Interview by Andy Axworthy

Our dear readers I think that they already know the AOR/arena rock singer Issa (AKA Isabell Øversveen) and this time, Andy took some time for investigate about her latest release “Can’t Stop”, where the Norwegian singer collected and recorded some hidden gems/cover of the AOR scene. Just read this exciting interview for know more.
Hi Issa, a warm welcome back from all of us here at Femme Metal Webzine. We last spoke with you after the release of “Sign of Angels” back in 2010 and you have not taken your foot off the musical gas since, leading up to now and “Can’t Stop”, your latest release. How have you been and what’s new in your world?

Hi there, thanks for having me back. Well I’ve recorded 3 albums in 3 years which has been the main priority of my time really and with each album you have an aftermath of radio and written interviews which also take up a bit of time. I also write songs with my husband James as we have a publishing deal and we have a lot of fun writing in all different styles. I’ve also recently added my vocals on another Frontiers Records release which is yet to have a press release so I have to keep hush hush unfortunatly on that one. But aside from the music i’m very happy in my life also.

What with 2011’s excellent “The Storm”, “Can’t Stop” marks your third release in three years. Where has this musical momentum come from? Are you driving it or has it taken on a life of its own?

I think with the success of my first record which even surpassed my own expectations , Frontiers wanted to maintain the momentum and crack straight on with another release. Hence now I have 3 albums recorded in a very short space of time. Also I’m young and loving having a career in music so why wait.

“Can’t Stop” marks a step in a different direction in that it’s a covers album that breathes some new life into a selection of lesser-known AOR songs. In fact most of these gems will be new to a lot of your fans so this could be more of an uncovers album! Is this an itch you just had to scratch? Can you tell us more of the story behind this album?

To be honest , the concept was down to Serafino at Frontiers Records. He came to me with the idea and the songs. I don’t totally look at it like a covers album like you say , as the songs are pretty obscure and I hadn’t’ heard of even half of them so it was new to me also. These songs are classic songs and it was an honour to put my stamp on them, with the songs all being male vocal driven songs it was a nice challenge to raise the keys and see what the fans and public think to my versions.

Did the track listing arrived fully-formed, or did you end up with a ‘long’ short-list of band and/or label suggestions which was gradually reduced to a manageable number of songs? How did you decide which songs made the grade?

The songs were all decided by Serafino at Frontiers and I loved them all instantly , I do have some lee-way with decisions but this time he nailed it for sure.

Of the tracks that made the final listing you’ve said that it’s nearly impossible to pick a favourite although “Can’t Stop” just shaded it. Now you’ve had a chance to grow into the songs has this changed at all? Also, which one was most memorable to record, the one that had the whole studio rocking out?

Well funnily enough I like to record my own vocals , I can really get into the song that way and experiment different harmonies and alter melodies .So I was just rocking out on my own most of the time ha, I think,  “If You Ever Fall” and “Just a Wish” are my favourites at the moment.

This time out the tracks have been wrestled into shape with the help of Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Eden’s Curse) who also plays keyboards on the album. How was Alessandro to work with in terms of song arrangements and in the studio?

Alessandro is a very talented musician and a lovely guy and it was a pleasure to work with him. As ali lives in Italy and I live in the UK , I sent him the new keys of the songs which I had practiced to piano. He then recorded the backing tracks and then sent me them to sing. Ali did a great job on the song arrangements and modernized it up a bit which was great.

As well as Alessandro, can you introduce us to and tell us a little more about the other band members who worked with you on “Can’t Stop”?

Alessandro has his own team of musicians in Italy which he brought in on the record, Anna Portaluppi who played bass on the record works with Alessandro regularly and you can hear her great bass playing on the record. Mario Percudani played the guitar and Alessandro Mori handled the drumming duty. You can see all the guys in my video for “Can’t Stop”. Each of these guys are in bands with Alessandro Del Vecchio like Hardline and Lionville and are seasoned musicians .

You really seem to have hit the mother lode with Frontiers Records. How does it feel to still be part of that family and how do you see that relationship growing with time?

