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Indie contemporary instrumentalist

(Sven Sundberg) self-produces album

and sells 3,500 copies

(2014 - "Crystal Clear")

without touring.

This is my story.

New release "Intimacy:  A Collection"

(Professionally produced, mixed,

mastered and packaged)

has already sold more than

6,000 copies since October 6!


GENRES:

Contemporary Instrumental

Instrumental Pop

Adult Contemporary

Soft Rock

Ambient Pop

International Pop

New Age

Meditation/Relaxation

Nu-Jazz


 

Start by telling me who you are and what you do.

 

My name is Sven Roland Sundberg, and I go by the name Sven Sundberg as a musician.  I currently work for the State of Illinois as a Fiscal Officer.  Prior to this, I worked in Seattle as Director of Finance and Operations for a nonprofit that helped intellectually and developmentally disabled people.  I hold degrees and certifications in Accounting and Computer Science.

 

How did you get started in music?

 

When I was young, about 6 and living in Phoenix, I was given a green organ for Christmas.  I loved that organ!  I loved making sounds on it that were pleasing to hear.  After an unfortunate accident, the organ was destroyed.  A year or two later, my parents rented an upright piano for me, and hired John Steinway (of Steinway Pianos) to give me lessons.  As a child, I didn’t realize the significance of this man, but his teaching is a source of pride for me now.  He taught me chords, scales, and melodies, everything that goes into a song.  After a year or two of lessons, my family moved to the Midwest and we no longer had the piano.  But from the age of 14 or so, I had always attempted to write songs and lyrics, imagining what they would sound like if I had a piano, and I kept them in a notebook.  A couple decades later, I bought my first keyboard and tried playing a few of the songs I had written.  They all sucked!  So I went back to my teaching from Mr. Steinway and tried to create simple melodies, not flashy or overdone, that would be emotive, serene and very memorable. After writing over 100 songs, I believe I have accomplished that, and that is where my musical core lies.  I keep trying to improve my sound and create memorable, lasting music.

 

Describe your journey so far, as a professional musician.  How did you get from where you started to where you are now?

 

For each new song that I composed and recorded, I tried to improve on previous songs by listening to music that I love to hear and using that for inspiration.  You can sometimes hear when I have used parts of old songs and changed them to make them more melodic.  Certain writing formulas cropped up and I used those as guides in composing new music, finding the verses, choruses, bridges and finishing touches for songs.  At first, my CDs were homemade and not too good in sound quality.  After a few CDs like that with no sales, I bought new top-of-the-line instruments and studio equipment and began improving my sound quality to studio levels.  This has only recently begun to have results, as my sales and fan base have increased significantly over my last few CDs.  My CDs now sell in the thousands, and people are beginning to like my music and seek it out.

 

What is unique about the music you make?

 

I’ve developed a solid belief that simplicity is the hallmark of a great melody, and that memorable melodies are created from the music that inspires you to write from the heart.  My best songs can bring about all sorts of emotions, as well as calm the soul.  My genre is Contemporary Instrumental, and I am seeking to instill simple and emotive melodies into the genre and to have such music be recognized at the forefront of the genre.

 

What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a musician?

 

I’ve been lucky to have licensed a few of my songs for inclusion in indie movies and on ESPN.  One of my songs, “Invisible Hands,” made it into the Airplay Top 40 in the Philippines in 2012.  And I also collaborated with a musician named Mark LaFountain to create a new mix of one of his songs called “The Valley of Voe.”  And now my CDs are growing in sales with each new release, which is exciting to be a part of.  I have seen my fan base increase from about 1,000 to almost 10,000.  And I am receiving feedback from fans now when a certain song has affected them in some way.  Most surprisingly, my music is now being heard and people are responding to it!

 

What have been some of the career lows or hardships?

 

In the beginning, I couldn’t get anyone to listen to my music.  I couldn’t even give away my CDs.  Although those early CDs contained some of my best work, the quality was low and sales were zero.  That was hard to take.  I had to re-record and remix some of these songs from scratch before people would listen to them.  I released these re-recordings in my Remasters CDs.  Also, I have spent a lot of time and money trying to license my music for certain media projects, and I have had a thousand Nos for every Yes.  Some of the feedback from music professionals was brutal, but I used that feedback to improve.  And I have experienced some intense bouts of writer’s block.

 

When you think back on your life as a musician, what experience first pops into your head?

