How did you get involved with Gritty In Pink?
"I got contacted for Gritty’s 420 special in April, and I’m so stoked I found out about Gritty! We need more spaces to uplift female/female identifying creators."
How does it feel to be playing Gritty In Pink’s Pride Show on June 9th?
"I am so excited! Pride is my favorite time of the year, and I can’t wait to be in a space full of like-minded artists. I love being on stage so much so it’s going to be a great night."
What got you into music? How did you know you wanted to pursue music professionally?
"It sounds super cliché, but I’ve truly always loved singing and performing. I did musical theater as a kid and when I was a teenager I realized that pop music and songwriting was more my passion. My dad is also an audio engineer so he took me to his studio every time he had time and let me record and pretend I was a star for a day haha. In the 2000’s, singing competitions for kids and teenagers in Sweden was huge (comparable to beauty pageants here in America) so I started doing that when I was 11, and was touring with the competitions all over Sweden and in Estonia. That’s how I knew performing was my calling. When I was 17, in 2012, I auditioned for X-Factor Sweden and went pretty far, so that’s how my career jump started."
What is the inspiration behind your latest single, “Fuck Myself?” How did the vision for the lyric video come together as well?
"So my new single “fuck myself” was written two years ago, when I still identified as bisexual. I’ve known all my life I was gay, but I felt it was easier to still date men and say I’m bi- pressure from society and all. So sex with men always felt really wrong to me, but I excused it as probably everyone feels this way? Lol. I realized that wasn’t the case, BUT a common denominator amongst all my friends and women I’ve talked to, was that men are often really selfish in bed, don’t know how the female body works, and often leaves us very unsatisfied. So I needed to get that off my chest and also tell the story I know many women can relate to, and that’s how “fuck myself” was born."
How was your experience auditioning for and being part of American Idol?
"American Idol was super fun. I’ve been a fan of the show since I was a kid. I wasn’t sure at all I would audition, since I’ve done similar shows previously so I kinda knew the drill, but something told me I was gonna do it. I loved it. I got a golden ticket and meeting the judges and knowing they loved me was a huge confidence boost, but to meet all other amazing singers was the biggest highlight for me."
Who are some of your favorite female artists at the moment?
"Celine Dion will always be my biggest idol. She’s my hero lol. I’m a big fan of Janine. She’s a singer and producer from New Zealand and I just love her sound. Her voice is like butter. I also love Anne-Marie a lot. Her writing is amazing and I’ve saved every single song of hers on my Spotify. Her top-lines are super catchy and have the nostalgic pop sound that I have a soft spot for. Another one of my favorite female and queer artists is LP. She’s just a fantastic singer and writer as well. “Lost on you” by LP is probably one of my favorite songs of all time."
Who/what are your inspirations lyrically and musically?
"I do get inspired by the music I listen to on a day to day basis, and it’s obviously a lot of pop music, lots of throwback pop and rnb. I love dissecting Ed Sheeran’s writing, he’s a genius, both lyrically and melodically. Often I get ideas for my own writing when I’m driving. I write lyrics with the help of Siri on my notes app all the time, and then I add melodies to it when I get home."
What does a day in the life of Manda look like?
"Everyday in my life looks different right now, lol. I’m still kinda finding my balance. My partner and I just moved to our new house so on my days off we are still fixing a lot in the house, which I love. We always have breakfast in our yard in the morning, and coffee is a must for me. My days are usually a mix of working and planning my own project and recording gigs for other producers."
Do you have a dream collaboration, dream concert lineup, and/or dream place to perform?
"I would die if I got to sing live with Celine Dion. I also would love to write a song for her. I actually have a song called “crybaby” that would be perfect for her but I’ve yet to figure out how to pitch it to her. I’d love to headline all the Prides there are, lol. Of course to have my own tour would be a huge dream as well."
If you were any drink or food, what would you be and why?
"I totally blanked out on this one so I asked my partner and they said that I would be a watermelon. Hard on the outside and soft on the inside, haha. I assume that’s very correct because I often hear that people are surprised that I’m so sweet and that my looks make me look way harsher than I am."
Do you have any fashion inspirations?
"I don’t think I do, I always just dress what I’m comfortable in. I usually just wear sweats/yoga pants on a daily basis and sneakers, or baggy jeans and a crop top. I love bold colors, and I think subconsciously my fashion choices are probably inspired by the 90’s. T-shirts and mom jeans, haha."
Favorite TV show(s)?
"So many!! I wish I had more time to watch shows cause I have so much to catch up on. Bates Motel is one my favorite of all times, and my man crush is definitely Freddie Highmore. He’s so cute and nerdy. I love the original L-Word and This is Us."
If someone was about to listen to your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them before they press play?
"I’d describe it as feel-good, sexy powerful pop tunes with some soulful nostalgic influences."
As a queer, female artist, what does identity mean to you? How does it shape your artistry and the work you put into your career?
"I’ve gotten to a point where I proudly take on the identity of a queer artist. Before when I was still closeted I didn’t want to identify myself as a queer artist, but I realized it was just due to interal homophobia. I’m so proud of being queer, and that identity is such a big part of me, who I am, my group of friends, the things I do. I’m passionate about hopefully being a role-model for younger queers, and to tell my story and what I know, what I’ve learned and def still learning, in my music and songwriting. I don’t wanna shy away from sensitive topics at all."
How can people continue to support women and other marginalized voices in music?
"There’s a lot of events and shows that are by women only and by POC only, that are super important to support - the music industry is so male and white dominated and that has to change. Streaming music is a big thing, but buying the songs from iTunes is so important as well. Also, buying merch!!!!"