»Lyrics can be tricky!« Emma Elisabeth sound so.

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Ich bin etwas früh dran, als ich an diesem Mittwochabend am Treptower Park ankomme, um Betty zu treffen. Einen genauen Ort haben wir nicht ausgemacht, also gehe ich raus aus der S-Bahnstation und schreibe ihr, dass ich an der Bushaltestelle auf sie warte, »Rote Haare und Sonnenbrille« ergänze ich, nur zur Sicherheit. »Will be there in 5 minutes!« kommt prompt zurück und ein Smiley dahinter. Sympathisch. Fünf Minuten später gehen wir Seite an Seite durch den Park, holen uns etwas zu trinken, setzen uns an die Spree, in die Sonne, und sind schon mitten im Gespräch. Betty, eigentlich Emma Elisabeth, kommt aus Schweden, aus der Nähe von Malmö. Seit sechs Jahren lebt sie in Berlin, musikalisch ist sie allerdings schon viel länger unterwegs…

Why do you make music?

Betty: Basically, I never even thought about it. It has always just been like that. My parents do music and we used to play at home. They put me into a choir when I was five and I started playing piano and flute and guitar and I always sang a lot it school. I started writing when I was 16, terrible songs (laughing), but that was the point, I really got into music. And after school I just continued. I studied Music in Stockholm and I started working with a lot of people in different projects and one thing just came to the next.

Have you ever thought of doing anything else?

Betty: No! Not really. I had some other jobs but mostly they also had something to do with creativity and music. Like I gave music lessons to kids for example.

Is there something you do in Berlin besides your own music?

Betty: I do a lot of songwriting together with other people and also for other people, and I teach a bit. As musician you have to be kind of flexible and I think, it helps to have some different projects to make your way. It´s a nice compensation to your own music and it´s inspiration too.

Do you write the lyrics yourself?

Betty: Mostly I write the lyrics myself because the things I want to sing about are always very personal. So as it´s my music, it has to be my lyrics. But sometimes I write together with someone else, just throwing ideas back and forth. But I have to feel connected to the lyrics. It took a long time for me to write songs that really feel sincere. I´s not that easy to find your voice. I found mine while I went through my first breakup, thereby I started to write for real.

What comes first when you write a song, the melody or the lyrics?

Betty: Usually I write the melody first. I play some chords and make a melody out of it. And then I write the lyrics. Sometimes you can have one line and come up with the melody and I know people writing the lyrics first, but I do it the other way around. I´m very much a melody person! The main thing in my songs is the vocal melody. And lyrics can be tricky! They have to sound good, but there are a lot of words meaning cool things, but they don´t sound good.

What makes great lyrics for you besides the sound of the words?

Betty: I don´t like listening to lyrics, which try to be very clever, but I like simplicity in a clever way. Lyrics should not throw everything right in your face. They can be poetic, but they have to be written in a way everyone understands. Music has more heart than brain, so lyrics can be cheesy, but if you mean, what you´re singing, it´s just what you feel. So it´s just honest and I don´t like, when people try to work to much against that. I really enjoy that kind of honesty in lyrics.

How do you come up with the lyrics?

Betty: I gather thoughts! While I travel or just from the experience I make, the things I go through. I write down sentences or words and I go back to this little things for my lyrics. And sometimes I get ideas from movies or things like that.

What brings me to my next question: Does literature influence your writing?

Betty: Yes, it does. It can also give you pictures and feelings. Lately I´ve been reading Murakami or Bukowski and I also love to read biographies from other artists, like Patti Smith or Dolly Parton. All these stories are incredible inspiring.

What is the story behind Where Do Tears Go?

Betty: I started writing the song at night, while I was in Los Angeles. I was just singing something and basically I had the chords when I worked with a friend the next day. We finished the song together.

One day, one song?

Betty: Yes! It was one of these songs which came out quite easily. In that case the melody and the lyrics for the chorus came very simultaneously, and this sentence really stucked on me: Where do tears go when they fall. It´s like an open question. I mean, where do tears go when they fall? What happens to all this sadness when they go away? When something ends, like an emotion. It can just disappear, but what happens to it? Emotions are so strong in one moment and in another one they´re just gone and you don´t understand the situation or you dont´t understand yourself, why you even had that emotion. So you´re left with a lot of questions. It´s one and a half year ago I wrote the song and I wrote about things going on in my life in that moment, but I wasn´t really aware of it. I realized it afterwards. And that´s how it works, there is something inside of you just wanting to come out…

Is there a favorite line you like to sing in Where Do Tears Go?

Betty: There are so many! But I think, it´s the main line.

 

Where Do Tears Go – reinhören und rauslesen:

 

Tonight

I didn’t plan to answer your call

I was alright

Didn’t see it coming

I don’t get you

And I suppose I never will

No I don’t get you

But I want to

 

So would you tell me 

Where do we go when we’re dreaming?

Tell me why we’re leaving

Where do tears go when they fall?

Tell me what it’s good for

Tell me, where did we go?

Where do tears go when they’re gone?

 

Today

Everything took a different turn

Now you say

That you need a little time

I don’t know why

But there’s not much that I can do

No I don’t know why

But I’ll try

 

So would you tell me 

Where do we go when we’re dreaming?

Tell me why we’re leaving

Where do tears go when they fall?

Tell me what it’s good for

Tell me, where did we go?

Where do tears go when they’re gone?

 

I try to read you like an open book

Pages torn out, I don’t know where to look

If I wait right here maybe time will tell

It’s never gonna end up well

 

So would you tell me 

Where do we go when we’re dreaming?

Tell me why we’re leaving

Where do tears go when they fall?

Tell me what it’s good for

Tell me, where did we go?

Where do tears go when they’re gone?

 

Emma Elisabeth live: 24. August Leipzig / Pool Garden; 25. August Mannheim / Brückenaward; 28. August Potsdam / Bar Rueckholz; 2. September Berlin / Wasserfest

 

Foto: Gladsome Fotografie

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