Meja

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For other uses, see Meja (disambiguation).
Meja
Meja Beckman at the National Day celebrations 2009.jpg
Background information
Birth name Anna Pernilla Torndahl
Born (1969-02-12) February 12, 1969 (age 45)
Sodertalje, Sweden
Origin Sweden
Genres Pop, pop rock, jazz
Occupations singer
Instruments Vocals
Guitar
Years active 1992–present
Labels C2/Columbia Records/Sony Music/Seven Sisters Network Records[1]
Website meja.net

Meja (born Anna Pernilla Torndahl, Nynäshamn, Stockholm County), is a Swedish composer, artist and singer. Among her best known songs are "I'm Missing You","All 'Bout the Money" and "Private Emotion" (duet with Ricky Martin). She also gained popularity after her single "How Crazy Are You?" was used as the main theme music for the Xbox video game Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.

Prior to her solo career, Meja was a part of the dance group Legacy of Sound in the early 1990s where she co-wrote the songs with Anders Bagge on several singles including the top 10 hit "Happy".

Meja released her new single ”Blame It On The Shadows”, on September 20, 2013 and the EP ”Stroboscope Sky” will be commercially released later in 2013.

The single is written by Meja and Nicolas Gunthardt and produced by Ebbot Lundberg (former TSOOL). During 2014, Meja is ambassador for ”The Non Violence Project”.

Biography[edit]

Meja was born Anna Pernilla Torndahl. At the age of three she named herself Meja, a name that in 1976 became a legal registered Swedish name. Today hundreds of children in Sweden have been named “Meja”.

At the age of 5, Meja started writing poems, singing in choirs and acting. She had her stage debut at “Ystads City theatre” at the age of 7. She was brought up in a musical family, her grandfather, Per Lundkvist, was a composer of both classical and contemporary music and her mother, a recording artist as a child before choosing a path as a painter.

In 1986, at the age of 16, she moved to Mallorca, Spain, to study. She was introduced to American jazz trumpet player/singer Stephen Frankevich and started to take vocal lessons with singer Deborah Carter. This is when she discovered jazz and decided to focus on a music career.

Meja went to Stockholm in 1990 to pursue her ambitions. She was singing in different bands on the Stockholm night life scene, before getting out on tour as a backup singer for the Swedish group Rob n Raz DLC in 1991 featuring Lutricia McNeal and David "D-Flex" Seisay. In 1992 Meja moved to Los Angeles to continue her studies at the “The Musicians Institute” in Hollywood. She graduated from the vocal program “VIT” in late 1992 before returning to Sweden.

Legacy of Sound (1993–1995)[edit]

Meja’s career took off in 1993 with the dance project Legacy of Sound. She co-wrote with Anders Bagge (Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson etc.) and the first single, the dance floor hit "Happy" taken from the album “Holy Groove”, reached the Top 10 on Billboards Hot Dance Music/Club play and the top70 of the Hot 100. It also scored significant airplay in Canada. “Happy” was released in over 20 countries.

During these years Meja also contributed to the world's music scene by headhunting her fellow artist Robyn in a local school in Stockholm, where she was performing one of her first songs as a young girl. Meja introduced the young Robyn to her record company.

She recorded one more album with Legacy of Sound in 1994, named “Tour de Force”, with songs like “Woman in Me” that later was covered by artists Destiny's Child and Jessica Simpson.

Breakthrough as solo artist (1995–1997)[edit]

Meja left Legacy of Sound after two successful albums in search of a more pop-oriented career. In 1995 she teamed up with Swedish manager Lasse Karlsson (Ace of Base) and writer/producer Douglas Carr. The first solo album "Meja", was released in 1996, with songs like ”How Crazy Are You”, "I'm Missing You" and ”Rainbow” co-written by Billy Steinberg. Almost overnight, Meja's main market became Japan where the album sold almost 1 million and won awards, such as "Best Selling Female Artist of the Year" and "Best Pop Album". In 1997 she had her first official concert tour in Japan, “The Flower Girl Jam Tour”.

"All 'Bout the Money" (1998)[edit]

The album Seven Sisters, released in 1998, was inspired by the star cluster The Pleiades. Her success in Japan continued, with sales of over 1 million and the doors to Europe and America opened up. The song "All 'Bout the Money" was played on radio stations all around the world. Billboard magazine wrote, "All 'Bout the Money features an emotive edgy vocal and includes a specific kind of hook that always seem to stand out on the radio." The song holds a solid message of society's dependence on money to reach its goals. It reached # 1 on Billboards Border Breakers and top 10 on the European Radio top 50 chart. "Once in a while, a debut single hits you between your eyes and makes you want to do everything in your power to lend support to its success" (Billboard Mag).

US launch (1999)[edit]

Later that year Columbia (Sony) launched Meja in the U.S with the single “How Crazy Are You?” Followed by an upcoming release of her album “Seven Sisters” on Columbia’s C2 label. “Meja has made a great record, exactly the kind of songs you like to hear on a top 40 station, something up beat and happy, which lends itself to the texture of most pop stations right now” said Dennis Reese, former senior VP at C2(Billboard). Rolling Stone Magazine wrote “ Meja turns hooky social consciousness into shiny Swede-pop pleasure…”

In 1999 she received the “Best selling female Scandinavian artist” award at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo and was up for two “Grammis Galan Awards” – the Swedish equivalent of the Grammys- Feb 15, for best pop/rock female and for the prestigious song of the year. She also performed the song on the opening evening at the 33rd MIDEM trade fair in Cannes, after recently topping Music&Media's Boarder Breaker charts for six weeks and reaching No 1. Also hosting the Polar Music Prize in Cannes 2001 with winners Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

"Private Emotion" (1999)[edit]

Meja went to Miami in 1999 to record “Private Emotion”, a duet with Ricky Martin for his self-titled English language debut album, in good company with Madonna who also appeared on one track. A Billboard review says, "Martin sounds grittier and more textured than in past releases, while his duet partner Meja adds a dreamy layer of vulnerability and sweetness". The song was written by Eric Baziian and Rob Hyman and produced by Desmond Child.

