Some people find music, others have music find them and that is certainly the case with half Greek, half Norwegian singer Amanda Tenfjord. Music has always been apart of her life but she never made the decision to go into music. It was just something that escalated into what she does now.
Having started music when she was a kid by taking vocal and piano lessons in her hometown. When she was sixteen she began to write her own music and having never been good at talking about her feelings Tenfjord turned to this to help her express her feelings, a better option than a diary that’s for sure. Each one of her tracks comes from her own personal experiences and re-tells them in high powered pop glory for us to hear and enjoy.
She got her first big break back in 2016 when she entered The Stream, a Norwegian music show, and performed her original track Man Of Iron in-front of an esteemed panel of industry veterans. Although she didn’t get far this didn’t deter Tenfjord from music as she released a music video for that track only a few months later.
In early 2018 Tenfjord released her debut track First Impressions on Oslo’s Propeller Records that introduced her to a larger audience and got the whole music blog community behind her. The track focused on a chance encounter Tenfjord had with someone as she explains, “In the beginning, it was about first impressions in general, and the impact they have on us – that initial moment where you make a picture of a person, or his/her life, without even consciously thinking about it. We turned it around, and made it a little more ‘direct’ in its approach – how first impressions can be misleading. Like when you meet someone who seems charming and fascinating and interesting, but then there’s just nothing beneath the surface.”
It was triumphant pop anthem that was filled with infectious synths and punchy lyrics like, “I’ve been digging deep to find some more / But you’re as shallow as the show.” The track was produced with Askjell Solstrand, (Aurora and Sigrid) and demonstrated her prowess as a songwriter, confident vocalist and saw her cement herself as an artist to keep an eye on.
This continued further into the year when Tenfjord offered us the second taste of her succulent melodic pop sound in the form of No Thanks. The vigorous pop anthem is about shutting down a relationship quickly as you realise the suitor is no good for you. With it’s irresistibly addictive hook, high levels of vocal sass and lyrics with a good amount of bite to them, it was a track that presented Tenfjord as a pop supernova.
All of these tracks featured in her debut EP First Impressions that has a monumental feel to it. The EP was filled with nothing but relatable pop bangers that really made waves in Tenfjord’s fanbase and introduced others to extraordinary music. When you hear each track one after the other it feels as if you’re witnessing something special be born from it. A true talent blossoming right in front of our eyes.
We caught up with Amanda Tenfjord ahead of her performance at The Lexington as apart of Ja Ja Ja: London to chat about her music, self discovery and her musical loves.
Let’s start at the beginning, how did you first get into music and who was it or what was it that made you want to go down that career path?
Honestly I’ve never like taken the decision to be a musician, I’ve just always done music. I started playing the piano when I was five and then I played in the local orchestra playing the trumpet and then I did some dancing and then I started taking vocal lessons from when I was eight. I’ve always been doing music whilst studying and then music kind of took over.
So you didn’t choose music, music kind of chose you?
Yeah, like I never said okay I’m going to do music. It kind of just happened naturally for me. When I moved from home to study I got in a band for fun, it was just me and my best friends and we just like started playing my songs and things just kind of happened. It’s been a very natural path.
Well along this natural path did you have any people or anybody around you who influenced your musical style?
I take inspiration from everything in my life basically but I started writing music when I was sixteen after my vocal teacher was like ‘hey do you wanna try writing a song?’ and I was like ughhh I’ve never done that before but I can try so that was how I wrote my first song. I’ve always had a lot inspirational people around me and I’ve never had a musician or artist who I’ve idolised, it’s always been the people around me who’ve inspired me.
You’ve been writing music since you were sixteen and performing as well, so from then to now have you seen a difference within your songwriting?
When I started I wrote for myself only, so it was just me and the guitar or the piano. I wrote a lot of ballads, very sad and touchy songs but then I started doing sessions which kind of opened me up and made me get out of this comfort zone and start to write uptempo songs but my heart is still in the sad songs I must admit. I still feel like the one thing that’s stayed the same is that I want the melody and the vocal to be in the centre and not to have too much fuss around them. Even though it’s uptempo.
Your debut EP recently came out and has had a lot of love from your fanbase, is there anything about the EP that someone might not know about it that you’d like to share?
That’s a good question. Maybe Pick A Card, the last song, it’s the most personal song and it’s about taking choices in life. When I wrote this I was in Bergen with Ashen and it’s all about taking choices, should you study, should you do music, basically that’s my life. I wrote it when I was studying medicine and doing music but now I only do music so I picked a card basically.
I think you can tell it’s very personal because although the other tracks a fairly uptempo pop numbers this goes for a more melancholy and melodic approach.
A lot of people say there is a huge difference between writing a single and writing an EP, is there anything you learnt about yourself whilst writing your debut EP?
What I learned the most is to believe in myself whilst doing sessions. Being able say ‘okay this is not what I want, this is what I want’ and not be just a little girl in the room. Say what you want and what you mean and that’s been the best thing I’ve learned.
So sort of like empowering yourself behind the music?
Yeah because when I started doing sessions I always liked it but it’s not always easy getting in a room with a lot of others when you might not have the same ideas and stuff. So being able to say what you mean is important.
You’ve been doing a lot of live shows over the years and next year you’re going on tour with Highasakite, so what’s the most memorable experience you’ve had whilst performing live on stage?
I really liked our last week in Berlin two weeks ago. It was very special because it was first time performing out of Norway and my family was there and boyfriend was there and it was packed with people. It was such a special night.
Following that memorable moment what would you envision as your perfect live show?
I’m half Greek so I would really like to play in Athens at this ancient place called Acropolis. I’m a fan of Billie Eilish so I would love to bring her on stage so if we could do a duet that would cool.
I could see you two doing Ocean Eyes together.
Oh I love that song! I love her, she’s so cool. I remember when she came out with Ocean Eyes and I was like, she’s going to be big! Now she’s big so I’m like, yes I knew it!
Final question, who are the artists on your radar? Who’re you counting in?
I’m a really big fan of a band called Tøfl. They’re my favourite Norwegian band right now.