The Groningen Report
If you are missing the sound of Janis Joplin or Amy Winehouse in a today’s living voice, you don’t need to cry. Ina Forsman from Helsinki in Finland is the blues and soul singer, you were waiting for!
In 2013 she won the “Finnish Blues Challenge”, 2014 she represented Finland at the “European Blues Challenge” in Riga, she toured with Guy Verlinde the same year and toured with the famous “Blues Caravan” in 2016 together with Layla Zoe from Canada and r&b singer Tasha Taylor from the United States.
Ina’s voice is awesome unique: soulful, rough, true, mysteriously, passionate and dangerous. Her recent album on the german record label Ruf Records was recorded in Austin, Texas with these fellow musicians: Laura Chavez, Helge Tallqvist (harmonica), The Texas Horns, Derek O’Brian (guitar), Nick Connolly (keys/organ), Russell Jackson (bass), Tommy Taylor (drums) and producer and saxophone player Mark ‚Kaz‘ Kazanoff. She wrotes most of the lyrics herself, composed her songs together with Tomi Leino and sings, like you just need it! The “Blues Blast Magazine” described her “soul-blues, that transcends oceans”.
I had the very special pleasure to talk with Ina Forsman during her 2017 european tour, in the Groningen countryside, please enjoy!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Thank you very much for making this talk possible dear Ina! How was your trip so far? You played in Hannover/Germany last night?
Ina Forsman: Yes. In the Blues Garage. It was a very nice show. Then we had to travel a couple of hours to get here to the very north of Holland.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You are a singer and composer. You even compose lyrics and your music. Is that right?
Ina Forsman: Well, it’s kind of right. Usually my songwriting process is, that I make the lyrics and I always have some kind of melody or structure in my mind, but the thing is, I’m not playing any instruments. Usually I work with other musicians to compose, other musicians who play an instrument like a guitar or a piano. Then we write the song together. I sing the lyrics with the melody and structure and how I want it and then they just follow me with the right notes. But my plan is definitely to work more and learn to play an instrument, like the piano. Then I would be able to do all the compositions myself. But actually it’s also nice to do this work with someone else, because then you get fresh ideas you haven’t even thought about.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I need to congratulate you for your new album! I think it is a very special one, also because you recorded it in Austin,Texas. You sound like you are from Texas, even though you are not! This is really really special I must say! I think, you made it really good!
Ina Forsman: Thank you!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You are from Helsinki in Finland. You live there right now?
Ina Forsman: Yes.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: When I think about Helsinki, I have people in mind, like the filmmaker Aki Kaurusmäki. You know him or his work?
Ina Forsman: Yes, I do. Not personally, but I know his work.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: He is very popular and he always describes Helsinki as a place where people want to leave for good. How does your life look like in Helsinki? And how is your situation to be a blues artist there?
Ina Forsman: I love Helsinki! I was born there but then moved to a small town with the name Sipoo, when I was about 4 years old. There I lived all my life. For us teenagers growing up in that small city in the countryside created a feeling like: ”I want to leave! We need to go to Helsinki!” For me Helsinki is not a place I want to leave. But of course I understand, what the film director was talking about. Normally, when a foreigner has moved to Finland for some reason, the local people always ask questions like: “But why? Why did you come here? There are so many places in the world and you choose this place. Why?” Helsinki is my favorite city, I love this place. It’s a bit cold and it might not be as beautiful as many other capitals around Europe, but it’s my hometown and I really love it there. We have a nice blues scene going on in Helsinki, for example the monday jam at the Mendocino Bar where all the musicians, amateurs and professionals, come together. There are not only jam sessions happening there, but a lot of jam’s are going on at that place. Amateurs and professionals play together which I really like. When I’m not touring and just stay in Helsinki, I have at least one gig per month, which is also very nice. Then I don’t need to travel to another country or town to make a living. Then I can just play in my hometown sometimes.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Is blues also a natural music in Finland or Helsinki?
