Anna Eriksson was born April 22, 1977 in Rauma, Finland. Shortly after Anna’s birth the family moved to Ihode, a small village in the rural west coast, where the family lived on and off through the upcoming years.

When Anna was three years old her father (an engineer) took a job in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. He travelled there in the fall of 1980. The sudden absence of her father had a strong impact on Anna.

”We really had a hard time that winter, especially my brother and I. Although my mother talked about dad all the time and he wrote us letters and called whenever possible, I never really believed he would be coming back. That’s the way a three year old child thinks. And so I vividly remember the spring morning the next year, when I woke up and went into the kitchen and my father was standing there in the sun light and I remember thinking; He is alive after all. The longing for my father is one of the things that has effected my personal life and my art the most.”

In 1981 the whole family moved to Saudi Arabia. That was the beginning of a twelve year period of traveling for Anna. After a year in Saudi Arabia the family moved to Tanzania to live in a small town called Arusha, at the foot of Mount Meru.

”I have no words to describe Africa and the intense beauty of it. When you’ve lived there, a part of you always wants to go back. When I think of Arusha, I can still smell the smoke and the dust, the rotting fruit in the market place, and the jacaranda trees in bloom”

”Tanzania was a pretty authentic place back in the 80’s. Sometimes when we went grocery shopping all they had was loafs of bread and hardwire! And If the roadside bar called SabaSaba had Coca cola the news spread all over town like bushfire!”

”Because the electricity was off on most evenings, we would amuse ourselves with music. My father would play the guitar and my brother and I would sing. I was a good singer and I soon realized that my singing had an impact on people and so I would occasionally perform at parties and other events.”

Music soon became a very important part of Anna’s life and when she returned to Finland she began taking piano and clarinet lessons. Anna, along with her brother also started elementary school in her home village.

”I had been going to an international school in Arusha and I could read and write and speak english fluently. So I made noise in class and didn’t bother with homework. I also didn’t have any friends. I would give my toys away and buy candy so that some of the girls would play with me. It really was pitiful!”

”Music became a friend and I practiced my piano and clarinet diligently. I really loved art and music from early on. I painted and danced ballet. Art was of way of fighting off the creepy feeling of being an outsider, a loner.”

Anna and her family went back to Saudi Arabia in 1985 and soon after they moved to Rihand, India. ” India was like Africa in a lot of senses.  A place that drills a hole in you and fills you with all it’s color and diversity, beauty, but also ugliness and cruelty. In India I realized how privileged I was and I often felt ashamed because of it. India brings out the true essence of a human being. I can never forget the moment when I, as a ten year old got out of the train at Benares railway station. The chaos was just unworldly. Countless Beggars, most of them small children, came to me asking for a dime or food, or a pen, anything. The lepers with missing hands and arms and eyes, chickens and goats running around, the homeless sleeping in the corridors, cows, salesmen selling anything and everything. And the masses of people determinedly moving along in that chaos like it would be the most natural thing in the world.”

”I’ve often been asked, how has all the traveling affected my art. And the answer is, I would not be an artist if I had not travelled so much as a child. A child sucks everything in. Children are so sensitive and curious and they can truly live in the moment. India came to be a life changer for Anna. After a short holiday to Finland the family was flying from New Delhi to Benares, when the plane was close to a crash.” 

”Before the plane had even left New Delhi, there was a bomb alert and they evacuated us from the plane. We got on our way eventually but as we were approaching Benares the captain announced that the radar was broken, that he couldn’t find the airport and we were running out of fuel. The plane started dipping, making these massive falls. People were screaming like crazy and  saying goodbye to each other. I remember holding my fathers hand over the plane corridor. The look in his eyes still makes me cry today. It was of greef and regret.”

”We made it, but everything changed after that experience. I was no longer the same girl. I fell into a post traumatic syndrome right after we arrived to Rihand. I didn’t sleep for months, I couldn’t eat and I started to have these horrible visions of snakes.”

”One day I was walking home from a friends house when the buildings around me started sinking into the ground. I couldn’t feel the road under my feet. All I saw was light and colors. I felt weightless and out of my body. It was almost impossible to walk, like the world was sucking me in like my life was ending. I couldn’t understand what was happening.”

”My insomnia got worse and I had lost a lot of weight. My parents were worried about me and decided it was time for us to return to Finland.”

Anna attended high school in Laitila, Finland in the years 1990-1993. She graduated at the top of her class. Anna’s family then traveled back to Tanzania, where she and her brother went to a boarding school in Moshi, located at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

”It was an international school with students from all over the world. We didn’t have much freedom and I felt like a prisoner there at times, but I think that place made me into an artist. I was a vocalist in a band, I danced and attended a theatre group. The creativity of the place helped me cope with loneliness and my fears.”

”Then at the schools Valentine’s ball, for the first time in my life, I stepped in front of an audience and sang with a band. I remember the people gathering around the stage, listening in silence, in a bit of an awe. It’s that Finnish girl singing…There and then I knew i was going to be a singer. And the funny thing is, in three years time I was recording my first album and in a flash I became one of the most popular female vocalists in Finland.”

When Anna was 19 years old and a fresh college graduate, she was already touring around the country, performing in dance halls, restaurants, doing at least 20 performances a month. Her first album reached platinum sales and she won many prizes, including two Emma prizes (Finnish equal for Grammy).

”It was crazy at first. I really couldn’t keep up with it. I mean, the story sounds grand, but not many people realize how hard it can be. When I began touring I first travelled with regular buss lines (like Greyhounds) and it could take me up to ten hours to travel a 400 km patch. The dance hall culture in Finland is really a culture of it’s own and some of the owners could treat you like shit, when you were just a rising star. One restaurant had a sign in the kitchen door that said ” We don’t serve lean meat for the musicians!!!!”

”My career just moved on up, and I was touring non stop. By the time I was 24 I had accomplished everything a performing artist in Finland can. I was immensely exhausted, and so I put my career on hold.”

”I was thinking about doing some big changes and apply to a university. I wanted to study art. But during the break I began composing music. That became a true game changer.”

Anna returned to the stage, now singing songs she had written herself.

In 2010 Anna wrote and produced an album in english, called Garden of love.

”I was moving away from making mainstream music. I wanted full say on everything I was doing,full creative freedom. I’m extremely ambitious and a risk taker, never looking for the easy route.”

Her next album MANA in 2012 was a huge critical success. It won the Teosto prize, that is one of the biggest art prizes in the Nordic countries. The prize was established by the Finnish Composers' Copyright Society Teosto.

”When I made MANA, I knew I was ending a course of twenty years. Something new was on it’s way.”

For almost five years, Anna has been working on an experimental film called M.

”This work has been a true challenge and an obsession. Making films that are unique pieces of art is what I want to do in the future. I have found a medium that challenges me to the limit and gives me a chance to work with all of my passions; writing, visuality and music, but most importantly, emotion.”

Anna currently lives in Uusikaupunki, Finland with her husband and artistic companion Matti Pyykkö and their five year old son.  

”Sometimes I feel that you don’t get to write the story of your life, but rather, a story picks you up and sets you in. So many things have happened to me that I really can’t comprehend. I like it and I don’t. I’m a person who loves taking risks but at the same time wants to feel safe. And that’s a hell of a paradox!”