Forsberg performing in 2016
|Birth name||Sara Maria Forsberg|
|Also known as||
2 May 1994 |
Sara Maria Forsberg (born 2 May 1994), known professionally as Saara (stylised as SAARA; formerly Smo, Smoukahontas, or Smokahontas), is a Finnish singer, songwriter, YouTube personality, and television presenter. As a singer, Forsberg was signed to Capitol Records in 2014 and released her debut single "Ur Cool" in April 2015, which went on to become a top ten hit in her native Finland. She left in early 2016 after disagreements with the label and her producer. Forsberg has continued to release music as an independent artist in affiliation with Universal Music Group.
Life and career
Forsberg was born on 2 May 1994 in Jakobstad, Finland to a Finnish mother and a Finnish-speaking Swedish father, while being raised to speak only Finnish. Her parents were Baptist missionaries and Forsberg grew up a missionary kid. Because of her parents' career, she moved frequently as a child, living in Texas for five years and the United Kingdom for a year, before returning permanently back to Finland at age six. Forsberg spent a few years in a music academy in Jakobstad and later studied to become a chef before embarking on a singing career.
2014–2015: YouTube fame and career beginnings
Since her video "What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners" was posted on YouTube on 3 March 2014 on her channel Smoukahontas Official (which subsequently has been changed into SAARA), it was seen over 17 million times in June 2016. Her ability to mimic accents and speech melodies of different languages, which included Japanese, Estuary English, American with California accent, Swedish, French, Arabic and Spanish, using mainly nonexistent words, was praised by media in a number of countries.
In the first sequel, she re-impersonated some of the languages from the initial video and added new ones, including "Something African" and "Scottish". In another sequel, her "One Girl, 14 Genres" video, a number of musical genres were mimicked.
In April 2014, it was revealed that Forsberg had signed a development deal with production/distribution company Omnivision Entertainment/My Damn Channel. In May 2014, Forsberg relocated to Los Angeles to perform on a YouTube channel affiliated with My Damn Channel called "WestToastTV" in addition to maintaining her own personal channel.
2015–present: Music career, film roles and television presenting
In July 2014, it was revealed that Forsberg had signed a record deal with Capitol Records with Rodney Jerkins acting as her executive producer. Capitol Records chairman and CEO Steve Barnett said that the only artists that he had the same feeling about other than Forsberg were Adele and Sam Smith. She is the first Finnish person to be signed to a major American record label.[self-published source] Her debut single "Ur Cool" was released on 21 April 2015 and became a Top 10 single in Finland.
Forsberg announced her new clothing line FRSBRG in May 2015 and advertised it to her Finnish viewers with a number of well known celebrities from her home country. It was planned to be released in November the same year.
In December 2015, the news broke that Forsberg had spent the last 18 months working with Lucasfilm and was the creator of the alien language used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She co-wrote the song "My Heart Wants Me Dead" by Lisa Ajax for Melodifestivalen 2016, as well as the song "Drip Drop" by Taemin from his second solo album Press It.
In February 2016, Forsberg left Capitol Records due to differences between herself, Jerkins and the label, but she would continue releasing music independently. She would be a judge on the fifth season of Talent Suomi, the Finnish version of Got Talent. Forsberg released her debut EP Hello I'm Saara on 27 May 2016. The EP's lead single, "The Urge", was released in June 2016. In the same month, it was revealed that Forsberg would host the United Kingdom game show Remotely Funny.
In July 2016, it was revealed that Forsberg had created another alien language for a Hollywood film, this time for the film Star Trek Beyond, in which she has also a minor voice role as an alien named Kalara.
On February 5, 2017, a new Finnish gameshow called Kaikki Vastaan 1 (Everyone Against 1) began airing live on Sunday evenings on the Finnish network, Nelonen TV, with Forsberg as a co-host. The first season ran through April 9, 2017. Forsberg, being such a busy and popular celebrity now, has been replaced by another co-host for the second season, set to begin in September of 2017.
Forsberg was interviewed on British BBC Radio, Finnish public radio Yle and Swedish TV in which she confirmed that she was contacted by a producer from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. For approximately 180 seconds, she was a guest on the show on 7 April 2014 and she took home a tripod and a camera as a gift from DeGeneres. The trip was documented in a short series titled Sara Goes LA which was produced by Finnish broadcaster MTV and has also been published on YouTube since.
