Introducing the Norwegian singer-songwriter carving out irresistible pop melodies.
The cogs on Scandinavia’s pop powerhouse machine are oiled and working well. Zara Larsson, Sigrid, MØ – to name just three – have broken out of their humble hometowns and developed into global chart-hit masters. And behind them is a slew of young, hungry artists with the same seemingly innate ability to craft unforgettable pop melodies. Next in line: Amanda Tenjford.
You could say the Norwegian singer-songwriter was destined for a life in music, having started playing piano aged 5 and stepping in the recording booth for the first time aged 10, but the music was never Amanda’s only focus. A self-confessed ‘school freak’, until recently, music has been on the back burner while she was studying medicine. That lack of dependency on garnering instant musical success has led to carefree writing that exudes from her infectious choruses and allowed her to not take things too seriously.
We caught up with her around the release of her latest single “Kill The Lonely” – probably her most mature pop song to date – to discuss what inspired its driving melody, balancing studying and music and her unique covers band.
Hey Amanda! Let’s start with: what were your first experiences of music growing up?
I’m half greek so I grew up with a lot of greek music. My first experiences with music were all the greek songs that dad sang for me when I was a kid.
When did you start making music and what are your thoughts on those early songs now?
I wrote my first song at 16 – it’s called ‘Run’ and I wrote it on my guitar. I still play it sometimes and I actually like it.
Scandinavia is home to some of the best pop artists of recent times – what’s in the water over there!?
I think it’s the brown cheese over here. Or the fish. Or maybe the water, we have the best water, wow! There are a lot of talented and hardworking people around and it’s so motivating and inspiring!
How would you describe your sound and how does it set you apart?
Variated and touchy. I think my voice is what makes it special.
What’s your songwriting process like? What topics usually inspire you to make music?
A song usually starts with an idea, randomly popping up in my mind, when I ride my bicycle or shower or something. I write it down and take it from there, and then bring my idea to the studio and we add chords and melodies. The process is very random and it surprises me every time it turns out to be a great tune. Everything in life inspires me – my friends, my boyfriend, random things I see around. People and life, yeah.
What’s been your highlight of 2019 so far?
Highlight must be… The Great Escape, maybe? That was so much fun. Also Bergen Songs (a writing camp in Bergen) was very very fun.
Tell us about your new single “Kill The Lonely”?
“Kill The Lonely” is a special song for me. I wrote it two years ago with James Earp, and I still remember when I left the studio that night it felt very special and good. The song is about killing loneliness among us. I think a lot of people feel lonely and it’s important to talk about – it shouldn’t be a taboo.
You’re studying medicine alongside kickstarting your music career – how important is doing both things to you?
I like doing both. I just had a year off medicine, but now I feel like picking it up again. It’s very interesting and I love my classmates.
Tell us about your covers band!?
Flu Fighters! Yeah! We are a band of seven: drums, piano, guitar, bass, vocals, trumpet and saxophone. And we play songs such as “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Lush Life” by Zara Larsson. If someone is having a party or wedding you can hit us up, hehe. We usually get paid with beer.
What are your aspirations for the next year? A big 2020?
Big 2020, yes! Let’s go for that.