Ina Forsman: Yes, it’s very much natural. There are a lot of professional blues musicians living in Helsinki. It’s just the easiest way, when you have to travel a lot, in different countries, that you live close to the airport. Helsinki is the capital (with an international airport), it has the most bars and venues to play in.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: When I first heard you and even about you, I checked some video material on the internet, including your music. Then I got the idea, your voice is so special, it reminds me even of a sound mixture of Norah Jones, when she’s singing very quiet, this smoky rough style. There is also something you have Amy Winehouse had. You mentioned in an earlier interview, other influences are Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Donny Hathaway. I was thinking about Joss Stone, maybe even Janis Joplin.
Ina Forsman: (Laughing).
Bernd Ihno Eilts: In the blues, tragedies have a basic function.
Ina Forsman: Oh yes.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: What is your tragedy? In your life, connected with the blues?
Ina Forsman: Of course, all the things I write about are taken from my life. For sure you need some kind of tragedies, to get inspired. Blues is black music originally from people, who were slaves. They worked and lived hard on the cotton fields. I would be lying if I said, I had tragedies like that. Not even close. I have my own tragedies in my life and it usually has to do a lot with love and relationships. But I am not saying, that these things are the ones that let me go further in music. It’s the music in general and how I love to play it. Of course, you get inspired by your life. I definitely agree that when you are down and feeling blue and your heart is broken, I write songs that come much easier to write about. When I have to write a happy love song, it’s difficult. It is more difficult to be happy and honest then just to be sad and honest. Honesty and sadness come together. But with love it’s always to be afraid. Can I be this honest? Will he leave me if I’m that honest?
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You have, to be honest, a very special voice. How do you train your voice? Do you follow a special vocal training? How do you take care of your voice?
Ina Forsman: I took a couple of singing lessons back in the days, but that’s basically all the training I had. In general I train myself since my childhood through listening to the radio, listening to my favorite artists and singing along to those songs. A couple of years ago I used to work with a complete vocal technique, which is kind of technique I was following and has a lot to do with breathing techniques and stuff like that. For the rest I’m pretty much self trained.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How do you compose your songs and the lyrics? Do you follow a special way that helps you to get into the right flow? Do you need to be in a special mood, before you start composing?
Ina Forsman: No, not really. With every song it’s a different process. Some songs I can write even while touring. For some reason I’m very inspired to write songs in moments like that. When I’m just at home and I have all this free time on my hands, I could write many songs, but usually I just can’t. I’m sitting at home like I got nothing, but when I’m on the move, on tour with the band and it’s gonna be a six hours drive, then I can write three or four songs right away and on the road. Sometimes I can write a song in 30 minutes, sometimes it takes me a year to officially finish a song. It’s never the same. And it’s not about having a good idea or a bad idea or what’s the song about. I think, some songs need to grow first. Then I can make a story for them. When I know and can be sure that I’m aware what I’m talking about in a song, then it can happen. I don’t just want to write something to fill the gaps. Every sentence needs to be honest and real. I’m not a fairy tale story teller. I actually tell real stories from my life. This album’s stories are all taken from my life. For the next album there’s gonna be some songs that might be telling about my friend or a family member. They are my stories but then they will become also their stories. It’s always me who will tell the story from my perspective. My recent songs are almost all love songs. Love is for sure the most important thing to write about in music. But I’m trying to find some new ways to write, trying to figure out something, that doesn’t talk about love. Just get something new, some fresh ideas.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Do you collect your ideas in a notebook or in a computer or in your phone?
Ina Forsman: Everywhere. I have them really everywhere. In the computer, in my phone, so even here. First place is the phone that I usually use. When I start writing a song, it just starts from something. I might start like (singing: hmm, hmm, hmmm). And then it continues and then I have a chorus or a verse. I put the really first ideas on my phone. Even titles or a first line. Then the notebook comes when I try to write the song as best as it could be within all the lyrics I get and then I start rewriting it again and again and all the time change it a little. Just to see, how far I can go with it. On the computer I have the final lyrics, the ones I can send to a producer or a record label. There I have the final works. I have probably 20 notebooks at home, because I always have to buy new notebooks for every occasion, to feel more inspired. Then I just end up with 20 half empty notebooks, they never get that full.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: What else does inspire you next to your life, that’s constantly around and even inside? Do you also like to read books, novels or do you go out to see exhibitions? Is art inspiring you? Do you go to the theatre? What could also get your attention and become a part of inspiration for your music?
