She was discovered as a 17-year-old by demon producer RedOne, toured with girl bands worldwide and started writing her own. We meet Cornelia Jakobs to talk about the depression, the roots and the magic of Melodifestivalen.
Is it possible to describe the feeling of standing on the Eurovision stage in front of the world’s largest television audience?
– I’m so happy and satisfied and excited by the whole experience. I even think it was 200 million viewers, it’s absolutely absurd, you can’t really understand it when you’re standing there.
You will perform in Ekenäs in August. Have you been to Finland before?
– I was on a promotional trip to Helsinki a few weeks before Eurovision, and we managed to meet a lot of nice people. Then we talked about wanting to come back and play and in August it will happen.
What will the audience get to see?
– It will be high and low in intensity level. A lot of my old songs are more cinematic and floaty. When I wrote those songs I was in the middle of a depression so they have a sound that sounds like what I felt then. I have since come back to my high-energy part of myself. I love playing live and have written many songs just for festival gigs, a bit more rock and roll.
You have your roots in rock music?
– Absolutely, because dad is a rock musician too (Jakob Samuel in the rock band The Poodles, ed. note). I played a lot in different rock bands growing up.
Which are your favorite bands?
– I love Oasis and Cardigans but have also been listening to a lot of older rock such as Deep Purple and Aerosmith.
What do you think of Liam Gallagher‘s new songs?
– I haven’t had time to listen to them all, what I’ve heard is just like Oasis! It’s Liam. I can imagine there are many good ones. What do you think?
He performed in Helsinki in 2019 and it was an amazing gig. Of course, it’s hard to top the songs that Noel Gallagher wrote for Oasis when it started. It was a soundtrack for an entire generation.
– Totally true.
Tell us briefly about your musical background.
– I was in high school when, somewhat by accident, I was cast into the girl group Love Generation created by producer RedOne. I liked what he wrote for Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez so I signed on and the group existed for two years. As with all girl groups, people drop out and in the end it was just me and one other girl left. We called ourselves Stockholm Syndrome, started writing our own music and started a DJ duo to run our own songs and mashups of music we liked. It took off and we got a lot of gigs around the world. When the other girl moved abroad, I started writing music that I love myself. Then I’ve been writing and releasing music independently since 2018. There have been 11 singles so far and now I’m working on my debut album.
Which “magic moments” do you remember from previous years in Eurovision or Melodifestivalen?
– When my dad was with The Poodles in 2006, it was amazing. Then of course Abba, I wasn’t born when they won, but I’ve seen that in retrospect. And Loreen was fantastic. Ukraine 2016 was good with the song “1944” with Jamala. And Ukraine last year.
How’s the process when you write songs?
– I work a lot on feeling. Sometimes I get a lot of feeling when I’m at home alone, but you really need other people to be able to brainstorm what feels good. I’m very concerned about the end result and have strong visions of how things should sound and feel. Right now I have entered a very nice flow and collaboration with Isa Molin and David Zandén, with whom I wrote “Hold Me Closer”. We have written many songs and I love that collaboration.
How does the timing look like for your upcoming album?
– I always want it to go very fast, but I think it’s reasonable to think that there will be a few more singles during this year and then the album in the spring of 2023. Seems reasonable now and then get I see how many times I have time to change my mind, which songs should be included and what happens.
Have you had time to listen to anything new during the spring?
– In recent weeks, there hasn’t been much time to find new music. I’ve been listening more to stuff that I’ve liked since before. In busy periods, it can be good to have songs that you come back to, where you know how you feel and where you will be when you finish the song. It can be too much of an impression when working with music. I listen to a lot of instrumental jazz. Then I can disconnect my own analytical brain. But after these periods I still always come back to Oasis and Bon Iver and Nina Persson.
When do you feel happiest?
When I’m on stage. When I sing live with my band. Then I feel alive.