Titti Schultz: Cornelia Jakobs barely got out of bed when she had exhaustion syndrome. But then came a spark of light and that turned into the new song ”Rise”. The super hit ”Hold Me Closer” turned her life upside down, and she’s now saying that she is a real detail freak. Maybe that’s where the success comes from. Cornelia Jakobs is the P4 extra guest, and my name is Titti Schultz.
Titti: Winner of Mello, and fourth place in Eurovision, it’s great to have you here! Welcome!
Cornelia: Thank you so much, Titti.
Titti: We’re talking a lot about books. The entire P1 [another radio station] were so excited about the Nobel Prize in literature that was presented. Are you a reader?
Cornelia: No. Unfortunately. I want to be a reader, but that was destroyed for me when the Lord of the Rings came, (the movies). Then I had to read the books before I was allowed to see the movies. I was around eight.
Titti: Who set those rules?
Cornelia: Dad. He was like ”you don’t watch those movies…” and you know, they’re like bricks. And like, four pages describing a mountain. I was so sick of that. So the second they throw the ring in the third book I was like ”I’m not reading another page!”
Titti: Spoilers for those who haven’t read it!!
Cornelia: But no one has missed that the ring is thrown in Mordor, right?
Titti: You never know. Listener might tell us. There are new people getting born all the time.
Cornelia: Oups, sorry!
Titti: I think they’ll forgive you. How much has Melodifestivalen and Eurovision changed your life?
Cornelia: A lot. Super much.
Titti: Fun! We’ll talk about it more later. But now it’s time to listen to your new song that is released tomorrow. It’s called ”Rise”. And while ”Hold Me Closer” came from a darker period of time, and a breakup, when times were tough, this is the opposite.
Cornelia: Yes, it describes the first spark of light when you’ve been in the dark for a longer period of time. The light at the end of the tunnel. And when that first spark comes, it’s so effective because you’re used to the dark. Even if it’s a small spark, it could be blinding and everything seems easier. And that’s the moment we’ve been capturing, especially in the chorus.
Titti: Let’s play it. It’s not releasing until tomorrow, so we’re so happy we get to play it here and now. This is Cornelia Jakobs with brand new music in P4; ”Rise”.
Titti: That was ”Rise”. New music, super new music, even. It barley exists, cause it’s released tomorrow, written by and sung by Cornelia Jakobs who is sitting right here. Now you’ve heard it on live radio, how does it feel?
Cornelia: Insane! But we talked a bit during, so I didn’t really have time to process the feeling.
Titti: You’re trying to recruit me to the Sci-fi world.
Cornelia: No, not Sci-fi. You’re the one who likes Sci-fi. Fantasy! Rings of Power.
Titti: But how does it feel to hear your new song? Now you can’t do anything more with it and you’re kind of a detail freak.
Cornelia: Yes.. you’ve… snapped that up. It’s actually a fucking delight.. sorry for cursing. It’s been a lot to finish. And like you said, I’m a detail freak and it’s been a lot to puzzle together. It’s kinda bittersweet to release things. I can’t do anything more, and it’s the biggest relief, but it’s also scary. That’s why it takes time, you do what you can before you can’t anymore.
Titti: Everyone does not think like that, but you do. You described how this song is about when you get that very first light after being in the dark for a long time. How much do you see yourself in this?
Cornelia: 100%. Since it’s written from my perspective. Me and Isa actually wrote this the day before we wrote ”Hold Me Closer” with David Zandén.
Titti: You’re talking about Isa Molin. And the three of you write a lot together.
Cornelia: Exactly. And me and Isa Molin have been best friends for fifteen years. We were in her parents’ house and wrote this the day/night before. And we almost didn’t make it to David’s session. Me and Isa are both night owls so we were going on until about 4-5am and were so anxious and tired so we didn’t think we’d make it. But we came to him around 4-5pm that day. And I’m happy about that, since ”Hold Me Closer” happened. But back to your question about how much I see myself in the song. We wrote it about me, and that I’d been in a long exhaustion. It came around five years ago and I’m still on my way up. I’m a lot better now.
Titti: How much does it effect you today?