Ina Forsman: I never tried other things than music. It’s usually just music. I think, it’s just mostly music that inspires me, when I listen to other artists and go and see live gigs, live shows and watch them, even on youtube, of my favorite artists. I think, this mostly inspires me right now. I haven’t learned yet to take the other artforms into my music. Maybe someday, but for now, when I look at a painting, I see a painting (laughing). This has nothing to do with my music. But I totally respect people who can do that and get inspired from different things. For me, it comes 100% from music.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Did you also compose already today? Or during this tour?
Ina Forsman: No. I’ve written some songs, not completely finished but I started lot’s of song ideas. Not composing the music, just writing the lyrics. Now I’m still figuring out, for the next album and these new songs, that we were just talking about. Also, who I want to work with. I just would love to work with so many different people, I would love to work for every song with different people and see, how we would get together the whole album as a whole thing. We will see!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: For sure, you have a lot of connections with all kind of musicians you can ask and invite?
Ina Forsman: Yes, definitely. There are many people already in Helsinki, next month I’m seeing Laura Chavez. She played with Candye Kane. Now she’s playing guitar in the this years‘ Blues Caravan. She also played with us in the United States, when we were on the Blues Caravan tour and she even played on my last record, she just played everywhere (laughing). Next month we will write some stuff together. I already have the lyrics and she will join with her guitar and we will see what will happen. Get some demo’s or something done, I’m really excited about that. We already wrote one song last year, in the States, and it turned out to be really good.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: So, you are happy about this very special collaboration?
Ina Forsman: Yes, I am. I’m very excited to see what we will do this time.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Now you are on a tour, you went already many times to Belgium, also to Holland. Even very busy in Germany, you will even travel back during this tour to Germany. How is it to be on tour? Many hours sitting and sleeping in the bus, how is your connection with your fellow musicians? Can you share some tour stories?
Ina Forsman: Well, I myself love touring. I feel most like myself, when I’m on tour. When I went on the first big tour, it was the Blues Caravan tour in february 2016, it took us one month. We had about 22 shows. Before that tour I’ve done a 2 weeks tour, but in that time I stayed in one place for the entire time. That was not like a usual traveling tour from hotel to hotel. The first tour I was of course tired, it’s lot of sitting and waiting most of the time in the van and still you feel tired all the time (laughing). But, to be honest, I just love it. The last day I was feeling, I don’t want to go home anymore. I just want to be on this tour forever. The feeling you get from touring is endless and limitless. You get to be in music every day, what is really special. It’s definitely tough but I think, some people are just born to do it. I’m sure there is lots of music, musicians who are good musicians but they just don’t like the touring. I am the very opposite, I love being on tour with all pro’s and con’s, it’s all good for me.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I recently heard a story of a jazz musician, a double bass player. He’s touring 9 months long every year. His problem is, when he’s checking in a hotel and he’s waking up in his bed, he doesn’t know where the light switch is anymore. He has no idea, where exactly he is. And he also has no idea, how to organize things in that room, where he stays. You also have memories like that?
Ina Forsman: Mostly it’s like when I get home, because when you are away for a couple of weeks, living in many different hotel rooms, you don’t need to clean, you don’t need to do anything. You can leave stuff wherever you want. But when I get home, my boyfriend is like picking my clothes from everywhere, like if I was a baby! Then he says: you are not in a hotel anymore, clean your shit! (Laughing). That’s one problem that I have to face. But I’m a pretty messy person anyway. I always forget the charger for my phone in the hotel room, always. I think, during the Blues Caravan tour I must have bought 8 chargers during the whole year (laughing).
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I have to say, maybe I’m wrong, it looks like you are quite successful. Is this right?
Ina Forsman: Well, it depends what you mean by successful.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I think, to have the chance to record an album in the United States with a very beautiful selection of great musicians, you also tour a lot, it’s all your material you are performing, I think, you are successful! People book you for concerts a lot, you have shows with small and big audiences.