The relationship I have with Frontiers is something I am very proud of , they are the number #1 melodic rock label in the world for sure and their success and list of artist is second to none. I have met the guys at Frontiers and they really made me feel part of the family, I hope it’s a relationship that exists for many more years to come as they are the ones that gave me my break.

“Can’t Stop” was released in November to some great reviews. How has this gone down with the fans and also, have you heard anything from the bands whose songs you covered?

Yes, the reviews have been fantastic , I spoke with Rob Evans at Powerplay Magazine UK and he told me he loved the new record and other reviews I’ve read have been great.I have had some email conversations with a few of the guys from the bands, it was lovely to get an email from one of the Regatta guys and also Stuart Smith. My husband James introduced me to the drummer of Tower City, Heath Saltis who was very kind with his feedback.

In terms of touring, you have three strong albums under your belt now and your passion is playing live. Can we look forward to a tour soon, and when you do take your show on the road, where are you planning to go?

So many plans have been mentioned to tour and I’ve  come so close over the last year but to be part of a tour I have to have costs covered for myself and my band, so far it would have cost me thousands to do it myself so I’m holding back for the right offer but I’m certain something will happen soon.

You’ve said that you could live in stage if you had to, as you love it so much. Could you pick out a highlight of the last 3 years in terms of live performances and give us a little insight into why it means so much to you?

Well my first Issa gig in Oslo Norway was fantastic , just to hear the songs live and powerful was a great feeling , supporting Lynch Mob was another highlight and I will always remember playing an acoustic show in Napoli, Italy for the Frontiers conference , that was very nerve wracking but to play the song stripped down was a real challenge and we had a lot of fun doing it.

You have three great track credits on “The Storm” and you’re gradually spreading your wings in terms of song writing. How much have you learned on this from the last few years and how well do you feel the creative juices flowing right now?

I love song writing and those 3 songs were some of the earliest songs in my songwriting partnership with James and Tom Martin, we come from a very similar place in music and that is we all love real songs, big ballads and dark edged stadium rockers. I have always written songs and had the chance to work with fantastic producers and songwriters but the current situation is ideal.

It’s been quite a journey from “Fade Away” up to “Can’t Stop”. In terms of the way music is made and marketed what would you say is the biggest change you’ve noticed speaking as someone looking out from the inside?

Well it’s been a real eye opener to be honest , “Fade Away” was written and taken to FOX KIDS, my own career has been the whole process from song selection to marketing, so it’s not really noticing a change as I haven’t had another record deal before Frontiers , but more the time, effort and money that goes into putting an album out, I think the people that illegally download a record don’t really understand this.

You’re lucky enough to make a living doing something you love. What’s the best piece of advice you could give to anyone hell bent on getting signed or even just getting their music out there right now?

I wish I did make a living from it haha , but it isn’t really like that , maybe one day I hope. The best advice I could give would be to stick to the music style you love and not change to jump ship, if you believe in what you are doing from your heart you can never fail. Also surround yourself with the best musicians, songwriters and producers. Send emails to people you admire and want opportunites from and try and get a way in that way.

How about away from the microphone and full-on hectic rock star lifestyle? How do you relax when you’ve got some quality time to yourself?

Believe it or not I’m a housewife away from music but were a pretty dysfunctional little family ha, there is always music in our house and I have two dogs aswell. A chiehauha called Gizmo and a pomeranian called Shetland. To relax I love to watch movies, take the dogs for a walk, have party nights and travel, I’ve also got into indian cooking .

Finally, now “Can’t Stop” is out there, what are your plans or ambitions looking forward into 2013/14? What are you looking forward to most?

I’m really hoping I can start recording my 4th album. I have been writing songs in preperation for it but we will have to see what the guys at Frontiers think to them, Frontiers have so many talented writers it can be competitive as the quality is so high. I’m also hoping for a tour or a festival.

Issa, thanks for taking the time to talk to us gain. Have you any last words to add to leave us all wanting more?

Yes. I promise my 4th album will be amazing , you can keep upto date with everything on Issa Official on Facebook. Thank you so much for the interview and see you soon hopefully xxxxx


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