Cornelia: I’m getting a lot more back now, from everything I do. Since I’m such a detail freak.. I’ve always been like this, despite time, budget or other extra jobs and stuff. I’ve never been able to let go before I feel like I’m finished within myself, in my heart. And I’ve been releasing a lot independent, so it became a lot for a while. It’s different now.
Titti: Now you’re only focusing on music?
Cornelia: Yes, exactly. So at least one thing is easier now, I don’t have to puzzle economy anxiety with everything else. So that’s great. Plus the fact that I get so much energy back from gigs and fans, and people who are listening and gives a lot of love back. Earlier I have been working just as hard and been just as stubborn, but didn’t get as much back. And I don’t do this to please others, but I do it cause it’s what I need to do for myself. But you get an extra push and a pat on the back to get back from others. That makes it easier in many ways, to have a lot to to do.
Titti: If you don’t mind, I want to talk about more about this period of exhaustion that you’re saying isn’t fully over. How was that when it was at its worst? Can you describe how you felt?
Cornelia: Ehm… I think there are many people who have been through something like this and can see themselves in this… that you simply cannot get out of bed. You feel like you’re not getting anywhere and you’re not getting control over anything, and have a hard time pushing forward, you’re just stuck.
Titti: I think it’s just as you’re saying. If you been there, you know. But for all of those who hasn’t been there I think it’s an incomprehensible thought that you really physically cannot get out of bed.
Cornelia: Yeah, it’s been incomprehensible for me as well, ’cause I’ve always been very positive and always had a joy and a will to do things. I’ve always been able to do things even if I’m too tired or has too much going on, I’ve always been able to do it from pure joy and pushed through, cause I’ve always had extra energy within the joy, and all of the sudden that energy was gone, the energy that my life depended on, it was gone. And that was existentially hard, I felt ”who am I now? I’m nothing if what I used to be, I’m not excited, I’m not happy as I used to”. And that creates a downward spiral, cause suddenly you feel like you don’t… firstly that I didn’t like myself anymore. I couldn’t write during this time, it was impossible, and that made me sad, cause I’ve always bern thinking that I have a good self esteem and I noticed that when I don’t perform I don’t think I’m worth anything, I don’t think I’m good and I don’t think I should meet friends or don’t think that I am something to somebody, or even to myself, mostly. And it made me very sad that it was like that, and I had to mourn for q while before I could start to build a new self esteem in that I’m worthy even when I don’t perform at all. That’s still super hard, cause I still really want to perform.
Titti: I was just going to ask, have you landed with those thoughts?
Cornelia: No, and I think that when you have been in an exhaustion – and I’m talking for everyone who hasn’t been in this, cause I think those who have still recognize this – that you never get all the way back, cause you’ve seen something new, and found a new depth within yourself. I can be thankful for that now. Because you’re more sensitive to stress, and I think it’s good that I see signals and feel signals earlier now.
Titti: Getting to know yourself in a new way.
Cornelia: Totally. And I have a much bigger understanding for people with a lot of anxiety, or simply has a lower energy. I understand a lot of more different kinds of people, and can kinda be less offended if someone doesn’t have the energy to meet up. I’m like, ”Oh gosh, I completely understand”, when earlier I could be like ”oh, did I do something?” Now it’s just ”Okay, he or she is just tired, kinda.
Titti: But after all of this, everything happened. Getting such a huge hit and everything that follows. You’ve been on tour, it’s been 60 gigs, both in Sweden and outside of our own country, and a new hit to follow up this – or at least a new song, but we’re hoping it will become a hit of course. But to put this pressure on yourself? What is that doing for you?
Cornelia: Euhm, yes.. I think that much of the pressure – euhm… hm, yeah, gosh… I think I feel… yeah, only the fact that I almost can’t answer this question is saying a lot. Cause I don’t think I’ve had time to reflect much since this entire spring started, cause I haven’t really had any time off, more than a maximum of two days here and there. And then it’s bills or a laundry basket, you know. It’s not really resting either. That being said, I don’t really know right now.
Titti: That’s also an answer that says a lot.
