Sofia Talvik is a light, ethereal Swedish songbird. The 33-year-old Scandinavian artist is on a two-year tour of the U.S., touching down tonight at 7 at Cool Beanz Coffehouse, 1325 30th St., Rock Island.|
Atlanta Retro (atlretro.com) described her music thusly: "...an otherworldly edge, surprising twists and powerful, haunting vocals make her much more than just another pretty folk-pop-acoustic performer. In other words, in Scandinavian music terms that Americans can understand, she's no ABBA retread and not quite the enigmatic eccentric of Bjork, but carving her own unique and welcome niche in the music world."
A review of her fifth full-length album, "The Owls Are Not What They Seem" (released this past January) at bluesbunny.com said: "I'd be hard pressed to think of any singer-songwriter, whether chasing fame or not, that can demonstrate the level of consistency and eloquence that is to be found here. Ms. Talvik has always had the knack of writing confessional lyrics without having to resort to saccharine sentimentality."
"Talvik's gentle acoustic songs make up for any loss of sonic power and rhythmic force with a focus on the sweetly nuanced basics: endearing melodies and tasteful arrangements," said the Direct Current Music blog.
Ms. Talvik -- who records with a band -- is touring with just her guitar, and husband (who does the sound), in an RV. They run their own record label, Makaki Music, which she formed in 2006. "Being your own boss makes it so much easier to do all the crazy ideas you come up with. Some things are doable, some are not, but no one's gonna tell you no," Ms. Talvik said.
In 2005, she released her first album, "Blue Moon," self-produced and released on a small indie label in Sweden. "Having your own label is total freedom; you do whatever you want," she said recently.
"My songwriting reflects everything -- reflects my heritage, production from the U.S.," she said. "Since I grew up in Sweden, I have a different tradition. I didn't grow up with American folk music, but I started listening to American music and folk music, got influenced by that, so my music is a Swedish take on American folk music."
Ms. Talvik started offering all her songs for free (downloadable) from her website, and today her site -- sofiatalvik.com -- still always features a free song at the top of the homepage. The most recent is "Beautiful Naked."
"It's always been a thing that helped my music; I've never been afraid of free downloads, giveaways," she said. "You find new fans, have people be able to hear your music. I still think it's a great way to build your fan base and I still release free songs every year."
In 2008, Ms. Talvik became the first Swedish female singer to play the Lollapalooza festival. This year, she was showcased at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tenn., and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
On her website, she also posts video episodes from her time on tour. "I try to record all the time, depending how much time we have," Ms. Talvik said. "It's like a moment from the tour, my own music."
Her latest CD gets its unique title from a line in the mysterious David Lynch TV series "Twin Peaks," one of her favorites.
"I always loved that TV show ... the battle between good and bad," Ms. Talvik said. "I've got a very airy sound, keep it very pure. I think it would go well with the TV show."
Her soft, confessional songwriting style works well in small venues like coffee houses, she said.
"When playing solo, it's an advantage to be in a smaller, intimate setting," Ms. Talvik said. "It's so much easier to connect with the audience right there in front of you. It's easier to have a dialogue with the people you're playing for. You have one person to focus on. It's almost like a one-on-one song. This tour, l've been trying to do more smaller settings. The goal is to meet people, build my fan base."
The blonde balladeer also will do her first Daytrotter recording session while in Rock Island. "It's one of the most prestigious music blogs. It's like a different approach," she said of the live recordings, posted at daytrotter.com. "They have a really good thing going."
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