Exclusive Interview with Actress/Singer Frida Farrell

Frida Farrell is an award-winning actor and producer who recently took home the “Indie Award for Best Picture” at Raindance in London, UK for her feature film Apartment 407. She also recently released the music video for “You Can’t Hurt Me No More,” which serves as the title track to Apartment 407. While the film is the true story of the events that changed her life, the song is the aftermath of that tragic story, which in Farrell’s experience is surviving sex trafficking. The video is an emotional look at the harrowing experience that changed her life, featuring gut-wrenching flashbacks pulled from the film itself. Each flashback is a disturbing glimpse into the darkness she had to endure. Juxtaposed between this tragic and painful ordeal, you see Farrell begin to rise from the ashes of her past through strength and determination. On this heartbreaking ballad about moving forward after the worst happens, Farrell is a beacon of hope for other survivors, that they too can come out on the other side stronger than they were before. 

I got the chance to talk to her about how she first got into the world of the arts, whether or not opening up and sharing her story is hard or cathartic or both, the songwriting process for “You Can’t Hurt Me No More” and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!

Tell me a little bit about how you first got into the world of the arts.

I was very young, six years old to be precise. My grandmother took me to the opera and I fell in love. I was overwhelmed by how their voices would tear straight through my heart. I remember thinking that I wish I could do what they were doing. I started singing in a choir and joined a small theatre group. I continued doing this for the next 20 years. It’s only been the last 8 years where I started writing my own music and performing and recording it. Sometimes it takes a lot longer then you had originally anticipated…but better late than never.

I want to ask you about your independent film, Apartment 407. What made you want to tell your story in that medium?

We were going back and forth for quite some time about how to tell my story: write a book, make a documentary, or make a compelling film of it. And in the end we chose to make a feature film. Firstly, film and television is the only medium I’ve ever worked in. I’ve never written a book and I’ve never made a documentary. So I didn’t even know where to start if we went down that route. Secondly, I wanted to reach a mixture of an audience, both young and old. Unfortunately I feel that the younger audience doesn’t spend as much time watching documentaries and reading books. Very sad. So we ended up doing it in the medium we thought could reach the largest audience.

Do you find that opening up and sharing your story is hard or cathartic or both?

I still find it very difficult to talk about but the response from women who have seen my film all over North America and Canada has been extremely cathartic. That makes me feel I’m doing the right thing by sharing my story.

What came first, Apartment 407 or your song “You Can’t Hurt Me No More”?

The film came first. I wrote the song about 5 years ago and by then the film was already shot and edited. But I didn’t think, or rather, didn’t dare to think of putting the song at the end of the film. I’m not that confident. It was a producer that came on late in the editing process that pushed me to do it. And when I say pushed I mean she wasn’t backing down until the song was there.

What was your songwriting process like for this song specifically?

It came to me fast, like most songs that “work” do. They just fall into my head and this song did the same. I wrote it and then hid it away. I didn’t share or tell anyone about it because I felt it was almost too personal. But about 6 months later, I was sent a piece of music from the producer I work with, Frank Kirstein, and thought these lyrics will fit really good here.

Was there any major changes made to “You Can’t Hurt Me No More” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?

The song actually sounded very different to start with. It had a steady beat and was quite metallic and harsh sounding. The version we released was changed to fit the feel of the movie. We recorded the other one too and will probably release that one soon as well. It’s always fun to hear different versions of the same song.

What was the process of shooting your music video for “You Can’t Hurt Me No More” like? How did it differ from telling your story via the video medium in Apartment 407 ?

We hired a loft in DTLA that looked bare and raw to fit the mood of the song and the lyrics. But we couldn’t really afford to have it for longer than 3 hours, so after setting everything up we only had about 2 hours to shoot. About one hour into the shoot, one off the main lights fell on my head. Not only did it nearly knock me out but also we had no replacement light so that was it. We only managed to shoot for 1 hour. I’m just so glad we got enough material and had an amazing editor to actually finish the video. Super grateful.

What other projects are you working on right now? Any plans to release an EP or a full-length album in 2020?

I’m looking to release two more singles and then my first EP sometime in May. Unless I get to impatient and just release one more single now in January and then straight to the EP in March… I can’t decide yet.

Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?

I’m quite a big nerd so it’s hard for me to pick out one thing I’m particularly nerding out about, but here’s a few. I try and read only good news in the evening so that my poor little brain that’s been overloaded with bad news all day can get a rest. Like I’m going out of my way to find beautiful animal rescue stories etc. I love playing brain exercise app games on my phone, Sudoku, Wordscapes, Woody etc. And I’ve just become a vegan, (yes, I watched The Game Changers) so I’m big time nerding out about cool vegan recipes or yummy smoothies and stuff. I’m just completely over harming any more animals. So over it.

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