Ina Forsman: Thank you! Well, for me, I’m very happy and honored to be able to do all this. Last year was my first year as a full time musician. Before that I worked in a supermarket, I used to do make-up beauty stuff. The year after that, when the Blues Caravan tour started, I decided to give it a full ‚On‘ or ‚Off‘. I want to do music and only music or I’m not gonna do it at all. It has to be full time now, because this is what I want to do. Right now, it looks like this year I’m gonna be able to do that too, just being a full time musician. For me, that’s basically all I ever wanted. Of course, there are the crazy dreams, about Hollywood and being famous and being pretty successful, being a millionaire. But that’s not the main thing. That’s just some other goal. But the main goal has always been to be able to pay my bills from making music. Not having to do a job that I don’t like to do. Making music does not even feel like a job to me. Even though it’s tough as hell sometimes, but mostly it doesn’t feel like a job. It’s like a hobby (laughing)! It’s even a nice hobby!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: In general your life feels really comfortable and good right now?
Ina Forsman: Yes, definitely. I’m very happy and grateful that I can live this life. Also having a really nice record label behind, even it’s not the biggest label, but a label where I can come with my own music and they’re not like: Oh no, this is not pop enough, this is not selling enough. I can do the music I want to do and basically where I want to do. Going to Austin in Texas for my first solo record was pretty legendary for me. It was really huge! But I’m still not really sure how to continue with the next album. I bet it’s just gonna be great.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You have this record company in Germany, Ruf Records?
Ina Forsman: Yes, indeed.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How did you get in contact with them?
Ina Forsman: The story behind signing me to Ruf Records was that Thomas Ruf, the owner, was in touch with the European Blues Challenge in 2013 or 2014. I was a contestant there in that time and he saw me and in that time he didn’t contact me. It took him about one year before he came up with the Blues Caravan idea and then we started to talk about a record. He wanted to sign me and then I was even able to do the Blues Caravan tour. He told me, he took my performance behind his ear. He didn’t had time that moment but he never forgot about me and wanted to come back when the time is right (laughing). And a year later the time was right!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You are playing with a band even today, with 4 musicians plus yourself. You don’t have a horn section here on this tour?
Ina Forsman: No. On this really short tour we have only a minimum budget. So we had to cut some corners but for longer tours we will have a horn section, a bigger arrangement.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How did you find your band and what do you like about them?
Ina Forsman: Well, the thing is, I have many different bands I work with. I have a full Finland band, with them I do mostly all gigs in Finland and some in Scandinavia. This band is different. Walter Latupeirissa, the bass player, he already played with me in the Blues Caravan. Eric Heirman, the drummer, he already played with me on my first tours in Belgium and Holland. Eric is from Belgium and Walter is from Holland. I wanted to play with them now, because we thought, it would be good to have a couple of guys here, they know the places, and I also know, they both are really good. We don’t have to buy a flight ticket too. My piano player Samuli Rautiainen is from Finland and he is one of the best piano players I know. I love his playing and we started touring together about a year ago. I feel really good playing with him. I think, he brings this right atmosphere to the band, that I’ve been looking for many years. A couple of months ago we did some shows where we didn’t had guitars, just piano, bass and drums, which I liked a lot. That was the plan to have during this tour, but my manager suggested the guitar. For the next tour it might be different. I like working with different artists. I have my main guys I usually call but I have no problem taking new people. It’s always good to have connections. You never know, what’s going to happen.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How do you prepare yourself for a gig? Like tonight, what do you need to have around, maybe the last seconds before you enter the stage?
Ina Forsman: I don’t usually prepare a lot. I drink a lot of water before going to the stage. I’ve noticed it’s good for my voice, before starting to sing. Normally I always forget to drink regular during the day. Then I have to do it right before the show. But in general I don’t prepare that much. I might open my voice just a little bit, but usually I’ve been already talking the whole day to the band guys, so my voice is already warm and open. Of course I put my make-up on and put my hair and choose the clothes. And then it’s just jumping on the stage and singing my heart up!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How is it after the show? I can imagine, the way you sing, you really need a lot of energy?
Ina Forsman: Sometimes. Normally after a show I go to sleep pretty much soon, like after one or two hours after a show. Of course, there are also sometimes nice after-parties, but I’m mostly the first person, who leaves first to sleep. That’s important for my voice. If you are on the road for a long time, you can’t just go crazy, you need sleep. Otherwise your voice will be gone after one week. I guess, it takes a lot of energy, but I don’t feel tired after the show. It’s more, that I don’t feel tired. But I know, my body is tired and I need to go to bed. Normally I’m so energized and quirly, especially when there are a lot of people around.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: What do you like the most about your music?
