EDDA MAGNASON: THE SWEDISH BLUE NOTE

Article published on March 11, 2014
Article published on March 11, 2014

The singer Edda Magnason has successfully broken into cinema with the very jazzy Waltz for Monica;  a début experience which earned her an invitation to the Berlinale Festival. Meeting with an artist who knows how to share.

The pro­gramme of the day may very well be called "Eu­ro­pean shoot­ing stars", but Edda Mag­na­son is far from being a débu­tante; she knows all about in­ter­views and photo shoots. With supreme grace, she moves from one in­ter­view table to an­other and I try as best I can to open with some Swedish niceties, only for her to smile gen­tly to show that she would pre­fer to talk in Eng­lish.

All that jazz

Edda is al­ready a star in Swe­den. Her two al­bums, Edda Mag­na­son and Goods, with  jazzy tones have caused a sen­sa­tion and cast the spot­light on this clas­si­cally trained  Swedish-Ice­landic singer. So it's not re­ally sur­pris­ing to see her take on the role of late singer Mon­ica Zetter­lund for her cin­ema début. "I was ap­proached after a con­cert by a mem­ber of the au­di­ence who knew the per­son in charge of cast­ing. I then had three au­di­tions for the role. It was quite an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge be­cause Mon­ica Zetter­lund is very well-known in Swe­den," she ex­plains. The film, Waltz for Mon­ica, by the Dan­ish di­rec­tor Per Fly, fol­lows the jour­ney of the fa­mous singer from  the six­ties who con­quered the world jazz scene be­fore dying trag­i­cally some years ago. "The role in­volved act­ing and singing at the same time. Music sym­bol­ises the life and char­ac­ter of Mon­ica; I had to spend a lot of time study­ing the way she moved and sang", she says. Edda Mag­na­son also got to re­lease the film's sound­track as her third album, a re­cent suc­cess.

Trailer for Waltz for Mon­ica, di­rected by Per Fly.

"KNOW­ING HOW TO SEP­A­RATE SINGING AND ACT­ING"

The orig­i­nal ver­sion, "Mon­ica Z" be­came one of the great­est suc­cesses in Swedish cin­ema, mo­nop­o­lis­ing all the na­tional awards. Nom­i­nated a whop­ping eleven times dur­ing Guld­bagge (the Swedish equiv­a­lent of the French Césars awards or the BAF­TAs, Ed.) ear­lier this year, the film won four awards and Edda Mag­na­son won the award for best ac­tress. Edda may well be used to fame, but she still feels like she only just made it big in her ca­reer. "My music only reached an in­ter­ested au­di­ence. Now, with Mon­ica Z, I reach the masses". An ex­pe­ri­ence which has opened new doors for the Swedish singer. "Ob­vi­ously now I want to do the two (act­ing and singing), but they are two very dif­fer­ent things, and you have to know how to dis­tin­guish be­tween them." Mean­while, she has started on a new pro­ject; a mu­si­cal com­edy called "The feel­ing of going" in Malmö.

WATCH: "WALTZ FOr Mo­nica" BY Per Fly is IN CIN­E­MAS FROM 19 marCH 2014

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