ALMA has spent the past few years making her own brand of pop alongside regular collaborators such as Charli XCX and Tove Lo. However, recently launched new single "Cowboy" and with it something of a new sound. The neon-hued club tracks she's known for are out and, in their place, is something a little rootsier and more low-key. It's still still catchy as hell but now with a little added emotional depth.
"Cowboy" was written by ALMA between Helsinki and LA with Justin Tranter, Sarah Hudson, and BloodPop. The song is about changing scenery, fitting into new social circles, and working out who you are. Using the imagery of the track's title, ALMA is triumphant when she sings: “I’m a motherfuckin’ cowboy.”
Speaking to The FADER about the video, premiering above, ALMA stressed the importance of returning to her home country Finland to shoot. "I had three must have things for the video; I wanted to shoot it in Finland, I wanted the director to be Finnish, and I wanted the video to look like homemade movie," she said. "Everything you see is real. Finland and Finnish culture is front and centre. The cast is all my friends. We were shooting for 3 days and those days were some of the best of my career so far. I think I speak for everyone when I say It didn’t feel like we were working at all. More like shooting a fun documentary of our lives."
Read on below for a Q&A with ALMA.
What was it about the image of the cowboy that appealed to you?
I wrote it with Justin Tranter and Sarah Hudson who are my favourite songwriters to work with. We were in the studio one day and they said ‘Go freestyle!’. “I’m a motherfucking cowboy” just came out of me. I think the idea had been in my brain for a while it just needed an outlet.
I’ve spent a lot of my life being told who to be, what to say or how to behave by the world. There’s constant pressure on us all to fit in and ‘Cowboy’ is about exactly the opposite. I want my fans to feel like they can be whoever, say whatever and look however when they listen to my music. Here you are accepted no matter what.
The line "I'm never going back to that" stands out. What is you're not going back to?
It means never going back to the past, to fitting in a box. I used to suffer from a lot of anxiety when I was younger, I was bullied and lots of really difficult things happened to me. This path hasn’t been an easy one. Every day I have to remind myself why it’s so important to do this. The line just really reiterates that I’m not going to look back anymore. I won’t let anxiety beat me because my goal is bigger and the future is brighter.
You say "it took me a long time to work out who I was and what I wanted to say." Are you able to explain what those things are now?
Being an artist and living in the public eye felt a bit depressing and confusing to me at the first. There was so many ‘rules’, expectations and pressure on me to get further ahead. I never wanted to do or be those things, or copy somebody else, or sing about things that weren’t real to me. I wanted to be a rock-star on stage and look gross sometimes and wear what I wanted and make music that meant something not just shiny pop singles.
What can fans expect from the album and do you have a release date in mind?
I think if you like me as a person you will like this album. It’s a look inside my head, lots of thoughts and emotions. The good and the bad. It’s human and it’s coming early next year.
Thumbnail image courtesy of Anna Miettinen.