Finnish-language music has been exceptionally popular for long. Our country has brilliant song writers and storytellers. One of them is Iisa Pajula, a singer-songwriter and performing artist, who is working also as a professional of songwriting. She knows how the lyrics are made to hit directly to the listener’s heart or innermost feelings. Iisa has also authored a non-fiction book about songwriting; its title can be translated as “Cry, write, sing – all feelings in my lyrics”. She graduated in 2006 majoring in Organisational Communication & Public Relations.
Iisa Pajula comes originally from Orivesi, which was an idyllic and safe place to grow up. In her youth, she listened to pop music a lot and wrote poems and her diary eagerly. She was learning the piano and sang in child choirs but never planned for music as her profession.
“The small municipality was a favourable locality for my inner story-teller to grow. There were not too much of stimuli around. However, my career as a singer-songwriter started as unplanned and a total surprise to myself.”
As a keen writer, Iisa was passionate about communication, especially storytelling. Before coming to Jyväskylä, she graduated with a polytechnic degree in media studies from Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences. She wanted to seek qualification for PR jobs, however, and decided to apply for a study place in Organisational Communication & PR at the University of Jyväskylä. – At the same time, I was also admitted to the University of Tampere to study the Finnish language, but it was my plan B in case I would not be admitted to JYU, Iisa tells.
“I completed my studies withing a tight schedule, mainly by commuting between Tampere and Jyväskylä. The University’s Main Building and campus made a memorable impression – I recall the feeling that I was a part of a historical continuum when I got a chance to hang around in that milieu. I still look to the direction of the campus each time when I’m visiting Jyväskylä for a gig.”
Already during her study years, Iisa Pajula worked in communication jobs in various firms and organisations and gained thus professional foothold in this field. As an especially sensitive person, Iisa was prone to reflect the expectations created by the environment; she had ahead a ready path for a work career; prospective switches from one between one organization to another, promotions and pay rises.
About the same time, Iisa Pajula started cooperation with her partner of those days in the Regina band. At first, Iisa dared to sing some demos and then write lyrics for the band. She found a totally new level in herself both as a writer and a performer.
Although Iisa had a good job as a PR person in a listed company, she quitted this field in 2010. – I’m driven by the meaningfulness of work, and the lack thereof started to show. I felt anxious when I was not allowed to do things relevant to myself at work. Plenty of time was spent on other things, Iisa reminisces the underlying motives for her career change.
” This also relates to my becoming a mother. I had a family, a day job in the communications field as well as gigs with the band: I didn’t wish for any further big elements in my life. So I left the day job. I was saving money and after a few years , things started to roll.”
In 2012, Iisa Pajula started to build her active solo career. She has also worked throughout the 2010s as a professional songwriter, as a “housewriter”, for numerous well-known artists. Professional writing in teams has taught really a lot, but it is also consuming. – It is a field that one cannot fully learn by studying. There is plenty of tacit knowledge. Writing takes place with a customer service attitude; a piece accomplished may be published not until years later and there is no guarantee of publishing at all.
Songs provided Iisa with a right platform for storytelling. Communication studies support the lyric-writer’s career. – I was used to write press releases and I’m good at summarising, Iisa laughs.
“In a song, there is about hundred words in your use, through which you need to create a whole world. Nonetheless, you can also use the empty space, the space between lines, where nothing is said. They are equally important since the listener fills them him- or herself.”
Iisa Pajula has published four solo albums by the name Iisa. As a songwriter, she has two different roles, as her own music is non-commercial. – My solo career is not built on big hits, but I have been able to build it on a steadier basis, Iisa tells. In recent years, she has stepped aside from the heart of professional songwriting and continued her studies.
In 2018 Iisa was qualified as a solution-focused short-term therapist. She is specialised in helping people working in music and other creative fields. As an emotionally sensitive person, she has also herself suffered from severe stage fright. The therapy training was also crucial in her authoring of the non-fiction book. Iisa also gives lectures and leads courses on lyrics writing.
“One can reach the soul of the lyrics and the whole song only by advancing along emotions to the core of one’s theme. Songs influence the point in a human mind where emotions are stored.”
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