Theresa Andersson: “Hold On To Me”
Part of the power of a city like New Orleans is its ability to not only welcome but also assimilate a myriad number of different styles and people. Theresa Andersson fits into this long history of Crescent City synthesis. She was born in Gotland, Sweden, but she moved to New Orleans early in her musical career and hasn’t looked back. This past spring, Andersson released Street Parade, another self-assured statement from an artist who’s fallen in love with her adopted hometown.
Though the old strains of New Orleans percolate through her work, Andersson is not wholly tied to the past. Her first success actually came through a way that’s becoming increasingly more common: through the internet. Her video for her 2008 song “Na Na Na” has garnered over a million hits, and it shows her unique performance style. With a single camera, the clip captures Andersson as she slowly builds the songs through a variety of loops, playing all the instruments herself with astonishing musicianship.
The video launched her as an online star, and she used that goodwill to help fund Street Parade through the online fundraising site Kickstarter. Given the kind of close-knit musical community that bursts out of New Orleans, it’s a fitting way to get an album made. The record captures her hometown’s sonic soul with clarity and brashness, and Andersson isn’t afraid of bold moments that stray from the roots of her city. But she doesn’t stray far: the album’s highlight, “Hold On To Me,” has that martial drum beat as its foundation, allowing the singer to loop her voice into a Beach Boys-sized choir. “Hold on to me, cause I’m the stuff that dreams are made of,” Andersson proclaims. It reads as boastful, but in her Southern-inspired hands, it’s celebratory.