Monday, April 09, 2007
[MONICA MANIA INTERVIEW] MARIA HAMER JENSEN
Lots of listeners thought that Maria came out of nowhere when she released her debut album "My Soul" via DreamWorks in 2003, but in actuality, she was in the music business much earlier than that. The "I Give, You Take" singer was also 1/3 of girl-group Juice, who had great success in their home country Denmark with singles like "Best Days" and "My Love". I caught up with the lovely and beautiful singer/songwriter to talk about what she has been up to, whether she'll record another album, the difference between leading a solo career and being part of a band, working with female songwriters, and so much more …. Happy Reading everyone and don't forget to post your thoughts :)
Tell us how you got into singing? And when did you realize that it's the career that you want to pursue for the rest of your life?
I guess like most singers I started singing before I could talk (although I'm not sure if I was very good, lol). All I knew was that I loved being on stage whether it was singing, dancing, or acting, but it wasn't until I was discovered and signed by Carsten "Soulshock" at 15, I realized I could make it my career.
You were the lead singer of girl group Juice, and I gotta hand it to you cuz you looked so different when you released your solo album "My Soul". I didn't realize that it was you until I heard your voice on both albums, hee hee! Why did they split? And are you still in touch with your ex-band mates Eve and Anna?
I think the change both physically and sonically was just the natural process of growing up. I was only 17-18 when JUICE started, so by the time "My Soul" was released I had just become a lot more comfortable and aware of who I was ....
Even JUICE ending was a very natural process, we had simply outgrown the music and the restriction of being in a girl group, we were all ready to move on and try it on our own. I'm really happy and extremely proud to say, I am still very close to both Anne and Eve, without them I would never be the singer or the person I am today, I learnt a lot from both of them, and I still do ...
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a girl group? And were you more comfortable leading your own solo career?
Being in a girl group or any group I guess, can always be hard, because every one can't have it exactly the way they want it all the time (and being young doesn't help either).We definitely had our internal battles, but overall we loved each other and touring for us was like being on vacation with your friends. We partied every night on our tour bus driving across Europe. Sometimes being a solo artist you can miss having some one to share your experiences with. But writing, recording and performing your "own" songs, is an experience that comes close to nothing else. "My Soul" was everything I'd always dreamed my first solo album would be.
Juice's self-titled debut album didn't get released here in the United Arab Emirates, but I was lucky enough to grab a copy of their sophomore LP "Can We Get Personal?", Which song was your favorite from that album? And why?
Wow... that was such a long time ago... I think it was "I'm Into You". Great track and it was our favorite to perform. On the first album "Something To Feel" it was "Best Days", and on "My Soul" it was "My Soul".
[Listen] Juice - I'm Into You
[Listen] Maria - My Soul
Many readers will be surprised to learn that mega-producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins co-wrote Juice's "Into My Bed". Did you get to meet him in person? If so, how was it like working with him?
Sorry... we never got to met him, we always did all our vocals in Denmark, and I think he was too in demand to stop by, but I hear he's really nice ...
[Listen] Juice - Into My Bed (co-written by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins)
Your debut solo album "My Soul" was released in 2003 via DreamWorks, and lead single "I Give, You Take" faired nicely on the charts. How come you didn't release another single? And do you agree with listeners who said that the album needed a few up-tempo tracks?
Unfortunately DreamWorks got sold right when the album was released and the single was the 4th most added on the radio. I was devastated because I loved the album and the people I worked with at the label. That's probably why I needed a break from the industry. It really was heartbreaking for every one involved.
It was never my intention to cater to the dance floor. just like when you listen to Sade.. I really just wanted to create a mood..
Throughout your musical career, you've worked with critically acclaimed female songwriters including Andrea Martin (Angie Stone, Pink), Lisa Simmons (Kelly Rowland, Fantasia), Shamora Crawford (Teairra Mari, Monica) and Tamara Savage (LeToya Luckett, Mario Vazquez). What do you think is the difference between working with them and male co-writers?
I love working with any one who is talented, I don't really care if they're men or women. I just enjoy being able to learn from them and hopefully become a better writer myself. But I do find as women we write about the same things, because our experiences of love are very similar. I think Andrea Martin, Lisa Simmons and Shamora are some of the best singers in the industry, and I wish the whole world knew how amazing they are.
What do you have to say about rumors linking you romantically to Carsten "Soulshock" Shack, who served as an executive producer of "My Soul"?
I feel I reveal so much about my love life in my songs already, I've never felt the need to name names, but it's obvious that after knowing each other for 14 years and working on 3 albums together, we've created a very special bond ...
What have you been up to since you stopped promoting the album? And will we see releasing another one soon?
I always dreamed of living in New York and studying acting, so that's what I've been doing for the past few years. But this year I've slowly started missing doing music, so you might hear something new from me.
Which producers/songwriters you'd love to work with on your next album?
I don't want to jinx it, but I'd love to work with these amazing French producers that I've been in talks with, but we'll just have to wait and see. Of course it's hard to imagine doing one with out Carsten "Soul" involved.
Tell me something that most readers of Monica Mania will be surprised to learn about you?
I love to talk (sometimes too much), which is probably one of the reasons I became a singer, to communicate and connect with other people.. I'm obsessesed with backgammon, my Dad started teaching me when I was 12, and I love playing it with strangers when I travel. Traveling is another passion of mine, I've traveled so much the last 10 years, I could be called a nomad....
A lot of my friends said that you could easily pass as Samantha Mumba's sister. How does that make you feel?
Most people thinks she's cute, so I can't really complain ;)
Last but not the least, what message you'd like to give to your fans all over the world?
I'm so happy if you in anyway have been touched by the music I've been involved in making... as a little girl that's all I ever dreamed... This isn't an exact quote, but I loved what it said ... "Let the change you'd like to see in the world, start with you ...." Love always.....Maria
[Visit] Maria on MySpace
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October 29, 2012 06:03 PM PDT
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. ,994451,http://monicamania.blogdrive.com/archive/1899.html
June 8, 2007 08:22 PM PDT
thank you so much for you kind words.. they warm my heart on cold days :)
April 25, 2007 02:06 AM PDT
Hey Elisa, thanx for your lovely comment. I'm sure if Maria read it, it will undoubtedly put a very big smile on her face :)
April 24, 2007 01:53 PM PDT
I saw her album in a store yesterday, and bought it bec she seemed cool in this interview, and people like her music :D I'm loving it! thanks Monica, and you can tell Maria she has a new fan!
my fave tracks are Simplified, Always, and Nowadays. I like how the album flows together very well (I guess that's what happens when it's all produced by one producer) and her voice is unique, a lil' raspy. Thanks!
April 13, 2007 06:13 PM PDT
Hey Tom, I'm really glad you liked it ... And yes, she's a very nice person :)
April 11, 2007 02:52 PM PDT
Oh Monica great! I loved reading it, you know how much I love her music and she's such a nice person...
April 11, 2007 03:48 AM PDT
Hey Rox, thanx for the comment. I also can't wait for Maria to return to the music scene ... She has an amazing voice, and a very unique style that sets her apart from the rest ... Keep writing :)
April 11, 2007 02:48 AM PDT
If the new album is anything even close to My Soul I will be SO happy. That is one of my all-time favourite albums.
I'm so thrilled Maria's coming back to music, and I hope she releases in Canada and the US
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