It's not always easy, even with the gift of hindsight, to say exactly when something started. When the artist side of a person is awakened, making it impossible to continue on the journey that is life without making it an odyssey in music. Perhaps it was as early as when she, aged nine, heard Neil Young for the first time. Or Christmas the year she turned twelve, when her parents gift to her was a guitar. Yes, that may have been when it started, when she started playing the guitar.
Musically, artists she has no demographic connections with, had a major influence on her. Nick Drake, Emmylou Harris, the Irish blues artist Rory Gallagher, and acoustic segments from Led Zeppelin's portfolio. There is also a strong, almost urgent, craving for something else, something of her own, that she isn't yet able to express.
At least not until she, at 16, takes part in a singer/songwriter session in her hometown of Bergen, Norway. Just prior to this she sat herself down and wrote Silly Willy, a song which is still a part of her live set, and included on her debut album; Boy From The North.
The album contains ten such songs, such stories, ten segments that, despite variations in origin, create a perfect whole. Much has happened in Heldal's life since the first song was written. She lived in Ireland for a year, where music studies soon were eclipsed by living, breathing and performing music. She gained experience, and fans, performing the music of the aforementioned Rory Gallagher, one of her earliest sources of inspiration.
Though blues may be the foundation of many of her songs, her music encompasses equal measures rock and folk. And her satin-smooth vocals have a Nordic coolness that is reminiscent of Ane Brun. Her guitar playing is eminent, and she press have already described her as a guitar virtuoso.
While still based in the small village of Dundalk in Ireland, Monica first applied to perform at Norwegian music festival by:Larm. She was admitted, and since then has performed at numerous festivals, in Norway and abroad, opening for Tom Petty and Ben Howard in Oslo. The latter so taken with what he heard, that he invited her to join him for the full European tour, and on the title track of the Burgh Island EP, which topped the UK iTunes charts.
Before even having a single out Monica has performed live on Norwegian national TV twice, been nominated for, and received, coveted awards, and played on the main stages of some of the greatest cities and festivals in Europe. The album is finally due, and she is most emphatically on her way.
For the eagerly awaited debut album, Boy From The North, Monica was thrilled to work with her bandmates yvind Blomstrm (guitar), Cato Salsa Thomassen (gitar) and Brge Fjordheim (drums). In addition Ben Howard drummer Chris Bond is on board, both as an instrumentalist and as producer. Most of the album tracks were recorded at the Deep Litter Studio in England, the southern-most point in the County of Devon. At a venue called Start Point...