Ane Brun: “Getting the brain working a little.” Interview by Ruth Bailey


Ane Brun. When at home, she’s a Norwegian-national living the majority of her time, in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2016 she celebrated her 40th birthday which for any single, young female could be viewed as a significant milestone and for Brun from her Stockholm apartment chatting to Cyclic, she’s contemplative when reflecting on her accomplishments – which includes seven self-released studio albums, with the most recent, ‘When I’m free’ released in 2015.

“Well I feel I’ve had a little bit of time to stop and think. I feel very very proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I’ve had a career that has been going since 2003 and I’ve always released things on my own label and with that I’m very very happy with where I’ve come, I shall continue as I’ve always done, to follow my heart and my guts and build slowly, which I’ve done all the time, it’s very sustainable way of working.”

Recently returned from touring, when she’s at home Brun has brought balance to her daily life by pursuing both the usual conventions and not so usual, friends, music and suprisingly, academia.

“Either I’m here at home, working or at my studio working. I have meetings. I see friends, I’ve got a lot of good friends here. Kind of like my family away from home and I’ve just started this year, studying in university.”

The course in post-colonialism theory and history Brun volunteers is very interesting and she’s very happy that she selected it, despite its heavy content.

“I’m doing it part time, to get my brain working a little. I used to study a lot before I became an artist, I was an academic for years, and I kind of missed it so much that now I have the time to be here and to go to lectures.”

As a musician and artist her range is wide. Penning original lyrics supported by her hauntingly stylish Scandi vocals, she is also renowned for her ‘Rarities’ compilations – interpretations of well known songs from modern and older artists alike. Her reason for doing these covers quite simply, that it’s fun.

“People forget that the big artists from the 50s and 60s they always did covers, it’s not a new thing, she remarks.

“It’s like Nina Simone did covers, even though she wrote her own music, I love singing and interpreting music, it keeps my creativity going – to pick up songs and try and make them my own,” she adds.

It came as no surprise that this songbird was chosen to honour the inimitable Bob Dylan in a presentation in Sweden last month. Her covers have stretched so far as to feature Dylan’s work and with the concert performance held on the 15th December Brun shone with her rendition of ‘She belongs to me’.

She disclosed her relief that Dylan wouldn’t be in attendance for the fact she might get stage fright, to the ceremony honouring him for his recent Nobel prize accolades.

“Bob Dylan won the Nobel prize for Literature and there is going to be a concert in a couple of weeks for him and then I’m looking forward to going back on tour early next year.” She says stifling a yawn.

Indeed, Brun is touring in 2017, including next month to Australian shores courtesy of The Sydney Festival organisers, and she is circumspect about what might take place Down Under.

“It’s January. From the very short time I have spent in Australia (WomAdelaide, 2014) I got this feeling of having a very good atmosphere and very kind people and very nice food and I’m looking forward to Sydney and also Melbourne, [Brisbane] being there and feeling the atmosphere of those cities.”

When asked if she plans to write a new album based on these experiences of travelling to farest parts of the world (following Australia she will return to the north of Norway to play with an orchestra there) she’s elusive about what might evolve.

“It depends if something happens to me. I don’t really write about – if something happens in here (pointing to her head) then I’ll explore.”

Though she is fairly confident a new album will eventuate in 2017 she’s mindful of her abilities to always innovate her live performances with a combination of old and new sounds.

“I’ve toured my older albums for years. I mix them with older songs and my tours are so different, I do gigs with big bands and this one is just me solo, I put new energy into the songs new settings all the time.”

Australian Tour January 2017.
Sydney : January 7 – City Recital Hall as part of Sydney Festival
Brisbane: January 9 – QPAC Concert Hall
Melbourne: January 11 – Hamer Hall


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I find myself in a 'looping state of mind' more often than not.