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Ida Maria “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” On Mercury Records / Fontana

Ida Maria “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” On Mercury Records / Fontana

Known for leaving stages drenched in sweat, breaking three microphones a night and leaving local roadies in distress, Norwegian force of nature Ida Maria (pronounced “Ee-dah”) channels the true spirit of rock and roll in her live show, and her album follows suit. Fortress Round My Heart, has already spawned a hit single in the UK for the raucous sing-along “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.”

Ida Maria completed a 30-show, sold-out headlining UK tour (her first!) in November of 2008 and won over the UK press, garnering 4-star reviews in everything from Q Magazine to the Guardian, appearing on ‘Later With Jools Holland’ (where word is she upstaged Morrissey, one of her idols), and played NME’s Shockwaves Awards shows in February 2009.

Rolling Stone.com gave Ida Maria single “Oh My God” four stars and Time Magazine placed her song “Oh My God” at # 3 on their “The Top Ten List of Everything in 2008,” saying, “This 24-year-old Norwegian has a powerhouse voice – deep, commanding, a little masculine, exotic, too, like Nico, but with an abundance rather than an absence of feeling.”

2008 was a whirlwind year for the 24-year-old, who grew up in Nesna, Norway, a university town of fewer than 2000 people near the Arctic Circle. Ida Maria moved to Bergen as a teen and cut her musical teeth in the sprawling Bergen music scene where the likes of Kings Of Convenience, Sondre Lerche, Annie, Erlend Øye, Röyksopp and Datarock would rub shoulders with assorted black metal bands, avant garde jazz musicians and bluegrass singer-songwriters.

“It was a fantastic place to be a musician, and a great place to develop,” says Ida Maria. “I used to have a thin, girlie little voice, but in Bergen I discovered the inner beast that was hiding in my vocal chords.”

She says her song writing is informed by a benign variant of “synaesthesia,” a condition where your senses are jumbled up to the point where you see sounds and hear colours. She sees song writing as “assembling shapes and patterns,” and her songs are “yellow” or “black” or “spiky.”

“I wanted to make 10, short, sharp, perfect tracks, no more than three minutes long. I wanted pop music that hits you hard RIGHT THERE,” she says, hitting her stomach. “Music you can dance to, drink to, go crazy to. You know, I love and appreciate and understand jazz and classical and avant garde music, but pop is different. It’s physical, it’s visceral, and it’s concentrated. A producer in Norway once said to me, ‘Well Ida, you’re a kind of arty punk singer; you can’t really write “pop,” can you?’ And that drove me mad. I was like, ‘Fuck you, I can write pop music.’ That’s why I wrote these songs. I love how pop songs connect with people, I love that instant reaction. I love to be on stage and to smash things up, with words and with music. That’s how pop should be.”

Like most of her compatriots, Ida Maria sings in English, explaining that “Norwegian has too many consonants, too many Ks and Rs and Ts and Gs – the poetry is wonderful but it’s not sexy enough to sing!”

“The stage is my canvas, it’s where I put all those colours and shapes and patterns that are bursting out of my head all the time.”

Ida Maria Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/idamaria

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