Blonde ambitious

The Sounds lead singer Maja Ivarsson (sort of) swears off women and focuses on music greatness

thesounds3_bandphoto-4

SOUNDS OFF | Singer Maja Ivarsson doesn’t mind Blondie comparisons, but the guys — not so much.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Maja (pronounced like Maya) Ivarsson has mentioned time and again that she will “never date another girl.” This isn’t breaking news, but the media is overly fascinated with The Sounds singer’s bisexuality, though she never uses the term. Ivarsson is passionate about love but without mincing words, her one and only same-sex relationship was downright hard.

“There was a lot of bad stuff, just like in any relationship,” Ivarsson says. “I think for a lot of lesbian couples, you end up turning into friends. And there were issues of cheating, but it was a great relationship. We didn’t have sex. I don’t blame her. It sucks.”

Ivarsson wasn’t interested in women before, but the chemistry was there and she admits to having some bi-curiosity. But now, she swears to never be with a woman again… though she’ll never say never.

“I love boys, too,” she snickers. “But who knows? I’m getting old! I’m 32 and I want to have a baby.”

All this comes from one of the more dynamic singers on the scene, who wants The Sounds to be the biggest band in the world. Following up their fourth album release this year, the band is on its North American leg of the tour supporting Something To Die For; it comes to the Granada Theater on Thursday. Ivarsson doesn’t need to reconcile the conflict of fame and family. She’s figuring it out as the band rolls along.

“We definitely deserve to be a bigger band but I’m also very proud and very humbled,” she says. “We are quite happy with what we’ve accomplished, but our main goal is to get as big as possible.”

It’s been a slow ride, but promising. While well received, their 2002 debut album Living in America suffered an identity crisis. Radio stations didn’t what to do with this post-punk pop dance music conglomeration.

“I think since Day One, we were ahead of our time, mixing these electronic elements and rock,” she says. “But the industry wondered what we were. Later, The Killers and MGMT broke out. We know for sure they were influenced by us and that’s a compliment.”

Appearances on the Warped Tour increased exposure, and celebrities like Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl hyped them up. Even Geico picked up one of their songs, “Hurt You,” for a commercial. They are straddling the line right now between blowing up and indie cred.

But Ivarsson might be the one responsible for the success of the band. As the single blond female  in front of a group of men, it’s apparent where the focus is. Think Courtney Love and Hole, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, and ultimately, Deborah Harry and Blondie. The last being a popular comparison.

“The guys don’t like that so much, but I don’t mind,” she laughs. “I think Debbie Harry is one of the cooler chicks out there. I was 13 when I discovered Blondie and I just thought this is the way it should be: looking fab and kicking ass. I never liked the strung out or slutty singers.”

Otherwise, Ivarsson does her own thing. She won’t read reviews unless someone shares a more glowing one with her. But don’t confuse that for ego. It’s all part of a plan.

“During our first record, there were some good things written about me, but also some mean things, and I’m a very emotional person,” she says. “Some people only have bad shit to say and I just stopped reading reviews. The more I read about myself from other people, I think it censors me. I may think I shouldn’t do whatever, but I wanna be as authentic as possible.”

There’s no doubt of that onstage. As the frontwoman, Ivarsson is legend and should go down as one of the greats. The Sounds pump up their live show into frenzy and almost strive to mesh the audience in with the band. For her, it’s another day at work.

“I don’t know what else I could do,” she says. “I don’t know any other way to do it. Being onstage is where I belong and I love getting the audience involved and on stage. We’re here to have a fucking dance party!”

Which is the next option if worldwide domination isn’t theirs yet.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Nuclear gay bomb alert: Cher & Lady Gaga to duet

It’s not breaking news that Cher has recorded a song for her new album that was written by Lady Gaga. Towleroad posted Cher’s tweets about recording “The Greatest Thing” last week. Now, Out’s Popnography has posted Cher’s tweet today that leads us to believe Gaga herself will be on the song.

Talk about a glitter-bomb!

But is the effort already being undermined? The below demo recorded by Gaga is already all over the interwebs, so there goes the initial surprise for what the song sounds like. Still, it’ll likely be a big hit for Cher and just another day at work for Gaga.

Earlier this year, Jennifer Lopez released a Gaga-penned song on her album Love? “Hypnotico” was actually one of the better songs on the entire album, but has yet to be released as a single.

—  Rich Lopez

BREAKING: Beckham wins best in breed

We recently wrote about Beckham, the champion American black cocker spaniel bred by two Dallas women, Linda Moore and Laurie Foley, going to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week. Well, he’s on his way. Beckham just took best in breed at the event at Madison Square Garden in New York. That means he’s eligible to win best sporting dog (which will take place at 7 p.m. today, airing on the USA network), and, if he wins that, has a 1-in-7 shot at best in show. Paws crossed!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Breaking news: Seelig to leave Dallas for SF gig

Dr. Timothy Seelig, for 20 years the artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale and of late head of the Resounding Harmony chorus and Art for Peace & Justice project, has accepted a position as the new artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. He will take over the baton on Jan. 1, 2011.

Before that, he’ll lead Resounding Harmony one final time, for a concert at the Meyerson on Nov. 10.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Audio from Rick Perry’s now-infamous quote about gay marriage and job creation

With all the breaking news around here lately, we just now noticed this little nugget in our Inbox from this morning — audio from Gov. Rick Perry’s now-infamous quote last week concerning same-sex marriage and job creation. In case you missed it, here’s what Perry said, according to the Texas Tribune:

“There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas. We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. … Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”

Stewart Price, who uploaded the YouTube audio clip and sent us the link, apparently caught only the latter part of the quote, and it turns out that Perry actually said, “… or do you live want to live in a state where guys can marry guys?”

Be careful, though, we’ve heard that if you listen to the audio backwards, it will turn you into a closeted Republican.

—  John Wright

Uptown’s Aurora restaurant to close

Avner Samuel

Aurora, the pricey but delicious Oak Lawn restaurant owned by Avner Samuel, is closing at the end of July.

Samuel opened the French-inpsired bistro, with few tables, high prices and fancy cuisine, seven years ago. It got raves (including from me) for its menu, decor and service, but never generated the month-wait-for-a-table buzz it might have deserved. (It wasn’t much more expensive than comparable restaurants, but had a reputation as exorbitant.)

It has re-made itself, most recently with a bargain lunch menu (under $20) that I loved — it’s just down the block. But Samuel will move on to other things now that his lease is expiring. Stay tuned on what those are.

Samuel got his break at the Mansion and, alongside Dean Fearing and Stephan Pyles, was one of three Dallas chefs responsible for the Southwestern style of cuisine.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

More info on Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas

If you’re interested in helping out with Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas but couldn’t make last night’s organizational meeting, there’s plenty of contact info and volunteer opportunities after the jump.

—  John Wright