I started playing music with my dad, back in the small town of Hjørring in northern Jutland. I was very young, and I remember sitting on his lap while he played the piano. We would sit there and sing for hours, usually his favourite songs, mainly The Beatles and pop classics. He is half Swedish and my mother is Dutch, but I learned to sing in English – even before I spoke it. I couldn’t pronounce all the words, so I would just try to sing along, making up my own versions of the lyrics, but thanks to my dad, English now seems like the most musically natural language to me.I’ve always written songs in English, and I still do. He used to play in a band when he was young, but never directly encouraged me to pursue a career in music. We just played for fun, you know.
I took piano lessons, but not from my dad, I just sang with him, and then, slowly, I started playing by myself and writing my own stuff. As a teenager I would spend my all spare time writing and playing music. I didn’t really think about it being different from what other teenagers spent their time doing, I just enjoyed it. Never desiring to perform in front of my peers. In fact, I was extremely private and secretive about it. I didn’t want anyone to hear my songs! I remember this one time, my grandparents stood there, hiding behind the door to my bedroom, listening to me playing. I hated that! I got so mad. If I noticed people lurking behind the door, or if someone would barge in, I would immediately stop.
As a kid, I loved showing off and performing in front of people. I was extremely outgoing. I just wouldn’t stop talking. Then, as a teenager, I became more self-conscious and reluctant, which I suppose is very common. You are in a process of becoming aware of who you are as an individual and in relation to other people, so you just become more reserved.
Today I embody elements of how I was a child as well as how I was when I was a teenager. When I write songs, for example, I have to be alone. I can’t write if I’m around other people. It was like that when I was a kid too. It’s always been a solitary activity for me. Being alone, without disturbances and too much noise and having a couple of instruments around, I just forget everything. Time passes, but I don’t even notice. It’s like entering a bubble, where I can be creative and just forget myself, not paying attention to anything around me.