FINNISH singer-songwriter Maija Vilkkumaa is one of the most established Finnish artists around. She has been a constant favourite among Finns for more than ten years and has just confirmed her status with her sixth album Kunnes joet muuttaa suuntaa already enjoying gold sales after its first week on release.

What is the secret behind your success?

I don’t actually think about “success” – that would drive me insane! I make the kind of music that I like. Writing songs is not that hard, but surviving with my own thoughts sometimes is. I don’t like to let myself get away with things, but on the other hand, one can’t be too hard on herself. I move forward with intuition and passion!

What was the initial idea behind Kunnes joet muuttaa suuntaa?

In the beginning of 2009 I had this urge to write more songs. My previous album Superpallo had come out in October the year before. That was the first album where my band had an outsider as a producer, the brilliant Riku Mattila. I wanted to make a new album right away, because the co-operation had started to roll so well. I wanted to make a rock album, but not hard rock – I wanted our musical references to be in punk and new wave, but the sound to be big and shiny. I wanted to create a passionate, irresistible and catchy album.

How have the feelings surrounding the release of a new album changed during your career?

I get just as excited and nervous as at the beginning. But, I’m not quite as scared as I used to be. When I was making my first albums I often had this feeling that “I can’t do this.” Now I don’t have that anymore, which is nice. There’s actually more room for excitement now that the fear is gone.

The stories in your songs are often quite rough. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I like to represent contradictory, forbidden feelings and situations. Everything I represent is somehow familiar to me, or at least I can identify with it in some level. When I’m writing a story for a song I don’t think whether it is real or not, but I try to create a story that best conveys the feeling that I want to capture.

You are one of Finland’s best-selling artists – have you received international acclaim as well?

No, I haven’t! Saying that, I haven’t really tried either, since I sing in Finnish. Of course it would be nice to tour internationally as well, but at the moment I have no plans to conquer the world.

What does the future hold for you – are you already planning your next album?

Right now I’m thinking of gigs. I’m touring around Finland a lot this year, which is great. Performing live you see the audience and really get to enjoy the music. I will come up with plans for the next album when it’s time for that.

Petra Nyman