Two years ago Norwegian rocker Ida Maria was dueting with Iggy Pop, headlining the madly-hyped Perez Hilton tour, and riding the strength of her excellent, pop-savvy debut album, Fortress Round My Heart. Then, suddenly, she veered off the road, citing massive exhaustion, then dropped off the grid -- until now. She'll return June 7 with Katla, her second album -- download the bubbly single "Cherry Red" here.
Ida Maria, "Cherry Red" (DOWNLOAD MP3)
"I went back home and went to the doctor and he wrote a sick report for one year and a half. I went to a psychologist," Maria tells SPIN of her 2009 tour cancellation. "I was just really exhausted, and didn't have any way of treating myself when I was on tour so I just really needed to patch myself together."
"I was also creatively starving," she adds. "I hadn't had the opportunity to be in the studio or have any days to write anything."
It was actually Maria's musician dad who helped her return to the stage. "He didn't force me to play, but I'm really happy that he asked if I would sing a song with [his band] because I was kind of scared, if I was going to be able to do it," she explains. "But, I didn't really take a break from the music -- I just took a break from the intense touring."
Rested and rejuvenated, Maria headed to Santa Monica to start recording with Butch Walker, the hitmaking rocker who's worked with everyone from Weezer and Pete Yorn to Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne. "Cherry Red" was their first breakthrough for Katla.
"It was like tickling. I just felt the tickle," Maria says with a giggle. "I couldn't wait for the rest of the world to hear what we had been cooking together."
The song finds Maria singing playfully about women paying more attention to their men, contrasting the current trend where "girls are singing so much about all the attention we need," she says. "I felt like there was a need to write something about the guys."
Maria says Roy Orbison was a major influence. "I listened to Roy Orbison constantly for a year or something and I got very inspired by him and his beautiful songs," she says. "I got addicted. Like a drug."
Katla is already out in Maria's home country, and she's set to tour extensively in Scandinavia this Spring. She says she expects to play U.S. dates in the fall.