Who am I?
I'm a 24 year old (YOUNG!!!) girl from Bergen, Norway living in Sweden studying opera at a little preparatory school in Stockholm.
What do I do?
Yeah, I think you got that by now. Maybe I need a larger header!
Why do I sing opera?
Yes, well. This is how I usually tell it:
When I was twelve years old, or actually, since I was a little girl I used to sing and dance and do little performances for my mother and father or whomever that wanted to watch me, but it was when I was twelve years old that my biggest dream was to become a pop star like Christina Aguilera and my mother said to me: "Erika, I want you to take singing lessons!" I said "But Mom, Christina Aguilera doesn't take singing lessons!" (I used to belt and wail like a diva!) My mother simply said "You'll just learn to use your voice better". So I agreed to bring home the annual pamphlet that was given to us from the culture school in Bergen, which I was already a member of because I was taking piano lessons.
A year passed. I was then thirteen years of age and I arrived at my first singing lesson. My teacher told me about herself and that she was… an Opera singer.
She held a knife to my throat and FORCED me to sing opera!!!!
She more than anything inspired me.
She said I had talent.
She guided me.
She taught me everything about the music, the arias (songs) the operas they were from and their meaning.
When I was fourteen she told me that there was an extra school program called "Saturday School" that taught classical music on Saturdays. Most people would call that punishment, right!? I called it HEAVEN! I auditioned. I got in!!! I was ecstatic!!!
There, every Saturday for four years I was in music heaven! Music history, co-warm ups (sadly no co-showering!), music theory (say what now?) and just all that MASSIVE talent all around me. I felt completely out of place and yet so at home!
It wasn't long before our first performance together. I heard my fellow classmate sing an aria. I believe it was Cherubino's aria "Voi che sapete" (Or "Boys kissing Petter" as my mother so playfully sings it!) and I remember thinking to myself "She's singing opera? I'm going to sing opera!"
And that, my friends, is where it all started to blossom. This love. This passion. This intimate endearing thrill of sensual sounds and… oh, sorry! Did I mention that I'm single!? It's a common problem when you're…well it's actually just my problem apparently!!!
No, but in all seriousness. It really never seemed strange or unnatural to me to go this route. I just followed my instincts and it feels right.
xx Erika Grace
Photo: Emelie Joenniemi & Magnus Skrede