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Isabell Oversveen (Issa)

Interview with Isabell Oversveen from Issa
by Dave Campbell at 29 March 2015, 10:51 PM

The solo project of Norwegian Melodic Rock musician Isabell Oversveen, ISSA has brought to the table a fourth full-length, in the form of "Crossfire". Much like Swedish labelmates WORK OF ART, ISSA stands between 'not-metal' and pop that isn't commercially accessible; a massively-melodic, all-round AOR good time. Dave had a few questions for Isabell about the new album, her influences, Norwegian fjords and an upcoming UK tour.

When did you first start becoming interested in music, and how did you learn how to sing? What kind of music did you enjoy growing up in Norway?

Heya and thanks for having me.. I think music was something that I was born to do.. I used to get “paid off” by my parent to be quiet as I was singing all the time. I think I just loved to sing and preform and I even made my own radio programs using an old casette player we had- oh my I wish I could have found those old cassettes…ha. when I got a little older I got a fake id and used to sneak in to karaoke clubs.. all I wanted to do was to be on a stage.. I think I discovered more what kind of music I liked when I started in a cover band, I just loved doing the rock tunes using all your voice and going to those high notes.. growing up I think my dad was more into his rock music and he used to play everything that was current at that time, so I definitely got the rock sound into my should from that.. personally I loved Def Leppard, Heart and Roxette and of course Robin Beck..

Can you take me up to the point where you won that competition at the age of 19, singing the track “Fade Away?” What kinds of things were you doing in your life at that time, and what opportunities came for you after you won that contest?

Well I was about 17 and I decided I wanted to move to Oslo city centre. At this point I got a job for an Norwegian artist called Jahn Teigen as a receptionist at his talent school. It was so exciting because I got to put together show cases and also preform and use the studio there. I got into a relationship with Stian Aarstad from Dimmu Borgir and he was the engineer at the studio- ha what a cliche- anyway he wrote the song “fade away” and Jahn wanted to put the song into a competition that the tv channel “Fox kids” was having.. so we entered the song and I couldn't believe it when it won.. it was an amazing feeling winning that and get an album with you're song on. After this I started in a cover band and we used to gig 2-4 days a week- its given me lots of experience and what a time we had with that band… but that story's for another time..

Is “Crossfire” the band’s fourth studio album? How do you feel your sound has evolved since your first release?

Yes “Crossfire” is my fourth studio album. I think my first album had a darker feel to it and I think I've gone more towards aor/melodic rock on the last albums..” crossfire” is more keyboard based and has bigger hooks and more catchy choruses . I really do want to make a dark album again tho- I don't like to make every album the same so I think for next time I will go a tad darker- ha. An album takes a long time to create so I better start now;o)

How do you approach songwriting, and what is your vision for the band? What is it exactly that you are trying to get across to your fans through the music and lyrics?

“Crossfire” was actually written a long time ago. I work very close with the Martin brothers and during the year we have written lots and lots of songs togehter. Most of these songs get pitched to other bands and acts but sometimes we keep some songs back for either me or it might be that the people we pitched to didn't see the potential in the song. When we decided to go ahead with this album- we sat down with a glass of wine and just listened to some old demos- it was awesome and we put the album together then and there. Normally when a song gets written, the guys might do a backing then I might do some melodies and then we stitch it all together.. pretty cool cooperation really.

Where can people get your new album? What are your plans for after the album is released? Has a tour been set up and where do you hope to go?

I think you can get the album anywhere on net- just do a search and you can find out whats best for you depending on where you live. I'm very excited because I'm planning a UK tour closer to the summer- if you would like to follow - go to and I keep updating everything there.

I swear that there has to be something in the water over there in Norway. There is just so much good music there that many Americans do now know about.  Can you share with us what it was like for you growing up in Norway? What can you tell us them about the wonder and beauty of your country, both musically and culturally?

Ah yes the water is amazing- ha.. well I think Norway has got a great music scene, Its a lot of live music and you all kinda know each other as musicians. Growing up in Norway was fantastic - I think if you haven't been you should definitely go at one point - Norway has beautiful mountains and green fjords.. We have Northen lights and midnight sun… It's a beauty and that's where the good water comes in - it's from the ice in the North:O) Norwegian people are traditional and kind people, and well we have lots of blond girls too hahah… So check it out…

One thing I cannot help noticing with the songs that I have heard so far is an underlying component of realness, of genuine feeling in your performances, something that I think is lacking in much American music these days. Where does that come from and how do you describe it?

Well thank you so much.. I think a lot of music these days is overproduced.. That's where you loose that realness to things.. I think my albums have a genuine recording session and we try to capture the feelings as we go.. If you over do things and “produce” it to much you end up with a flawless product but maybe a little soulless.. I think within the music I do its important to keep it real, the same for the production and instruments- the demos was made at home and when we recorded them in the studio we tried to keep the same feel to each song.

Tell me about your musical influences. What are some of your favorite artists and bands? If you could make a “dream list,” what people would you most like to work with or collaborate with on future musical ventures?

Well I don't wanna go all stupid here like Aerosmith or Bon jovi, so if I could say a tour with the amazing FM would be something.. also Im working on a song together with a really cool U.S singer, cant tell you yet who it is yet, but that's also a dream come true. Also I would love to do a song with Mark/Marcy Free- maybe a female powerhouse song- hmm the sky has no limit… I can go endless on musicians to share a stage with - oh Danger Danger - that's also something…

What interests do you have when you are not working on music? Is there anywhere you would love to go or visit?

Yeah I would love to see U.S.. I've never been so I would love to go.. If I'm not working on music I'll spent lots of time with my dogs - I love being social so gigs and a few drinks is just up my street.. festivals are great fun- I hope to get a chance to go to some in the U.S at one point…and except all this - I wouldn't mind a holiday to somewhere really hot.. I'm bloody freezing here…

What is next for you musically?

Well im working on more songs and demos hopefully to get some out on albums out there, but also writing some for a next album again.. I've got a few guest appearances coming up these coming months- and ill be joining an amazing guy on stage in Italy at frontiers festival.. other then that I'm preparing for the UK tour… so I'm always doing something…

Thank you kindly for this interview, Issa!

Tnx a lot for having me and I hope to come to the U.S and visit- hopefully playing a few gigs too…


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