Alma @ Manchester Academy 2
Monday 1st April
Alma’s extraordinary soulful voice and sharply observed lyrics hit somewhere between Sia and Amy Winehouse. Perhaps understandable the world wants to know where and the how the 22-year-old Finnish powerhouse (currently working with MNEK, Rudimental, Charlie XCX, Sub Focus, Tove Lo, Justin Tranter and 2 Inch Punch) began her career in music.
Alma needn’t worry about clichés: with her long, electric-neon hair, baggy punk attire and magnetic attitude, she is everything but the stereotypical pop princess. “She looks like a cybergoth reimagining of a young Adele and sounds like Beth Ditto had she been raised on tropical house,” The Observer wrote recently – they hit the nail on the head.
Growing up between Helsinki in the winter and Lapland in the summer, Alma sang constantly. “If I was happy, if I was sad, if I was walking alone in the dark and a bit scared,” she says. “It made me feel like I had a shelter around me.”
Germany’s Sony/ATV Music Publishing heard the demos and immediately signed her. But “Finns are naturally pessimistic,” Alma explains, so she didn’t let herself get too hopeful. She also wasn’t sure if she was going to be a songwriter or a performer. “But in time, I started to understand that people were really digging my voice and my words together.”
She signed with Universal, but still didn’t believe she could break outside of Northern Europe until “my managers and I showed my songs to the Universal UK team and to Republic (now her US label) in New York, and they were like, ‘Fuck yeah!’” Alma’s debut EP.
Given Alma’s love of soul (Amy Winehouse remains her all-time favourite artist), it might seem surprising that she’s embraced such a massive pop sound—one that’s already seen her rack up 100 million Spotify plays, and praise from Annie Mac, MØ, Elton John and more.
Manchester Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PR
0161 232 1639