Ina Forsman: Well, I love my music now so much, because I’ve been writing material for my second album and it’s gonna be a bit different then the first one. My music now feels exactly like how I want it to sound, day by day, more and more. I’m trying to create a whole new sound that no one has ever heard before, like this unique sound. I would love to create my own genre and I think, I’m going there very strong all the time. I’m feeling a different connection to these new songs than I felt to the other ones. They were my first songs, my little babies with which I started my writing. Some of them are my first real lyrics I made for an album. The second album will be a really new adventure, obviously. It will be not the first time anymore. I am just a little bit more experienced! I really love the way I sing my work all the time, when I play with my band, and we connect also and start playing the way that I always like attempted but couldn’t explain to them. How I want you guys to sound! But then they started sounding like just the way I thought! That makes me really happy (laughing).
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How would you describe your music now, is it blues or soul?
Ina Forsman: No, it’s not blues.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I was reading about your record label, Ruf Records. The owner is searching for blues for tomorrow. So, it’s a new kind of blues he tries to present. Even though it has very old roots, but nowadays we live in 2017!
Ina Forsman: Yes. We have to do it differently.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: What is your vision of the blues in your music?
Ina Forsman: I always like to try new things and it’s hard to say, to point out one genre that I do. I always say, I’m a blues singer, but that might not be the truth with what I really do. I can do a show where I sing no blues songs at all, but still I describe myself as a blues singer, because it’s a feeling. It’s what I feel when I sing my songs. When I write my lyrics, even though it’s gonna be a fusion jazz song. But even then I still can feel being a blues singer. Further I will write soul songs, I will write r&b songs, hip hop songs even. What I’m trying to do here, my vision is to combine all these genre’s, I would love to combine hip hop and real soul, r&b with really old school soul and jazz and let the blues be the red string, like the glue and keep it all together. Of course it always can go in different directions. But still they are the heart inside. That’s how I see it.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How do you feel when you sing, when you perform? How does it feel from the inside?
Ina Forsman: I just feel good (laughing)! It’s very nice, when you feel good while you sing, that you get a connection with the people, who watch you, who listen to you. That somehow they get the feeling. I love to go a little over the top on stage sometimes. I like to scream and jell, but I love it when people listen to me when I go quiet as well and they don’t start immediately with talking, when I do a quiet song. Then I’m more focused to listen to the band. I think, during this last year I really learned to respect also the quiet moments in the music. That it doesn’t always have to be screaming and yelling and entertaining. Sometimes it’s also just entertainment of course. But it’s lovely, when you bring it down and just basically do nothing.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Is the energy you feel while you sing high? It feels very energizing when you sing, for me it feels you sing with fire!
Ina Forsman: (Laughing)! Well, sometimes if I do a really long scream, I might get a little dizzy. Then I have to hold the microphone stand for a second, because I can’t see anything. But I always get back very soon. It’s more a breathing technique situation. It shouldn’t happen, but sometimes you get just a little bit overexcited. I don’t think the singing makes me feel warm on the stage. As usually the f….g lights, when they are really old school light, it makes the stage feel as an oven (laughing). It’s like you feel like a grilled chicken sometimes (laughing). When it’s like that and these lights are so bright and even located so badly, then they go straight into your eyes and when you try to watch the audience, you are almost blind. I don’t think the singing part makes me sweaty, it comes pretty natural to me. But being in an oven for two hours feels not really nice.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: So, your shows are two hours long?
Ina Forsman: Well, normally it is whatever the place wants. Then we play usually two hours, or two sets what means two times 45 minutes. Now we have lots of songs that we rehearse, so right now all the gigs have a little bit a longer duration. But I don’t think, anybody minds (laughing)! That’s what we normally do.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You are also a producer and you make your own videos. Even there we can see you acting, which is really special! This shows you in a different way, people can see you also have qualities as an actor!
Ina Forsman: But I’m not acting in movies or theatre plays. I have a couple of music videos where I did a very little minimum amount of acting. But you can’t hear me speaking like a normal actor does. Of course, I have some interest in that, but mostly I am just focused on music. And before you asked me this question, I never really had thought about an actors career beside music. But who knows, maybe there will come new possibilities in the future?
