So, the ‘Bird’ has flown at last, 10 years after it first made an appearance, fashioned from the pen of a 13-year old; the “little Johanna who dared” as she said in a social media post.
We had an interview with Johanna Brun a month or so ago and I’ll give a link to it at the end so we don’t have to go over too much old ground.
Suffice to say that I’ve kept tabs on the artist and this song for six years now since I first saw Johanna perform it at the Gefle Gas Festival in 2017. It was immensely powerful then, even if delivered with only the backing of a Nord Stage 2 electric piano, and that power came from the titanium vocal chords and utterly committed self-expression of the singer; the sort of dynamism that you rarely see in an artist these days. She doesn’t just sing it, she lives it.
(NB you can watch a solo live performance in the interview post).
It obviously still means a great deal to her and it won me over instantly.
And my, has it changed over the years with the addition now of both mournful and exhilarating strings, canyon spanning synthesiser and in contrast a slightly slowed down and less frenetic vocal delivery.
But essentially it remains the same song; one born of the defence mechanism she adopted from the bullying she underwent as a young teenager partly on account of a medical condition she suffered from, which took the form of being able to take wing in her mind at least and flee like a bird, “escaping from all the pain”, both physical and mental.
Johanna has kept the original wording, with its slightly wonky English grammar, to protect its originality and to enable her to tell the story ‘as it is’. The young Johanna speaking from her heart and with her own words.
If you like songs that soar like a bird, well this is a golden eagle.
In the original version it was just Johanna and her piano but the piano really only puts in a significant appearance here towards the end. However it provides the most profound moment on the entire song for me, that glorious final chord. Have you ever heard one that better suggests ‘closure’? It tugs at your heart strings.
And it stands in total contradiction to the gloomy opening chord, like a statement of intent.
‘Bird’ is released on 29th November on the Comedia label.
Click this link for the full song: https://open.spotify.com/track/3a5VMMzTISUwA5SGblG9Z8?si=ee7d54996b274298
Johanna’s debut album will be released in the New Year, with a few more singles coming first. I’ve heard some demos from it and boy! – is everyone in for a breathtaking surprise!
Before then there is a combined release gig and showcase at Hilma in Stockholm on Thursday 14th December at 19:00, at which we are promised “an emotionally charged performance, inspired by nature, life and personal experiences, performed on/with piano, strings, choir, sub bass, pads and ambient synths, subtle drums, impacts and some FX”.
Here is the link to the interview: https://www.nordicmusiccentral.com/in-conversation-with-the-remarkable-johanna-brun-sweden/
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