When you hear Marina Gisela Uppgren sing, you’d be forgiven for thinking “Tennessee” rather than “southern Sweden” – which many country fans discovered already when the dazzling singer first made a name with her former group Cheatin’ Hearts. Having taken a break from music for several years, she now returns to the stage with tight new unit the Amber Band, making brilliant classic country music.
Backing her up is the tight Amber Band – consisting of top country picker Johan Ek (guitar), Jonas Bylund (bass), Anders Levén (drums), and Sophia Björk (backing vocals and guitar), with guest appearances by Magnus Edring on dobro and banjo.
”Someone said that we come off like a cross between Fleetwood Mac and Dolly Parton. I guess we’re just trying to do our own thing”, Marina says with a smile.
Elvis and Buck
Marina grew up with music as a natural part of her childhood. ”I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, with Elvis and Buck Owens being a major part of the soundtrack back home – it was a mix of country and rock’n’roll. And as soon as I was old enough to dig further into the music I loved, I discovered future favourites like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, and of course Dolly Parton”.
Having won a couple of talent shows and performed at country festivals, Marina became a founding member of the group Cheatin’ Hearts, with the ambition to breathe new life into traditional honky-tonk country. The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2005 to glowing reviews both in Sweden and internationally. Marina became a mother at the same time, and after a couple of years of combining motherhood with touring decided to take a break from music – a break that would last until A&R manager Hans Larsson at Darrow in the autumn of 2019 called her up, wondering if it wasn’t about time to pick up her career again. Marina realized it was.
In a flurry of inspiration, she started writing a steady stream of songs during the autumn and winter, while forming the Amber Band and trying out the new material. ”It’s like we have this great telepathy”, she says. “If I write a song, they instinctively seem to know where I’m going, and just nail it. I immediately felt that we were on the same wavelength, and I just love that”.
”They really are super musicians”, Marina says about her Amber Band. ”You can tell that they have a background in different musical styles in bands like Cheatin’ Hearts, Lone Sharks, Daffodils, Jake & The Spitfires and The Trampolines. And I think it’s that mix that makes the music come alive. I can’t wait to get up on stage and meet an audience with them”.
Marina Gisela Uppgren
vocals and guitar
drums and backing vocals