Remembering: Alda!

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The summer of 1998 had radios and televisions all over the UK pumping out some of our favourite scandipop songs of all time; ‘My Oh My’ by the then dominant force of Aqua, ‘Life Is A Flower’ by comeback trail ramblers Ace of Base, and ‘This Is How We Party’ by Danish sister act, S.O.A.P. It also saw the successful release of ‘Real Good Time’ – the debut single from Icelandic pop heroine, Alda!

Alda was a colourful edition to popworld. A striking woman, with MASSIVE blonde and dreadlocked hair, usually wearing a t-shirt bearing her own caricature logo. Throughout the summer, her picture popped up numerous times in the usual round of magazines; Smash Hits, TV Hits, and Top of the Pops. They were mostly miniature articles, always mentioning her hair, her native Iceland, and the only other Icelandic musician that pop magazine readers knew about – Bjork. We also fondly remember her appearance on Fully Booked, the summer Sunday morning BBC show. On it, she maintained the rather barking mad image of herself that had been created – all drunken enthusiasm, talk of fairies, and her exotic nationality! She also introduced the video to ‘Real Good Time’, the perfect showcase for this amazing looking woman, and that incredible hair of hers!

imageThe song was a hit thankfully – reaching number 7 in the UK charts. It was helped along its way by being the song that Capital Radio used as the backing track to an ad campaign it had over that summer. The merit of its inclusion on such a high profile campaign is somewhat reduced though, once you learn that Capital Radio actually partly owned Wildstar Records – Alda’s record label, and the subsidiary of Telstar Records. Nevertheless, nobody seemed to notice or care – as ‘Real Good Time’ was considered a bona fida hit; a catchy, sing-a-long pop/rock anthem that packed as big a punch as you’d expect from looking at its performer. It earned her a performance slot on Top of the Pops, and it guaranteed that she’d get a second single released!

‘Girls Night Out’ arrived in stores four months later. Unfortunately for Alda, Wildstar had the good faith in her to release it in the busiest sales week of the year – Christmas week! It was somewhat lost amongst the much larger releases, but still managed a respectable placing in the top 20 – albeit AT number 20! Incidentally, it was the same week that Aqua had their run of top 10 singles broken, ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ entered and peaked at number 18. But Ace of Base and Emilia made the top 20 that week consist 20% of scandipop songs – with ‘Always Have Always Will’, and ‘Big Big World’ respectively!

‘Girls Night Out’ was the perfect follow up to ‘Real Good Time’. It was another positive, non offensive pop/rock song with a chanting chorus. As its title suggests, the lyrics were all about leaving the boys behind and going for a night out with the girls, although with Alda playing up to her eccentricities once again in some of the lyrics – with lines like; ‘’black girlfriend, white girlfriend, brown girlfriend, yellow girlfriend’’, ‘’we’ll all have a reunion when we’re married and cooking an onion’’, and taking the ‘no boys’ theme that step too far by even fobbing of her estranged Father who was trying to make amends!!! All brilliant stuff though. And it got her another performance on Top of the Pops.

And that was it unfortunately! The ‘Out Of Alda’ album was finished and released in some other territories, but the UK never got it. And Alda disappeared from UK music as quickly as she’d appeared. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED! Not long after, she gave up music completely, and turned her hand to a new business venture. She set up her own catering company in Hertfordshire called En Vogue, which specialised in Nordic and upmarket foods. A few years ago though, she gave this up, and went back to working on music full time. And she’s still making music today. It’s not pop though. Instead, she describes it as ambient/chill out/jazz/electronic. Her two pop gems from the late 90’s will always be legendary to our ears though!

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