Stina Nordenstam (32) is a jazz influenced ‘alternative’ singer-songwriter
from Sweden. The sparse, open textures and her girlish voice create a unique
‘northen woods’ atmosphere full of dark shadows and strange shapes.
With her fragile child-voice and her spookily beautiful songs, Stina Nordenstam
is one of the most exciting and emotive vocal talents around.
There must be something with the atmosphere in Sweden since so many interesting
and unique female songwriters develops there, but Stina Nordenstam may be one
of the strangest ones yet. She hardly ever gives interviews, avoid getting photographed
and refuse to give concerts. For the cover of the album "People are Strange"
she shot her own photographs. "I have never liked being photographed,"
she has said, "and I have been like that since I was a little girl. Maybe
because I have been conscious that I have not been treated well, and I have
been opponent to document it. I have written a diary either. That's why it have
been so nice to have these records that mirrors what I have been doing."
With her whispering voice and different wigs her image is the one of a modern
She obviously lets her music speak for itself, and it speaks volumes. Her songs
are beautiful pieces of life written, composed, and arranged by Stina Nordenstam
alone. The only way to get to know her is through her records: Between ten years
and five records, last one is simple called "This Is - Stina Nordenstam",
has she shown the most distant zigzag courses of the human mind.
"I don't think those who buys my records should know me as a person,"
she said recently in one of her rare interviews. "I don't want to be a
public person. I am afraid of it. It's important that those who meet me don't
already have information about me and I don't want to recognized on the streets.
I want to be invisible and private."
She is not invisible, but she is very small and tiny, though she is regarded
up with the giants in the music business: As the helpless, shy little sister
of Björk, Tori Amos and Polly Jean Harvey. And where Björk represent
barking madness, Amos for vulnerable sexuality and Harvey for anemic aggressiveness,
Stina Nordenstam being intense and personal, slightly eccentric with her songs
and her melancholy vision. "I guess I represent an alternative femininity",
she has said.