INTERVIEW Signe Tollefsen
By Oscar Kocken
"So amazing!" said Jan Mulder, visibly moved when Signe Tollefsen's last note had died away in "De Wereld Draait Door". He was clearly not the only one who thought so, because the day after her television appearance, her record label notified her that rarely they had had such high sales after a tv appearance. For all those fans and anyone who still has to become one, good news: the half-Dutch, half-American singer-songwriter presents her latest CD "Hayes" in September.
Do you remember when you knew your future was in music?
'Actually I knew all my life I had to be a singer. Until I was seventeen. I studied classical singing at the Royal Northern College of Music and suddenly noticed that I had ended up in a world full of elbows. Very nasty and competitive. I refused to join, I stopped and studied all sorts without ever finishing anything. And when I had just signed up for a new course, I sat on the couch, watched a documentary about Joni Mitchell and suddenly felt a stab in my heart. I thought: I have no choice, this is just what I have to do. Make music. "
Why was it not enough to just to listen?
"I've often wondered that too. Why would I necessarily have to make it myself? Maybe it's the same as not wanting to just sit in a boat, but wanting to take the helm yourself. Or like watching people kiss is not the same as kissing yourself. I wanted that intense experience. Or rather it was not even a question of will ... "
But a vocation?
"I think so, because I don't really have any control over it. I even tried to run away from it. "
Why for god's sake?
"Because it is not easy. It doesn't pay anything, you have to work hard and many people think that musicians are lazy and don't work. And on top of that, the exhausting insecurity: can I do it? Am I good enough?
Yet you do it.
"Because there are enough times that it's great. If you play for fifteen hundred people in a beautiful hall with good equipment, and honey comes out of the speakers, that makes up for it. And fifteen hundred applauding people make a very different sound than that handful in the pub."
Fame is a goal?
"Yes. But as a musician, not as an individual. People don't have to stare at me in the Albert Heijn [Dutch Supermarket], but I want them to know my music. I prefer that they say I have no idea what Signe Tollefsen looks like, but her songs are great. "
Will that happen with your new album?
"I hope so. Hayes is important for me because it represents the development I am experiencing now. This album transforms the old Signe-with-flowers to the new Signe-with-balls. With my debut, I could only go to Radio 1 and Radio 6, but on my new CD are also great songs that could be played at 3FM. Moreover, these songs I can play with a band, so it fits better on the bigger stages. "
Do you write differently for a wider audience?
"No, when composing, I don't. But when I was with my producer in the studio, we said about some songs: this could be a hit! "
Hayes is in stores from September 12.