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

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Ultimate Diva!

<<<BACK TO CATEGORIES

 

MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING Ultimate Diva! winner Stacy McKinney accepts the donation made to her favorite non-profit from Dallas Voice Promotions Manager Terry Thompson.

You go, girl!

In spectacular fashion, a straight woman surrounded by gay men wins the Ultimate Diva! contest. And it’s not just the photo of Stacy McKinney — it’s how she lives her life

When Stacy McKinney entered a photo competition with the goal to be named Dallas Voice’s Ultimate Diva!, she encircled herself with hot gay men. It was more than a photo — it is a metaphor for her life. McKinney joined DIVA (the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association) not knowing it was a gay league but stuck around even after she found out. She’s been a tireless cheerleader for the group, donating her $1,000 winnings to it. Such a diva thing to do.

Dallas Voice: How do we know you? McKinney: I thought everyone knew me!

OK, for those of us who might not, what’s your involvement in the LGBT community? I got involved with DIVA and found that our Miss DIVA Pageant donates all the money to the Food Pantry. It went from there. I put my name on the volunteer list at the Resource Center Dallas. I started volunteering for GayBingo. Also, DIVA has given back to the city of Dallas recreation centers for the past 21 years. DIVA just hosted their bachelor auction and raised $5,000 for the pet charity, Mazie’s Mission.

How did you end up in the community? I went to try out for DIVA and ended up in the Competitive Division. When the vice president of memberships, Brian Borski, was thanking everyone and saying their main goal is to provide a social outlet to the gay and lesbian community, all the blood rushed out of my body. I freaked. When we were done I ran to the registration table and said, “Oh my gosh, is it OK if I am straight?” They were like, “Girl we knew you were as soon as you hit the door.” That was four years ago.

So what does DIVA mean to you? DIVA is a social volleyball sports organization but has also always given back to our LGBT community from its very beginning. We hold various fundraisers that benefit a local LGBT charity with the proceeds raised.

Is this Ultimate Diva! title going to make you just impossible to be around? Well, I already have a title within the organization as “First Lady of DIVA.” This is just the cherry on top.

When do you take off the tiara? I only take it off a few times a day — when I swim and when I am playing volleyball. But I do wear it to the court.

OK, are you really just a fruit fly? Yes, as it should be. I really don’t like straight people.

Will you ever surrender the title of Ultimate Diva!? Sure. I am always up for a good fight!

Apparently straight women can be ultimate divas: Don’t be jealous, I was born this way!

OK, Gaga.

<<<BACK TO CATEGORIES

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright