m always nervous to meet new big artists/songwriters but after the first studio session I always remember that even the biggest names are normal humans and have faults and fears!
Everytime I work with someone new I just love to learn from them. I hated school but I’ve always loved to learn about new things so I kind of see it happening in the studio.
CONNECT WITH ALMA
Photo / Lusha Alic
Story / Catherine Santino