Interview / Minna Ora

Minna Ora

Hello, Minna, the themes in your latest single ‘Storm’ explore intricate layers of human nature, delving into selfishness, greed, and the misuse of power. Can you tell us what inspired you to create a song around these challenging subjects?

Hello, thank you for having me here. So, yes, ‘Storm’ tackles quite challenging subjects. 

Yet, just like with my earlier singles, I didn’t set out to write a song about a particular topic. My song-writing process is very intuitive, and I just follow where the song takes me; the lyrics and melody are created together as I work from a beginning line that has popped into my mind. I actually wrote ‘Storm’ already in 2017, and after finishing it, I had chills traveling down my spine, as the lyrics transported me in my cellular memory to my mother’s childhood in Karelia, when people had to leave their homes to escape the Russian invasion. Back in 2017, the song definitely felt powerful to me, but I didn’t know what to do with it yet. However, after Russia attacked Ukraine in 2022, I dug up this song from my desk drawer and realized its time had come.

‘Storm’ incorporates a profound sense of history and collective sorrow, with your mother reciting a Finnish poem written by your grandmother. How did your family’s experiences during the Second World War influence the song’s narrative?

Well, as I mentioned above, my song-writing process doesn’t start from choosing a topic. Instead, I feel like, especially with this song, the song comes first, and then I realize what the themes are about, and in the process of producing the song and brainstorming with my team, additional ideas and connections come up that I hadn’t even thought of when first writing the song. My family’s experiences during the Second World War might have influenced the lyrics subconsciously because my Grandma did tell me about war times when I was a child. I just wasn’t consciously thinking of it while writing this song.

In the music video for ‘Storm`you feature five generations of your family. Can you share with us the significance of this multi- generational representation?

Whereas I wasn’t consciously thinking or deciding what lyrics I was creating back in 2017, the process of producing the song into a publishable song, and especially the video, are much more deliberate. And at that point, the lyrics work as a guide. When we started producing ‘Storm’, I was inspired to delve into Grandma Anna’s diaries and writings. She not only wrote lots of diaries but she also wrote numerous poems. It felt significant to include some of her words into this song, so I selected one of her poems, which my mother agreed to recite for the song. This worked very well for the single, and also for the video. The multi-generational representation has many meanings. It represents the passage of time, where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going. Also, family – both biological and chosen family – is very important to me, so being able to create this type of project together with so many of my loved ones was an amazing experience.

The lyrics in ‘Storm’ emphasize the importance of not responding to injustices with further injustices. Can you talk about the significance of this message in today’s world?

If we keep responding to injustices with further injustices, then the world will only have more and more suffering. It is my hope that my song will inspire people to rise up against injustices, whether by becoming empowered in their own situations or by helping others.