Bernd Ihno Eilts: In your last record you also thank your mentor and harp player Helge Tallqvist for showing you the way to play the blues. Can you explain, what you really learned from him and what you still use what he gave to you?
Ina Forsman: We met, when I was seventeen years old. He invited me to a blues studio, this analog blues studio in an old garage, we were there together with Tomi Leino, the guy who brought most of the songs on this last record. We did two blues songs and basically after that, we started a band together and started touring around Finland and Europe. The thing is, he never really taught me, he never showed me things like a teacher would do. He never told me to sit down, because he wanted to tell me all about singing the blues. It was just what we did. We started a band together and he always drove us everywhere, he was the manager of the band and the harp player. But he always tried his best to push me to become the bandleader. Of course, I was this little girl and for sure not always ready to go for it like that. He always tried to push me more to be more independent and to become a good bandleader. That’s the main thing I’ve learned from him. In total we toured about two years together and at some point I started to do my own songs, I got the offer to play the Blues Caravan and we saw that our paths were growing a bit more apart from each others. I felt really sad about it and it was difficult to tell him. But when I finally told him about the Blues Caravan he was very realistic and told me: “For that year we will not have so many gigs. Especially, because you will be on tour for the entire year”. But instead of just letting it go and saying goodbye to each other, he told me he would totally support me on my way. And if I want to get a new band for the new album it would be totally okay, he didn’t want to hold me back. That would be the opposite of what he wanted to do since we started together. He has taught me to be a kind and good bandleader, I think, that’s the biggest thing, he taught me.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Are you a kind and good bandleader? Or shall I better ask the band?
Ina Forsman: (Laughing). Yes, ask the band!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: What advise would you give to people, who search their own way in music? Other singers like you?
Ina Forsman: My advice is to always do your thing. There will always be offers and you might think, they’re gonna support you, it might be the easy way to the top. If you think, to do something mainstream or something they play on the radio is the best to follow, just don’t. There is nothing wrong with that if you really want to do that, but don’t start doing that. If you want to be successful or you want to make money, you need to do your own thing, because music always comes from the heart. It is a passion. If it is your job, it shouldn’t be like a job. If you start doing something you don’t want to do, just because of the money, then it’s not music anymore. It’s just a job. That’s my advice. You always have to work a lot. The success and the performances, they don’t come by just sitting on your ass at home. You really have to work hard, always train yourself, play new instruments, sing, sing, sing, just keep on doing things and surround yourself with people who are also searching for the same goal and are also in music. It is definitely difficult to go further if you are surrounded by people who are all just there doing nothing. Or doing something quite opposite. It is important to have friends around who support you and who you can trust even if you don’t succeed on the first or the second or the third time. But people, who will be there anyway. Be sure, you know, one day you’re gonna make it.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: I have to tell you a secret, just in between. When we arrived this evening, we had a short talk with the guy, who organizes the concerts here in Ezinge at Roode Haan. He told us, all the bands, who come here to play, they become really big people.
Ina Forsman: (smiling and laughing)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Maybe not this year, but at least next year or in about two years. I hope, you have warm clothes for the winter and nice clothes for the summer.
Ina Forsman: (Laughing).
Bernd Ihno Eilts: But it looks, the big success will come to you too!
Ina Forsman: Alright! I hope so (laughing)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You recently played also in Gent, in Belgium. There you had a huge stage with many people in the audience.
Ina Forsman: Yes, I remember, that was a beautiful show!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: But you also play on very small stages, like here. How does it feel for you, to have these different stages and amounts of people, who come to see and hear you?
Ina Forsman: Well, I love it. Then we also have the theatre gigs, where people sit down and they are very quiet and then there are the small pub gigs. I love them all, because you get a different connection. When you do the big festivals, of course, that’s the kind of feeling. I don’t get nervous very easy, but when there are so many people I tend to get a little bit nervous. And I love that feeling, because I don’t get that so often. Usually, when I play in small places, I just go on the stage and it’s like: Hello! Here I am! But on the big festivals you have all the butterflies in your stomach and even then, again, it’s just the same thing as it would be in a small bar. People are gonna react to you the same way, it’s just all a little bit louder (laughing). I love to do different kind of shows and see different people and different countries. Already we visited Belgium, Holland and Germany during this week. In every country people are a little bit different. And I love to see this! Especially when I go to a totally new country I never visited before.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Do you also feel the energy of the audience? When they’re drunk or just having a party? Maybe they are becoming crazy and are shouting or even just sitting there and listen in silence?