Cornelia: Yeah, I feel pressure but still, because of the schedule I don’t have time to feel pressure, but I feel stress. But I know that after this little release week and a bit into next week, I’m gonna go on vacation. So that’s the light at the end of the tunnel.
Titti: Speaking of just pushing through.
Cornelia: Exactly, then I’ll just stare into a wall, haha.
Titti: But… You’re writing music with Isa Molin and David Zandén. And I was wondering how the three of you work together. Cause nowadays you and David are a couple. And he is as interested in details as you. How is Isa weighing all this up? How is her work situation?
Cornelia: Exactly! I think she’s lucky that she’s not sitting with us while we are detail-ing. Like, she’s a nerd as well in her way and especially when she’s working on her own music. But she’s good at looking at things from a bird’s view when it comes to my stuff. It’s really valuable to have her dive in sometimes when me and David are sitting with productions for days and feel what are we even doing, have we even been doing something, and she comes and says ”Gosh, it’s as good as done. Just raise the vocals and lower the mix,” and we’re like ”What?!” And it’s like, oh great, she’s coming in with a bird’s eye and fresh ears, and it’s pretty smart to not have everyone involved in the nerding process.
Titti: I just gotta ask, you have a hard time to stop working and put things aside and accept that now I’m done, at least for the day… still you’re living with a person that you’re writing with. Do you have any rules for this?
Cornelia: We have said that it would be good to set rules. *laughs* That’s how far we’ve come. But not yet. There’s a lot of things these past six months, and I will be reflecting a lot when I get time off, and I’ll probably find things, cause I’ve learned a lot about myself, these past nine months. About how I need to do things to manage.
Titti: It’s probably wise to fix that. To come back after vacation and say, well these are the new rules, print it and hand it out.
Cornelia: Yes, I have never managed to be this clear and structured earlier, but I’m thinking that now is the time to do it. To sustain, myself. I owe that to myself.
Titti: We all would appreciate that. For the sustainability. We want a lot of Cornelia over the coming years.
Cornelia: Oh, thank you!
Titti: Yes, so you better take care of yourself. But writing music is, for a lot of people -and you can hear that from listening to your songs- it’s real, real feelings and you’re describing this as well. Do you find it easy to talk ’real talk’, or are you more of talking about the weather, (small talk) person?
Cornelia: Hm, firstly, it makes me happy that you feel that way about my music. I definitely find it easy to talk about feelings, and I think it has a lot to do with writing music. That’s the only way to write music for me. I have a really hard time to sit in sessions with, for example, another artist who doesn’t work that way. To just write a song about a night out. I can do that sometimes. But rarely, cause that takes more energy. My source to creativity is through emotions. It’s my therapy in a way. And sitting in a writing session with a bunch of other people who you don’t really know, it’s a very special feeling, it’s like going on a first date and be like ”oh, what chord do you think we should start with,” a super strange thing. So I’ve gotten used to the easiest way to do things is to start talking about things that are real so you can find a direction or a feeling in a conversation and be like, ”that feeling was nice, should we write about that,” kinda. So I think I might make people a little bit uncomfortable by not being able to just talk about the weather, but immediately start talking about deep conversations.
Titti: Lovely, for a person like me.
Before an interview like this, you look around, check social media, and doing research and stuff. I went to your Instagram account and found in your bio: ”Viva la figa…”
Cornelia: VIVA LA FIGA!
Titti: Where does that come from?
Cornelia: It started like six years ago, when I was in a duo, a DJ duo, lo and behold.. we wrote and jumped around on bar counters, it was super fun. We played in Milano. And this thing was brought up and I thought it was a wonderful expression, so I went around in a taxi and I rolled down the window and just shouted over the entire city and people were very happy.
Titti: Really? What did the driver say, who got to follow the entire ride?
Cornelia: He… he was amused. He thought it was fun.
Titti: Nice! Should we end this by telling the meaning?
Cornelia: Yes, it means long live the pussy.
Titti: Exactly! Cornelia Jakobs, it was lovely to have you here. Long love you, I’ll say.
Cornelia: VIVA LA FIGA! YEHAW!