Here at ESCBubble, we were excited to be given the opportunity to hear Mikael Saari’s new album “The Grand Letdown” which is due for release tomorrow, May 6th.
Mikael has waited some time for this, his first album, to come to fruition and it includes both his 2016 UMK entry “On It Goes” and also a new extended version of 2013’s “We Should Be Through”.
The 28 year old singer/songwriter has worked with producer Kai Poutanen on “The Grand Letdown”, which includes twelve original songs written by Saari and one cover song from Queen.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Mikael prior to his big media launch on Friday, and he answered some questions about the album for us
Mikael, thank you for letting us have one of the first listens to “The Grand Letdown”, it’s certainly no letdown to listen to! We first heard you in UMK in 2013, have you been working on the material for this album ever since then?
The tracks that fans won’t have heard before have an almost Irish folk feel to them, the instrumentation used is very reminiscent to that style, was this intentional?
The next track “C’est La Vie” has been available on YouTube for 3 years now, was this always going to be on your album?
Yes and no, it’s one of my personal favorites but was many times left out of the album and then brought back when we thought about the combination of songs. (Warning – strong language used in the video)
“Storms” is next , and I think it’s my favourite of the ones I hadn’t heard before, the way it builds is just fantastic. What can you tell us about this track?
“Storms” was composed first to a song lyric sent to me in Finnish. I thought it was a fine song, but it didn’t go anywhere, at least not for now, so I took the composition back to my desk, altered it a bit and wrote my own lyrics.
“On It Goes” is obviously now a Saari classic, and you won the Fan Award at UMK for the second time in 2016. How did your 2016 UMK experience differ from 2013?
Your collaboration with Color Dolor singer Stina Koistinen was uploaded to YouTube back in February with a beautiful video (see below) It’s a really sad tale of heartbreak. Can you tell us more about this?
Getting Stina to sing with me was an idea of mine that was before the song even got finished. And I just couldn’t think of any better way to sing a duet than a raging “dialogue”, a hopeless never-ending argument between lovers that can no longer be together, for reasons that we all have, it can be anything. Stina is just wonderful.
I actually prefer the extended version of “We Should Be Through” to the original one! How did it feel recording it again 3 years later?
It was actually fun! I was afraid of that in many ways, but I have to say that I, too, prefer this version. This is actually the original version, the UMK 2013 version is the 3min cut we had to make.
“She’s Gone” is another track which really tugs at your heart when you explore the lyrics, is any of this autobiographical?
This is my personal favourite song from the album. And yes, the feeling of it is familiar to me, and I dare think it is for the most of us.
“Pray For My Soul” is another that uses traditional instruments and finishes off the lyrical songs on the album just perfectly. It’s quite melancholic, but has some uplifting lyrics included. Did you ever intend to write any Finnish language lyrics for any of the songs?
For these songs, no, I haven’t written Finnish lyrics. I have written music in Finnish, though, and my clear intention is to release an album in Finnish some day, maybe as a part of a band. That is one the many dreams of mine. But Mikael Saari will of course be writing albums in English.
Thanks again Mikael for giving us this opportunity to listen to your album, and we wish you all the best on it’s release!
“The Grand Letdown” is going to be released on Friday May 6th, and Mikael will be performing a 2 hour concert at the Lahti City Theatre, along with the orchestra that he used on the album. If you’re going to this concert, it would be great if you could leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the album!
You can pre-order the album here