Nina Persson is a singer who never dreamt of becoming a rock star. That aside, she still managed to become an important part of Sweden's international music success story. And now, after four albums with The Cardigans, Nina's notoriety extended even further with the release of her debut solo album, A Camp, in August and seductive first single, 'I Can Buy You'.
Produced by Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, A Camp exhibits Mark's first work as a producer apart from that of his own music. Intriguingly, Nina's debut was recorded once previously with Niclas Frisk (Atomic Swing) before she teamed up with Mark. He also contributed to several of the songs that appear on the re-recorded version of the album. Nina and Niclas met in a bar one evening and when their conversation turned to music, they discovered a mutual appreciation for the same records.
This discussion eventually resulted in the pair writing and recording some songs together. These songs, alongside Nina's later individual contributions, songs for which she is guiltily brimming with pride, formed the repertoire for what was to become A Camp. "The first recording, the one Niclas and I did, felt dated in some ways. We did it several years ago. It was the meeting of two depressed people and that showed in the music. I wanted to give the songs a more uplifting feel, therefore we decided to re-record the album," explains Nina.
Her dream choice of producer was none-other-than Mark Linkous. The first time Nina heard Sparklehorse, she was hooked and refers to them as "the best I've ever heard". After one of their gigs in Lund, Sweden, Nina gave Mark a cassette of all the old A Camp songs. When they met again during the recording of his most recent album, Nina mustered the courage to invite him to produce her project. Mark listened, liked the songs and said yes.
With A Camp, Nina has also grown into her role as a musician. She is the girl who has always liked music, but has never looked for stardom deliberately. Nina describes herself as a typical 'girl listener' who can listen to lyrics until she gets goosebumps or falls asleep with the headphones on. It took a long time before she referred to herself as a singer and even longer until she was brave enough to call herself musician for fear of sounding pretentious.
"I think it has strengthened me to make my own album. Music is my job now and this album is my own creation. I've become more sure of myself." When asked about her solo career versus life in a band, Nina replied, "The Cardigans is my family...as important to me as my biological family. It is as it is with parents, you can't live without them, but you don't want to live with them all the time either. Recently, we all met up in Los Angeles, stayed in a house on the beach for a week and realised that it is fun to continue being a band."