Marianne Sveen’s writing process took a new turn when her daughter Fia became seriously ill.
For several years after the release of Katzenjammer in 2015, she wrote songs about relatives, inspired by her job as a nurse at a psychiatric institution. However, the daughter’s illness puts the solo debut on hold, but after repeated delays, “Next Of Kin” finally comes from the ex-member of Norway’s acclaimed band, Katzenjammer.
But it has cost both time and tears.
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– Specifically, I’ve been doing this since 2015. There were a lot of songs that built up over time with Katzenjammer, but that did not fit. That was the biggest reason why I wanted to get out, says Marianne Sveen.
She felt that the music she had on the inside was too different from the music she played outside with Katzenjammer. At the same time, she looked around for a new job. She had to earn money to complete the record. The solution was night shifts in a psychiatric ward.
– I had bad experience with nursing practice psychiatry, so I did not think I would thrive. But I found it great, I was so touched by working so closely with people with such strong stories to tell, she says.
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– The encounter with this made me reflect on the definition of and the different aspects of someone’s neighbor. I threw away everything I had written until then and started over!
The reflections eventually became stories and texts. Her thoughts revolved mainly around what kind of relationship many have with their own, closest relatives.
– They should be the safest place in the world, but for many it is not. For some, the neighbors are the worst thing you have ever experienced. In a way, I think maybe we should define what it means to be a close relative, get more involved and dare to talk about things that are also hurtful, she thinks.
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With a family and circle of relatives who have always been there for her, Marianne Sveen discovered that the opposite was widespread than she had imagined.
– It’s pretty frustrating to sit on the sidelines and hear stories where you think about what could have happened if you had had the chance to intervene earlier. These also deserve to be heard.
She describes the album “Next Of Kin” as a “landscape with mountain peaks where everyone (the songs) stand for themselves”. Actually, it should have been much earlier, but then the daughter Fia was diagnosed with leukemia.
– Everything was actually ready when Fia got sick, but then we put everything else on pause. It was important to me that this record should not be about me, that you should not get the feeling of a retired pop diva with self-centered lyrics, says Sveen.
One song still crept in. “Airly Merrily” is about the daughter, “about me and mine,” as she puts it. Where she is not an outside spectator like on the rest of the record, because suddenly she, her cohabitant and her son were also relatives.
– I tried to go to the places in my heart that I had written from then until then to try to continue with the record project, but there it was suddenly busy. Many big and difficult things stood in the way. The song about her had to come out, it was too hard not to do. And I saw that it fit well with the other songs, she says.
Via was only two and a half years old when she became ill three years ago. A very harsh treatment with chemotherapy did not break her mood, even though she experienced common side effects such as severe nausea, wounds and hair loss.
Via was declared healthy in April, but had a relapse this summer. Of course you will be very scared, it was a few weeks of total shock and despair. Everything else is subordinate, we felt we were about to lose her, says Marianne Sveen and looks forward, perhaps to her cohabitant and Fia’s father Markus.
– For some, leading crises to distance in close relationships, but we have only linked the bonds more closely with each other. We should have been married on a Sunday a week ago, I suggested to him two weeks before Fia got sick. We have postponed that time, and we are postponing again – we must do this well, she must be a bridesmaid!
The thought brings the smile back to Marianne Sveen.
– Via is but a ray of sunshine. She is the one who runs with jokes that she no longer has long, blond hair. That she now looks like Uncle Magnus. It means a lot to think that Fia is not afraid that she might not get so old, that she is not afraid to die. We are the ones who are afraid of it.