In 2010 Cecilie Anna attended a magnificent concert with Will Oldham a.k.a Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Following night she made “Big Man” for his voice.
Cecilie Anna writes songs that fall into many different categories of music. This autumn she’s releasing her third album “New Bird”. Her two previous albums ‘Going North’ (with her band Familieforetaket) and ‘I’m Here’ (solo) were released in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Cecilie Anna mostly composes the music score for her songs in her head. It emerges mostly at night, when the house is quiet, as lots of thoughts are running through her head. That’s when she works on her chords, melodies and lyrics, and she can kind of hear different arrangements in her head; the band, horn and string sections, backing vocals, harmonies and such. It’s a busy and fruitful inner world, and she’s very grateful that she’s able to experience it.
She also writes songs for other artists, such as Vidar Vedå and Endre Olsen (whose vocals can be found on their first album) as well as Trond Leon, Anne Gjerstad, Ragnhild Kambo Grov, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Will Oldham, Jeff Tweedy, Bill Callahan and Joe Henry. It’s a long list. And a little while ago she actually received an email from Joe Henry. A mutual friend had sent him the song ‘Old Love’ from her solo album, a song she had written for his voice about ten years previously. He was incredibly touched and thought the song was beautiful. That was a great moment for Cecilie Anna.
‘Follow You’ is the first single from her upcoming album “New Bird”. It was released Friday 28. June inspired by Endre’s voice. For many years they have taken part in a Christmas jamming session (Jurtappen) at a derelict barn in Hodnaland, and each time Endre sings the wonderful song ‘Take Care of All My Children’ by Tom Waits. He sings it so beautifully, and every year Cecilie Anna really want to write a similar song especially for his voice. Tom Waits’ song is a little hymnic, just like ‘Follow You’, and after the most recent Jurtapp she finally managed to do it. She actually made the song walking home, sent it to Endre, and he loved it. He sent back a recording from his mobile phone which was very touching for Cecilie Anna to hear.
She can’t expect all these people like Endre, Tom Waits etc. to simply drop everything else they are working on just to record her songs (which of course they should!). However, she can sing them herself, and other versions of them could be released by other artists at a later date.
The songs on Cecilie Anna’s latest album provide a good cross-section of the type of music she typically writes, which can roughly be categorized into three groups: songs for other people’s voices, tributes to other artists, and songs dedicated to family and friends; people she cares about. ‘Dear David’, was written for a friend who sadly passed away last summer. She started writing almost immediately after she heard the sad news. Not long after, a gospel choir came into her head. Pretty intense. Imagine having a gospel choir inside your head every night for six months! Cecilie Anna asked some of her musician friends to join, and they gathered at Gisle Østrems house, where all of Cecilie Anna’s recordings are being done. Six voices, having layered multiple vocals on top of each other, made Cecilie Annas gospel choir come true.
Just like people can be captured by music, and it can live inside them for many years, Cecilie Anna can be captured by singing voices. They become part of her inner landscape, and she creates songs for them. The voices can belong to people she knows or to famous artists. In Cecilie Anna’s world, no voice is bigger than any other, and it really is a dream come true for her to hear the songs be sung by the right voice. She has written songs for friends and fellow musicians such as Endre Olsen, Trond Leon, Ragnhild Kambo and Vidar Vedå, as well as famous artists such as Bill Callahan, Tom Waits and Joe Henry. The plan is to record and release as many of these songs as possible.
It’s not that easy to get in touch with some of the more famous voices she’s written songs for, and so she has recorded some of them herself. 'Morning Star' (written for Bill Callahan) and 'Old Love' (written for Joe Henry) are included on Cecilie Anna’s latest album 'I’m Here'. These songs are now drifting in the atmosphere, and perhaps one day they will be found. If you listen to these songs, and especially if you’re a fan of Bill or Joe, you can probably recognise the paths of their voices. It’s like they have their own private garden.