 

When I have written a few bars of certain songs, and I play it back and it blows me away and inspires the rest of the song as if it were writing itself.  That feeling in the moment that happens, that’s what I live for, a sudden flood of inspiration coming from something small I have composed.  That, and hearing my song “It’s Time” being used in a sports collage on ESPN.

 

What impact are you hoping your music leaves on the world and/or your fans?

 

Since I hope to write memorable melodies, I hope that my music turns out to be timeless and inspires others with emotion and peace.  My wish is that my music will be thought of as worth listening to long after I’m gone.

 


 

DON'T PUT OFF CHASING YOUR DREAMS, YOU'LL REGRET IT (Sven's Story)

When I was young and living in Phoenix, I was very fortunate to receive piano lessons from John Steinway (of Steinway Pianos). I was too young to realize the significance of this man, and it wasn’t until I was in high school that it dawned on me, I was taught by John Freaking Steinway!

After a couple years of lessons at a young age, my family went through some difficult times and all our belongings were repossessed, including our piano. We moved to the Midwest, but were never able to afford a piano again. I remember missing our piano and wishing we had one again. I remember liking to use the chords and scales that Mr. Steinway taught me to make pleasant sounds. I used to drive my family nuts playing that piano so much!

When I was in high school, my best friend Jack played electric guitar and was in a band. I envied him so much! I would go with him to his band’s jams and practice sessions, all the while wishing I could play the keyboard along with them. It became my dream to write songs and play them, hoping others would like my music. But I didn’t have keyboards, so all I could do was listen. I would soak in their music, watching them play, and kept dreaming of one day either being in a band playing keyboards, or writing my own music.

It would stay a dream for many years.

After high school I went to college, got a job and moved up the ladder. I soon became a busy nonprofit executive and my job became my life, as often happens to so many people. I was too busy to think about pursuing my dreams, but it was always there in the back of my mind, gnawing away at me because I couldn’t find the time. So I kept working long hours, as my job demanded, and putting my dreams off.

Then it happened. Cancer.

I was devastated! I was only in my 30’s. They say when you look at the prospect of dying, your life passes before your eyes. That didn’t happen to me. It wasn’t my life that passed before my eyes, but my regrets.

I regretted not acting on my dreams. I thought about how I would never be able to make my own music now, surely I was going to die, and I became very depressed. I vowed to myself if I could just get passed this and be cured, I wouldn’t take my dreams of making music so lightly and actually do something with it. Well, long story short, half of my colon was removed and the effects of chemo and radiation stayed with me for a long time, but I survived!

I survived cancer. So I would keep my promise to myself to stop putting my dreams on hold and actually make music.

While I was still sick, I bought an inexpensive set of keyboards that had a lot of bells and whistles. I began to write songs and soon discovered what kind of music was in my heart to write. I rearranged my schedule at work and delegated more tasks, freeing myself up to have time to do what I always knew I would love doing … making music.

Fast forward 11 albums, some licensing successes, several awards and a million other musical experiences along the way and it’s still that vow that I made to myself when I think about my life and career as a musician. If I didn’t get cancer, I wouldn’t be where I am now, connecting with 15,000 new friends I met through my music. When I had cancer, I regretted not being a musician. Now that I am past that, I have absolutely no regrets about having had cancer! It kicked me in the butt and got me moving in the right direction.

I don’t mean to sell the creative process short. Needless to say, it’s essential. For the listener, it’s everything. But to some extent almost anyone can make music.

But when it comes to BEING a musician, it’s all the memories I helped create along the way. It’s hearing a song I wrote (I’ve written more than 100 songs) and instantly knowing which song it is and how the melody goes. It’s the familiar weight of my keyboards, guitars and other instruments because I’ve dragged them everywhere. It’s all the miles I’ve put on my car dragging my instruments around. And it’s a million other little subtle experiences that define what it means to be a musician. At least that’s the way it’s been for me. It’s not the piano chords or the number of albums sold, but rather it’s knowing those things first hand that make me a musician, a veteran. And it’s knowing that you are one of a small percentage of the population to not only have seen, but to have lived behind the curtain that makes this whole crazy thing worthwhile.

But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.

I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes ugly, always worthwhile experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.

If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, CLICK HERE to listen to my most recent album, “Intimacy: A Collection.”

Thank you for being a listener, for making my dreams come true, and for making it all matter.

— Sven Sundberg :)