Ina Forsman: Oh yes, it’s always weird. For example, I remember the last night, if you have a crowd who is just partying and talking all the time and you feel there is a really nice party energy, and next day you go somewhere, where everybody is just quiet and sits at tables enjoying your show, then you start feeling like: Oh, do they really like the show? Probably they hate me? But then they come after the show and tell me something like: Oh my god, that was the best show I’ve ever seen. Then I get to realize, that there are so many different kinds of crowds, and actually I prefer the ones who like to sit quiet and listen. The crowds who talk all the time are confusing me a bit, especially when I do slow and quiet songs, because I love to really bring all down. This you can’t do when people in a bar are just talking all the time. Then they never get the mood. If it’s like that I’m trying to set the whole room and when I’m singing just together with the piano, singing „What a wonderful world“ and people are just expressive talking with each others, they don’t get the message sometimes. But when they are sitting and listening, they get it. They don’t have to scream and make noise to make it clear.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: You don’t ask for silence? To just shut up for a moment?
Ina Forsman: One time in a small bar in Holland I asked to be quiet. We did a song and I had a double bass player. You cannot hear it very well, when people are noisy. It was a small bar but it was very crowded and everyone was talking. Then I just told them, we are gonna do now a slow and quiet song with the acoustic bass and you don’t have to be quiet, but it would be highly appreciated (laughing)! Then everybody just stopped talking and the owner of the bar came to me after the show and said: They never go quiet here! That was the first time and so amazing (laughing)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Your future will bring a new album?
Ina Forsman: Well, I do not know that. It is a bit of a mystery still. I have a bunch of songs written but we are still trying to figure out where we want to record the album. I’m still looking for the producer for that album, I have a certain type in my mind but I still don’t know this. I know musicians, I don’t know producers, but we’ll see. Hopefully it will happen soon.
Bernd Ihno Eilts: How are you in private, when there is no music around? Do you also take vacations sometimes, does this exist in your life?
Ina Forsman: I have vacation every time I’m not on tour (laughing). It’s always like that. I like it that way. Of course when you have friends and a boyfriend with steady jobs, it’s always a little bit difficult to try and combine two perfectly different lives. When I’m off from a tour, I don’t have a second job. Then I’m just home, I can get lazy. In my private life usually I don’t do that much. Normally, when I’m for a week or two on tour and I’m going home then, I don’t want to go to parties, I don’t want to go anywhere. I just want to be at home. Just recently I moved to a new place and it’s starting to look really nice and it starts to feel like home. For a long time I didn’t had a place that I could consider my home. So, I just love to be at home. Sitting on the couch, watch Netflix, listen to music and just be there, that’s what I love. I’m very active, when it comes to music and when I’m on tour. But when I get home, I’m the laziest person you’ll ever meet (laughing)!! And I believe, I deserve that! After a long tour to be a bit lazy sometimes (laughing)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: It’s hard work, right?
Ina Forsman: Yeah, it is (laughing)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Thank you very much!
Ina Forsman: Alright! Thank you so much! Now we ended the conversation with: I’m the laziest person alive! Please don’t put that on the headline, okay? (Laughing out loud)!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: No, no no, there will be a different one!
Ina Forsman: Okay, good! Thank you so much!
Bernd Ihno Eilts: Enjoy the show tonight and then I’m wishing you mountains of luck for all your future projects!
Ina Forsman: Thank you very much!
For more information, please check: www.inaforsman.com
Interview: Bernd Ihno Eilts for 60Minuten.net
Photography: Henk Huizenga.
November 24, Le Singe, Biel, Switzerland
November 25, Live in Cham, Cham, Switzerland
January 16, Malmitalo, Helsinki, Finland
January 27, Teatteri Rio, Oulu, Finland
April 21, La Grande Halle, Calais, France