- Hello I'm Saara (2016)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2015||"Ur Cool"||10||Non-album single|
|2016||"The Urge"||—||Hello I'm Saara|
(featuring Rich The Kid)
|2017||"Permission to Love"||—||Non-album single|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
(Kasmir featuring Saara)
|2015||"Vauvoja"||N/A||Kasmir feat. Saara||Kasmir, Hank Solo, Jonas W. Karlsson, Mikko Kuoppala|
|2016||"My Heart Wants Me Dead"||N/A||Lisa Ajax||Anton Hård af Segerstad, Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, Nikki Flores|
|"The 7th Sense"||N/A||NCT U||Timothy "Bos" Bullock, Tay Jasper, Adrian Mckinnon, Michael Jiminez, Leven Kali|
|"I Just Wanna Dance"||I Just Wanna Dance||Tiffany||Timothy "Bos" Bullock, Michael Jiminez, MZMC|
|2017||"Rookie"||Rookie||Red Velvet||Jamil "Digi" Chammas, Leven Kali, Sara Forsberg, Karl Powell, Harrison Johnson, Russell Steedle, MZMC, Otha "Vakseen", Davis III, Tay Jasper|
|2014||The Ellen DeGeneres Show||Herself||Guest|
|Sara Goes LA||Herself||Reality show|
|2016||Talent Suomi||Herself||Judge (season 5)|
|Star Trek Beyond||Kalara (voice)||Movie|
|2017||"Kaikki Vastaan 1"||Herself||Co-host (Season 1, 10 episodes)|
|Remotely Funny||Herself||Host (20 episodes)|
- "Sara Forsberg jätti monikansallisen levy-yhtiönsä – inhosi ainoaa julkaisemaansa biisiä" [Sara Forsberg left her multinational record label, hated her only released song]. Iltalehti (in Finnish).
- "Hon blev Youtubekändis över en natt" [She became a Youtube celebrity overnight] (in Swedish). Vasabladet. 7 March 2014.
Båda hennes föräldrar är finskspråkiga, även om pappan är född i Sverige. [Both her parents are Finnish-speaking, even though her father was born in Sweden.]
- "Kielinainen Sara Forsberg: "Sain itsevarmuutta, kun laihdutin 17 kiloa"" (in Finnish). Me Naiset. 20 March 2014.
- Ellen DeGeneres wants the Finnish woman as her guest, YLE, Finland, 14 March 2014.
- "Kaikki haluavat Sara Marian" [Everybody wants Sara Maria]. Helsingin Sanomat. 15 March 2014.
- "HELLO IM SAARA".
- Smoukahontas YleX Aamussa. YleX Aamu. YLE. 14 March 2014. 9 minutes in.
Mä lauloin pari vuotta musiikkiopistossa Pietarsaaressa, mutta se jäi sitku mä muutin toiselle paikkakunnalle. [I sang for a couple of years in a music institute in Jakobstad, but didn't pick it up again after moving away.]
- "Official website". helloimsaara.com. Saara.
- Girl Speaks Gibberish With Perfect Accents To Show What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners, The Huffington Post, 6 March 2014.
- Ragazza riproduce 12 lingue del mondo, ma non le conosce: così sembra la tua lingua a un orecchio straniero, L'Huffington Post, Italy, 9 March 2014.
- Eine junge Frau, 14 Musikrichtungen – Smoukahontas ist zurück, The Huffington Post, Germany, 11 March 2014.
- What your language sounds like to foreigners, The Telegraph, 10 March 2014.
- What languages sound like to foreigners: YouTube video by Sara 'smoukahontas', News.com.au, Australia, 12 March 2014.
- Suomalaistytön kielivideosta tuli Youtube-hitti – katso!, MTV Finland, 5 March 2014.
- One Girl Sings 14 Different Genres (video), The Huffington Post, 11 March 2014.
- Todd Spangler (4 April 2014). "My Damn Channel Renames Itself Omnivision Entertainment". Variety.
- "Kielinainen debytoi juontajana - sai oman talk show'n" [Language woman debuts as a host, gets her own talk show] (in Finnish). Iltalehti. 10 July 2014.
- "SARA GOES LA: Sara nappasi satojen tuhansien unelmadiilin – katso 2. jakso". mtv.fi.
- "Youtube-tähti Sara Maria Forsberg näyttelee Renny Harlinin elokuvassa" (in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat. 17 October 2014.
- "Smoukahontas-Saralle historiallinen jenkkilevysopimus: Yhtiön pomo vertaa Adeleen" [Smoukahontas-Sara gets a historical US record deal: Company boss compares to Adele] (in Finnish). Yle.
- "EXCITING NEWS!!!".
- "SAARA keräsi joukon tunnettuja näyttelijöitä mainostamaan vaatemallistoaan" [SAARA attracted a number of well-known actors to advertise her clothing line] (in Finnish).
- "our web shop is opening in Novemburrrr!! whos excited to get their own #FRSBRG sweatpants?".
- "Latauslista 21/2015" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Radiosoittolista 24/2015" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Sara Forsberg created new Star Wars language".
- "Talent Suomi tärähtää syksyllä Neloselle! Haku ohjelmaan on käynnissä!". Nelonen. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "SAARA". facebook.com. Saara. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- "SAARA alkaa juontaa uutta ohjelmaa Britannian suosituimmalla lastenkanavalla". yle.fi (in Finnish). Yle. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- Sara Forsbergilla jälleen huippuduuni: Loi avaruusoliokielen Star Trekiin - ja ääninäyttelee elokuvassa! (in Finnish) Iltalehti.fi.
- Interview on BBC Radio, 12 March 2014.
- Interview on Finnish public radio Yle, 14 March 2014.
- Språkgeni gör succé – gästar Ellen show (SVT, 21 March 2014).
- on YouTube
- "Kielinainen Sara Forsberg saa oman sarjan". 28 March 2014.
- "Saara Discography". Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 25 January 2016.