Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As long as I can remember I’ve been involved with music. It’s always been my career path, never seriously even thought of doing anything else for living. I’ve been working professionally as a vocalist, pianist, songwriter, composer and arranger for about 25 years.

At the moment I reside in New York City. I visited the city for the first time almost 20 years ago, and I’ll probably never forget the feeling as I climbed up from the subway to the streets of Manhattan. The vibe of the city just totally got me, instantly! Since then my big dream has been to be able to live and work here at least part-time, and now I’m finally living out that dream. I made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point and  I’m happy I did!

My story in short

I come from a music-loving family. As a child I played piano and oboe, sang in the school choir and vocal ensembles and started doing performances fairly young. I’ve always been intrigued by rich harmonies and when my music teacher taught me how to play some more advanced chords on the piano, I was forever hooked. I would listen to all kinds of popular music and learn to play the harmonies on my own. Singing always felt like the thing that best reflects my identity as a musician though, so I learned to accompany my singing with piano.

I started writing songs as a teenager with my cousins. It was pretty ambitious work for me already then and I really wanted to get better at it and yearned to get more and more experience all the time. In high school I got seriously into jazz music and studied it for many years. In 2001 I won the “Lady Summertime” – International Jazz Singer Contest and for a long time I wanted to be acknowledged specifically as a jazz singer. Nowadays I think of myself more as a singer-songwriter with influences from pop, jazz and soul.

My career path has taken me working a lot with theatre as a composer and arranger as well as acting on stage – always having to do with music somehow. I’m forever grateful for getting in touch with theatre, it saved my life! There’s so much more depth and understanding of life that I got from doing theatre. It has helped with everything in music – being a better interpreter of songs, writing more meaningful songs, gaining overall comprehension of balance in everything.

I’ve been fortunate having had such a versatile career path. I have released three solo albums which consist of my original songs, lyrics and music, and that path has naturally always been the dearest to me. And now I’m super excited for the release of my fourth solo album “Speechless” which is out in February 2022.

Alongside my solo career I’ve been featuring as a vocal soloist with numerous ensembles and groups, both live and on record. I’ve toured the world with various groups and performed at huge concert halls as well as tiny clubs. For many years I was part of Club For Five, which is one of the most successful vocal ensembles in Finland. With Club For Five I’ve been to China many times and got to walk and sing on the Great Wall of China and perform at Miss China Pageant for 100 million TV-viewers. Great memories!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now?

Yes! I’m always working on something exciting. Right now my big thing is the new album “Speechless” which is released February 4th. Two singles – “Down” and “When It’s All Over” have already been released with music videos as well. I have record release concerts scheduled in Helsinki on February 12th at Koko Jazz Club, and in New York City at Rockwood Music Hall on March 2nd.

I wrote many of the songs during the deepest lockdown of the pandemic in wintery New York in 2020. The album is going to be a bonafide singer-songwriter-album – I myself like to describe the music as “Carole King” of the 2000’s. Well, actually I think it just sounds like me!

Also I’m super-excited about being chosen as “Performer of the Year by Finlandia Foundation National which will send me out on a tour in the United States in 2022.

One very important project is also my Livestream Concert Series called “Love Boat”. Since the pandemic started, I’ve had some 40 concerts on my social media platforms. It has been an absolute life-saver! When  it was totally impossible to do live gigs, this concert series kept me going. People send me requests and I carry them out as unique versions. I’ve had different theme concerts like “Power Songs”, “Summer Show”, “Tribute to The Beatles”, “Gospel” and so on. The live scene is opening up, but I’m still continuing the series as many of us are still not able to attend live shows for different reasons. “Love Boat” has been a win-win-concept for the pandemic time: it keeps me in working condition and brings live music to people!

Can you share a story about the funniest/saddest/ most embarrassing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I honestly don’t remember one catastrophic mistake that would stand out, but I can tell you that mistakes happen all the time. Things don’t go as you’ve planned or something totally unexpected happens – technically or emotionally. It’s how you handle the mistake, that matters. You just got to keep going. I always say – keeping the “poker face” is one of the most important tools for a professional performer!

Can’t let the mistakes take the best of you, and also you can’t start dreading them. Because they are always there. During the pandemic doing my livestream series, I’ve had to learn a lot of new things technical-wise as I have to be the sound engineer at the same time. There have been many hilarious moments like forgetting to plug a certain tiny cable that enables the whole sound system to be used etc…

If I look back at when I was starting, I would say I was maybe a bit too serious about everything, being so devoted of course. But I’ve learned to ease up!!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began working as a creative person/musician?

There are so many interesting and exciting things that have happened during my career so far. Many of them have to do with traveling and touring like performing at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London, The Raffles Hotel in Singapore, The Hong Kong A Cappella Festival, Rockwood Music Hall in New York… Or it could have been when I was invited to perform at the Finnish Independence Day Reception in the Presidential Palace. On the other hand performing at private events, parties, weddings and funerals have a special deep meaning to me. Also I’ve had a number of interesting sessions at the studio doing vocals for various intriguing projects and recordings.

I still expect to have lots and lots of enthrilling experiences on my path!

What do you think makes you/your music stand out? Can you share a story?

I would say my music stands out because of my vocals and because my songs are very approachable with gently philosophical lyrics and recognizable, yet unique musical style. Telling a story and communicating an emotion or meaning is the most important thing to me.

What advice would you give to other musicians to help their career to thrive?

My advice is always work hard, work hard!

That might include learning to master your instrument whether it’s songwriting, producing, singing, or playing. And learning to master it in your unique style and take that to the max. It’s not something you can learn from the books necessarily. Get to know the right people, network, and be open to new collaborations but be true to yourself of course. Live life to the full and use it in your work.

What advice would you give to other female musicians about the best way to manage their career?

Don’t get stuck with genders. Be a human being. If you know what you’re doing and you master your field, it really shouldn’t matter. If someone makes “the eyes” as your being a female – go somewhere else!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Love yourself first, then you can love others.

Be kind – you never know what the other person is going through.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to meet Alicia Keys. She’s a New York-inspiration to me. Such a beautiful songwriter and person.

Eeppi Ursin Links:

DOWN music video

WHEN IT’S ALL OVER – music video