Interview: Jenny Räisänen

Jenny Räisänen is a captivating new artist, creating gorgeous folky pieces of music like latest release, Arctic Fox. It’s a really beautiful piece of work, and I found myself wanting to find out more after reading a little more about Jenny’s interesting background. If you missed Arctic Fox the first time around, you can also find a stream at the end of this interview.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Arctic Fox. What can you tell us about the track?

The song started with Juhani Konttinen’s guitar riff, which reminded me of a running forest animal. Arctic foxes have always fascinated me. They live only in the north, on the tundra, and are endangered in many places. Climate change affects arctic foxes especially. The arctic fox is also symbolic. Many people may feel that they belong to a minority, and climate change also affects people.

Musically, I wanted to embody the northern and Scandinavian folk tradition and combine it with the Irish folk tradition. Juhani used a DADGAD tuning on his guitar, so I ended up using the D major pentatonic scale. In the use of my voice, I combined a stronger speaking voice and a falsetto. The whistle notes at the end will hopefully intensify the feeling of snow and ice crystals.

How has the reception to Arctic Fox been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

Out of all my publications so far, Arctic Fox is the most popular. It has received a lot of good feedback and it has also been fun to play at gigs. It has been said to be catchy, but original and interesting at the same time. The song can be found on all streaming services.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

This was my third single, so I’m focusing on my album now. The songs In A Whisper and A Bird can also be found on streaming services. All three songs are different from each other and I think they express the diversity of my music well.

Are there any plans to release an album or EP anytime soon?

Yes, my debut album is coming out later this fall. The planned publication time is in October.

Your music has a folky sound. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I’ve lived with traditional folk musicians, so I’ve been strongly influenced by that. My studies have included all styles of Afro-American music such as soul, jazz, blues, Latin, rock, pop and folk. I listen to music widely and like to combine different styles.I admire unique singer-songwriters like Tori Amos, Björk, Maria Mena, Sinéad O’Connor, Eva Cassidy, Sara Bareilles, Hozier and Lisa Hannigan.

As a child, I listened more to, for example, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. When I was young, I listened to a lot rock artists and bands like Alanis Morissette, System Of A Down and Guns N’ Roses, as well as Finnish bands.

You’re based in Ireland, but you moved here from Finland. What prompted the move? What is the local music scene like at the moment with you and how does it compare to Finland?

I like Irish music culture. I also wanted to study songwriting and Limerick had just the right studies for me. In the past, I have written songs in Finnish and released an album with the rock band Projektio and the duo Jukra. I wanted to write in English and improve my language skills. Irish music culture is closer to what I wanted. There is a strong singer-songwriter and folk tradition here. I also like several Irish artists. Live music is everywhere which is great. Finland has a strong pop music culture and there are fewer places for live music. But I definitely always carry my Scandinavian origins with pride.

You have made the change from singing in Finnish to English. Do you have any plans to return to your native tongue?

Yes, I wanted to perform and release my music internationally. Writing in English is different and gives me different opportunities. I have never given up writing in Finnish. I am in a duo called Jukra and with Jukra, we still make music in Finnish. I feel that this way I can express myself in an even more versatile way.

Do you have anything else exciting coming up this year?

This year I have more gigs planned. I have started playing as a trio with a guitarist and a violinist here in Ireland. We have played a couple of gigs together and I think the group works well. Composing relaxing music is my hobby. Let’s see if I release some songs in the near future.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

I have tentative plans but no exact dates yet.

Any last words for the fans?

Believe in yourself and your dreams, and you will walk towards the life you hope. The road is not easy, but learning to enjoy the journey makes it easier. This is how I try to act myself. Follow me on social media to get the latest news.