Realitales (2000)[edit]

After shooting the video for “Private Emotion” in Los Angeles with director Francis Lawrence, Meja stayed to work on her next album Realitales (2000) with Billy Steinberg (Madonna, Pretenders, Celine Dion, etc.), KC Porter (Carlos Santana) Marti Frederiksen (The Cult, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne) and Maia Sharp. She also co-wrote two tracks for the album in London with Stephen Lipson (Annie Lennox, Simple Minds). The music took on a slightly more rocky approach compared to her earlier albums. The artwork for this album was shot by Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund (Madonna, U2, Metallica, Macy Gray, Moby), in the landscape of southern Sweden. The concept was to create a dream world in between reality and fairytale.

Mellow (2004)[edit]

Cover of album Mellow

In 2003 Meja started to work with former Sony Music boss, Richard Ogden. Together they explored the idea of a more organic, acoustic album inspired by Meja’s live concerts. Ogden introduced Meja to Hamish Stuart (The Average White Band), who came to produce the album Mellow recorded in London. Musicians for the album were former Simply Red drummer Gota, jazz drummer Ralph Salmins, bassist Steve Pearce and keyboard player Graham Harvey. To get the Brazilian touch of Bossa, Heitor Perreira, the great Brazilian guitarist and the London-based Brazilian percussionist, Bosco De Oliveira, were added to the team.

She got permission from Caetano Veloso, to translate the well-known Brazilian song "O Leãozinho" to her version called "Little Lion". Japanese Magazine “AD lib” wrote “Mellow is filled with soft and adult music that is indeed mellow, with the acoustic sound based on bossa nova, folk and jazz.”

The album Mellow was released in 2004, with songs in both Portuguese ("Água de Beber", "Dindi") and Spanish. Swedish national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet wrote:

“When Meja’s voice is captured in the jazz frame it can't get any better, like in “Red Light” where her scent of pop cuts against the piano and a Miles Davies style cool trumpet.”

NU Essential (2005)[edit]

Sony Music Japan released NU Essential in 2005. An album that captures Meja’s success in Japan over almost 10 years.

Urban Gypsy (2009)[edit]

In 2006 Meja went back to Los Angeles to begin the writing and recording of her new album. She continued her over 10-year collaboration with Billy Steinberg, and also adding new writers such as Jeff Barry, Billy Gibbons, Jed Leiber and Boz Boorer (Morrisey). The first single "At the Rainbow's End" was released in June, second single "Regrets (I Have None)" - in August, and the album Urban Gypsy was released on her own label Seven Sisters Network in October 2009 on a license deal with Sony Music. A remix of "Mando Diaos" ("Dance with Somebody") was released early 2010.

AniMeja (2010)[edit]

As a tribute to the Japanese Studio Ghibli, Meja released an album where she covered soundtracks from their movies for Japan only. The album became a hit and was followed by a successful tour in October 2010, where Meja, for the first time in almost 10 years came back to Japan to meet her fans.

Discography[edit]

Album[edit]

  • Holy Groove (Legacy of Sound) (1993)
  • Tour de Force (Legacy of Sound) (1994)
  • Meja (1996) (Certifications #JAP:Platinum)
  • Live in Japan-The Flower Girl Jam (1997)
  • Seven Sisters (1998)(Certifications #JAP:3x Platinum)
  • Realitales (2000) (Certifications #JAP:Gold)
  • My Best (2002) (Certifications #JAP:Gold)
  • Mellow (2004)
  • The Nu Essential (2005)
  • Urban Gypsy (2009)
  • AniMeja (2010)
  • Original Album Collection (2010)

Singles[edit]

  • "Happy" (Legacy of Sound) (1993)
  • "I Can't Let You Go" (Legacy of Sound) (1993)
  • "Feels So Good" (Legacy of Sound) (1993)
  • "Woman in Me" (Legacy of Sound) (1994)
  • "Livin'n Learnin'" (Legacy of Sound) (1994)
  • "I'm Missing You" (1996)
  • "How Crazy Are You?" (1996)
  • "Welcome to the Fanclub of Love" (1996)
  • "I Wanna Make Love" (1996)
  • "Rainbow" (1996)
  • "Pop & Television" (1998)
  • "All 'Bout the Money" (1998)
  • "Lay Me Down" (1998)
  • "Beautiful Girl" (1998)
  • "Radio Radio" (1998)
  • "Intimacy" (1999)
  • "Private Emotion" (Duet with Ricky Martin) (2000)
  • "Spirits" (2000)
  • "Hippies in the 60's" (2000)
  • "I'm Here Saying Nothing" (2001)
  • "Wake Up Call" (2004)
  • "Life is a River" (2004)
  • "At the Rainbows End" (2009)
  • "Regrets (I Have None)" (2009)
  • "Dance with Somebody" (2010)
  • "Totoro" (2010)
  • "Blame It On the Shadows" (2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 

External links[edit]