There aren’t many 16 year olds in the same position as Amanda Mair. There aren’t many 16 year olds, for example, that were discovered by the founder of Sweden’s premier alt-pop label, Labrador Records and instantly snapped up. Nor are there many 16 year olds that have the singer from the great Mary Onettes pen their tracks for them. But a young and extreme talent has been found in this one, Amanda Mair, who over the past few months has been releasing little snippets of her cool, sultry pop to an internet audience. Admitting to pure pop origins, the chanteuse has turned to a more subtle, intelligent side of the pop-sphere with her recent tracks ‘House’ and ‘Doubt’. A bit like a Swedish Vanessa Paradis, except with cooler clothes and not singing songs about taxis called Joe, Amanda Mair has an album due out this winter and caught up with The Line of Best Fit to tell us how the foundations of her blossoming singing career were put in place.
‘Doubt’ is the second track that we’ve heard from you, and it has already received great reviews from people all over the world. Can you tell us a bit about the song, and the recording of it? Did you write it?
Thank you! I did not write ‘Doubt’. Philip Ekström who sings in the band The Mary Onettes wrote the song. Mostly it is Philip or Johan Angergård [the president of Labrador records] who writes the songs that I am performing. Me and the songwriter always work together, so that I could relate to the songs as well. It is very important to me to be able to sing the songs as if I wrote them but in the future I can definitely see myself writing my own songs.
When did you first start making music?
I’ve loved dancing and performing since I was four years old. My first official performance was when I was five years old and I sang the song ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua at a song contest at kindergarten. When I was eight years old I started to take piano lessons as well as singing lessons.
You’re signed to one of the most exciting labels in Sweden, Labrador Records – how did they find you or was it you that found them?
It started three years ago when my mum asked me if I wanted to record three covers, for fun. My sister’s boyfriend knew Tom Steffensen who owns a studio in Stockholm. Tom had earlier played drums with Johan Angergård in the band Club 8. Two years later I recorded those three songs, Tom called me and told me he’d played my cover songs for Johan. According to Tom, Johan had said he wanted to hear more from me. Last winter I signed the contract with Labrador Records and that was how it all began! I really have Mom to thank.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
I go to a musicians’ school in Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve just finished my first year and now I have two years left until I graduate. When I’m not studying or recording music with Labrador Records, I hang out with my friends. I think it is important to live life to the fullest!
Is singing the only thing that you’ve ever wanted to do, or did you harbour different ambitions when you were younger?
I can tell you, when I was a little girl I always talked about how much I wanted to be a maid (I have nothing against maids). Today I still wish I had that ambition since my room is always a mess. I have at least two years left in school and my plan for now is just to finish it. However, I am sure that music will always be a big part of my life!
Which artists do you enjoy listening to?
I listen to a lot to Bon Iver, Melody Gardot, Lykke Li and Kings Of Convenience.
Do you enjoy performing live, and what is your live set-up like?
I love performing live! I think that is the funniest thing about being a musician. When I perform I sing and play the piano by myself, so for now it’s just me on stage.
What are your plans for the future? Is there an album on the horizon?
I’m working on an album and it will be released in February and I also have a few gigs coming up this autumn.