Drivin' and dreaming

With a fifth album just released, her own record label and concerts at all the major Swedish festivals, Sofia Talvik felt it was time to make it in America. 

  • "Our goal is to one day end up here," Sofia Talvik says as she turns around and points at her dream venue: Radio City Music Hall. Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • Sofia Talvik has become the next rising star from Sweden, famous for bringing an interesting, modern take on folk music. In support of her latest album, "The Owls Are Not What They Seem," Talvik is touring intimate music venues, settings in which people listen rather than drink beer after beer. Talvik also played at Lollapalooza and SXSW, but the extensive two-year U.S. tour in an old RV with her husband will put her in close contact with the fans.

  • The tour consists of Sofia, and her husband Jonas Westin; driver, PR, bookings as well as sound technician... along with an old RV. Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • You are calling your odyssey through the U.S. the "Driving and Dreaming Tour." How did you end up here?
    I just released my fifth album and have always gotten a better response to my music here in the U.S. I've been on a couple of earlier tours here; I played at Lollapalooza (the music festival in Chicago which routinely draws over 50,000 fans a day) and felt this was the next natural step, to come here and to meet my audience, full-time.

  • The singer-songwriter is touring intimate U.S. music venues with her husband, in an RV, in support of her newest effort, The Owls Are Not What They Seem. Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • How is it to live in an RV?
    Not bad at all. It’s like having your apartment with you all the time, and it’s actually quite comfortable. After a gig, when you are really tired, you just walk home to your own bed and don’t need to sleep in crappy motels. I think the biggest challenge is actually to find parking spaces, especially with an RV.

  • In 2008, Talvik became the first Swedish female singer to play the Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago. Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • As a singer-songwriter, where do you get your inspirations?
    From the air. Inspiration comes to me while walking down the street and then suddenly a song just pops into my head. There’s no way of explaining it.

  • The RV, appropriately a Ford Conquest! Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • What keeps you going?
    We have the best time every day. We are meeting so many new people and get to experience so much. I love seeing these small towns where people invite us to their homes, and suddenly we are a part of their lives and having breakfast and dinner together.

  • They have been touring for 6 months, and have 1.5 years to go! Photo: Hanna Aqvilin
  • The tour only consists of you and your husband Jonas Westin. How’s that working out?
    We are best friends and I would never do this without him. Because Jonas is doing all the sound checks, the bookings and the PR, he is as big a part of the show as I am, even though I am the one on stage. We spend a couple hours every day at Starbucks—we are calling it our “Coffice.” That is where we do all the booking and promotion. It’s even more than a full-time job, but totally worth it because it’s an incredible adventure.

  • Where is your tour taking you next?
    We are doing six shows here in New York. After that, we are going to head up to Boston and Maine, then to Chicago and later over to the west coast. We are just booking Minnesota and Ohio right now.

  • Sofia Talvik is performing in New York at Gizzi’s Cafe on June 6 and Ella Lounge June 7. (Most of her performances are free.)
    Read more about Sofia Talvik at: http://www.sofiatalvik.com

  • Text & photo: Hanna Aqvilin