First Pandora gig: Celebration promo gig at Kamppi shopping center, Helsinki.
Favorite Pandora songs: Waves of Memories, Drottningen av Åland, You Believed.
Biggest wish as a fan: to sing the Sands of Time with Pandora.
Changes album opened the door to creativity for Elisa – “What an incredible role model I had growing up”
Pandora’s third studio album, Changes, is one of the most meaningful albums of all time for Elisa Pöyhönen.
– It is not just good music, but Changes is like a best friend with whom you can always pick up from where you left off last time. I have made so many memories with these songs over the years. To me, the album also symbolizes my growth from childhood to adulthood, Elisa describes.
Elisa was first introduced to Pandora’s music by her cousin when she was around 11 or 12.
– I remember sitting by the radio and waiting to hear Pandora’s songs from Radio Mafia so that I could record them. I also remember singing into my hairbrush or a shampoo bottle, Elisa smiles.
Eurodance was the first music genre she fell in love with.
– My parents used to play Finnish artists like Katri Helena and Joel Hallikainen in the car, so Pandora, Corona, Maxx and others introduced a completely new genre to me.
“I was trying to keep up with her career through YouTube”
Changes album was a turning point in Elisa’s life.
– I was 13 and it opened the door to the world of melodic music and my own creativity. It had me thinking that maybe I could do this too.
Changes was also the first album to feature songs written by Anneli herself.
– The album ignited my long-lasting love for female singer-songwriters. I didn’t know how to write lyrics back then, but I started composing music.
Elisa founded a duo called Red & White together with her cousin. It took the girls a few years, but eventually they had six songs ready.
– The music was influenced by Eurodance and melodic pop. We had a few gigs when I was around 17. Unfortunately, when the friendship ended, so did everything else. It took me years after that before I could make any music.
After graduation Elisa headed to Belgium where she worked as an au pair. Later she returned to Joensuu to study, but she lived and worked abroad during the summers.
– In addition to Belgium, I have lived in the Netherlands, Russia and Ireland. Pandora’s Changes and This Could Be Heaven albums moved with me wherever I went. I was also trying to keep up with her career through YouTube until I returned back to Finland temporarily in 2007.
“The whole album had the feel of a comeback”
Back in 2007, Elisa heard on the radio that Pandora had a promo gig for her new Celebration album at the Kamppi shopping center in Helsinki.
– Pandora was there early, and I decided to go and talk to her and thank her for the music and inspiration she had given me over the years.
In 2011 Pandora released her long-awaited new album Head Up High.
– Such a perfect album with only great songs. The whole album had the feel of a comeback.
Elisa decided to email Pandora some feedback regarding the album.
– I couldn’t believe that she replied back to me and also remembered me from Kamppi. I mentioned the songs I had written, and she offered to read some of my lyrics. I was even more surprised when she emailed me back with some pointers: a star like her was sparring a girl like me. I realized what an incredible role model I had growing up.
“My biggest dream is to sing The Sands of Time with Pandora”
Today Elisa is a mother of 5- and 8-year-old children.
– Life is hectic. I haven’t been writing any music in approximately 7 years because that does not just require time but also a specific stage of mind, but I’m taking singing lessons weekly. That is my own time and a way to release stress.
One of Elisa’s biggest wishes is to have Changes songbook released so that she could take it to her singing lessons.
– And I hope that there will be new Meet & Greet events for Pandora Lovers Facebook group because my biggest dream as a fan is to sing The Sands of Time together with Pandora.
Pandora’s music helped Elisa to discover her own creativity.
Elisa and Pandora after a gig in Helsinki in the early ‘10s.