Exclusive Interview with Swedish Singer-Songwriter Börni
Born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland, singer, songwriter, producer and performer Börni is re-emerging to the music scene with a fresh new sound and voice. Inspired by the struggles that those with big dreams go through, her new single “New Heights” explores what is possible when you don’t give up and chase after your dreams to fruition.
I got the chance to talk to her about the music scene in Switzerland, her musical influences, her single “New Heights” and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m an artist, born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland, where I found my passion for music at just three years old when I began singing and playing the violin, soon also turning to the piano and guitar. Throughout my adolescence, I sang in gospel choirs, wrote and performed my own songs in my first garage band, and quickly learned how to perform and entertain an audience. When I was older, I was discovered on a TV show called Music Star, and that led to a record deal and a couple of albums with Sony Music. And not so long ago, moving to the states I found my passion for music production and can now bring all these experiences into my songs.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I started singing in the children’s choir of the prestigious Zürich Opera House when I was 7 years old. Being on stage every week, I was discovered by the leaders and recommended when the management of Celine Dion was looking for 6 children to sing with her. I was honored and super nervous back then. Singing in a stadium with an icon like Celine taught me that there are no limits to what you can achieve in life if you have a great talent and something to say. It also taught me deep gratitude to how beautiful it is that so many people would come to hear someone’s music and everyone shared this wonderful moment together. So, that was the course-setting highlight in my life.
You are from Switzerland – what’s the music scene like there? How much does it play a role in the music you create, whether it be references in the lyrics or just the overall sound of your music?
Swiss people are very diligent, perseverant, and humble. These principles are definitely influences in my lyrics and my approach when writing songs. The American lifestyle, on the other hand, taught me to dream bigger and think outside the box. The mixture between both Swiss and American culture has led me to who I am today, the music I’m presenting today, and what I am excited about.
For a while, you created an American brand and alter-ego known as Vava Voom and released your music under that name and just recently decided to go by your true name Börni. Why make the change?
Growing up as the cool friend who hangs around with the boys and was influenced by three brothers, I also developed a girly side that most of the time didn’t shine through so much. In exploring this side more, my alter ego Vava Voom got her time to shine. Finding my true self in both sides makes me Börni, and it illustrates my true character.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music so if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I think it’s a unique new sound with fresh futuristic notes blended with underlying heavy beat influences. I just want to convey some sort of relatable feeling, and hopefully, lyrics that they can be inspired by and melodies they can sing to.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
Mostly my team and the people around me like the Page Brothers, Jason Panniell, and Synematik, since they fought me how to produce and pushed me to become better and better at creating and writing songs. But in general, I’ve always been curious about all types of music and was never afraid to try them. Anything from classical to Rock to Pop to Alt to Urban, I’d find what I loved about it and use that in my own development. That curiosity led me to the sound I have today, which is a fusion of all my favorite inspirations. The hip-hop influence is definitely noticeable in New Heights. More specifically, it’s a sort of long rotating list. But I would say currently it’s Sia, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and a few more.
Your most recent single is “New Heights”. What’s it about?
I wrote the song with Synematik, Taylor Hill, and Lucius Page from the PageBrothers. We thought about what it took us to get to the point we were, at the time. We all faced major obstacles and challenges in life and overcame them when it would’ve been so easy to just give up. We kept pushing and remained focused on making progress in all our lives. And that’s what the lyrics are about. New Heights was inspired by the struggles that I or anyone else who has a dream goes through. Those struggles either make you or break you, and New Heights is about what is possible when you don’t give up.
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed ”New Heights” or did the idea just come about organically once you were in the session?
For me, the music usually translates a certain feeling. It will decide the mood of what the topic will be, for sure. Most of the time the lyrics will be about something I’ve experienced myself or possibly others or the world in the current state, and then I’ll go from there. I don’t think I’ve ever started with lyrics before I had the melody. But I would write down topics, and when the right music was there, I would pull the ideas back up. The “New Heights” session was definitely one of those situations.
Was there any major changes made to “New Heights” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Synematik, the producer of “New Heights”, came up with really dope melodies and the beat, then when we added drums to it, we already knew we were on to something. Since this was a topic we all felt strongly about, we made sure that we would pull off the lyrics right the first time. So there where no major changes made to the song afterward. Just lots of revisions to make sure it was right. And then in almost every song while recording there is always one line that Synematik would wanna change to lift the song to the next level. Its already a thing and we start laughing when he finds his line :-)) In the end, the product is always better so its great he does it.
I know these are weird, uncharted waters and there’s a lot of uncertainty and plans being re-arranged/canceled/etc. But what can fans expect from you in the next few weeks/months? Are you planning to release more music?
New music with great energy and fun cool visuals, waiting to be heard and seen. I am stunned and excited to put out this new music for not only me but everybody that worked on it. We would love for you to listen to these amazing songs and hopefully inspire you and give you a great time of enjoyment and fun, especially in this time of uncertainty.
I definitely was intending to perform my new music in Europe as well as in the states. But until that’s possible in an environment where it’s safe for everyone, we’ll stick to releasing more music and visuals and also find new ways to interact with fans!
Last question — 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 did an apprenticeship on IT, so I am constantly nerding out on technical stuff. Like finding new plugins for not only music but video and photo material. Or how to build my website and all of that. I love it so much, and I believe being a little nerdy is awesome! It just means that you’re doing things a bit differently than others, and you’re spending time with something that you love to do and evolve in it. That to me is always inspiring.
Make sure you visit Börni’s website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.