Finnish blues singer Erja Lyytinen plays Worthing

Erja
Erja

Finnish blues singer Erja Lyytinen releases her tenth studio album ahead of a date at Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion on Wednesday, April 12. Stolen Hearts is April 7, her first album since 2015’s Live In London and her first studio album since 2014’s Elmore James tribute The Sky Is Crying.

“I did my first solo album in 2003, and in 2005 I got a contract to a German label and made a bunch of records for them, and then I put my own together. It has been a busy ten to 15 years. But every album is different. Every album is a different baby. This one took quite a while to finish. I collected the songs for a while. The album reflects my state of mind and my state of being… or at the time I wrote the songs. I went through quite a heavy time in my life. I became a mother and then a really long relationship ended. There was a lot of deep emotion involved and a lot of sad feelings and a lot of pressure, and the whole atmosphere in the house was quite looming, quite heavy. I came up with some deep songs on the album, but for me it was like a way of expressing my feelings. Through the songs, I was expressing my emotions, but I am now in a much better place. I was lying on top of the altar. I am giving in and but I am being open to what is coming. It is also about hope and strength. There is a tragic moment, but there is hope as well in this. It was an eye-opening journey for me to do this album.”

The new album was recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki. Erja’s vocals were recorded at State of the Ark Studios in London by multi-platinum selling engineer and producer Chris Kimsey, known for his contributions to classic Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers and Some Girls. Kimsey also mixed the album.

Erja is originally from the eastern part of Finland, close to the Russian border, but she moved to Sweden before moving to Helsinki to pursue her music education: “Helsinki is very vibrant. We have a lot of different types of music, a lot of jazz and so on, and Finland is very well known for its heavy metal music. I am a blues rocker, I would say. Why I got the blues is a question I have pondered. It’s just the feeling. I just kind of had it when I was 18 or 19. I think I experienced a bit of a heavy time in my life, and for me the blues was about healing those wounds. I remember seeing Ray Charles playing on VHS. It was the feeling. It was the interpretation. He was singing Georgia On My Mind. It was so pure and so honest, and I just thought ‘I want that feeling.’ I wanted to do music that was deep and emotional, music that had meaning.”

Which isn’t to say that the blues is solely about sad emotions: “It is also about joy and lust and happiness, and it is about sharing that with other people.”

Erja recognises that there is a very distinctive British blues. Plus, of course, there is the American blues, the blues that went around the world.

“I live in a dark, sad country. I think the Finnish blues would be a bit Slavic. But I have respected the American and the British tradition, but there is also a bit of Finnish blues inside me.”

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