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Stockholm, Sweden Co-Director
In Asa's own words:
I grew up in a town in Sweden called Örebro with my parents and two younger brothers. When I was five years old, I started playing the piano. Soon I found it fascinating that I could write my own melodies. They were short, but still they were mine! Later on I mostly wrote songs about the things I saw. It could be about the moon, bananas or a merry-go-round. As I grew older, I wrote songs about my ideas and feelings. As my fascination for music continued to grow, I decided to apply to a university of music.
Once at the University of Music in Göteborg, I formed my band Åsa’s Garden. We made a CD called "There is No Way" and we have performed until present, although the band members have changed over time. After graduating I was working for a year as a musical theater director at a grade school, I moved to Paris to learn French, fulfilling one of my dreams. While in Paris I sang and performed in many venues throughout the city. I also worked at Disneyland, Paris as a jingle composer and was the lead singer in the film "Invisible Circus" starring Cameron Diaz.
During my last year in Paris, I met a world music group and joined them on tour in Europe. One of the cities we played in was Sarajevo, right after the war. For the first time in my life I looked evil in the eye. We performed outdoors at a fundraiser for the rebuilding of the old bridge in Mostar. The audience’s energy was amazing. Just by singing and playing music, we helped to give courage and enliven people’s souls. It was a strong and moving experience. In Sarajevo, I saw that love and goodness can rise above hate.
Besides my music, I have always loved the magic of the theater. I have been in many different plays and musicals throughout the years. After Paris, I decided to go to New York and study acting and took classes for two years.
Right after September 11, I felt like going back to Sweden. But, as in Sarajevo, I wanted to be part of the healing process, so instead I stayed and produced a show called "Seeds of Love." I wanted to combine my music with theater so I held my concert in a dance theater. It was a dream coming true.
I believe music and theater can unite, heal and enliven people's souls, no matter where we are from. Music and theater have the power to reveal who we really are, and speak to the truth.
Currently, New York is my home and I love living as well as working here.
Apart from composing, performing and singing, I am working as a part time Children’s Choral Director at Trevor Day School, NYC. Recently two of my choirs sung for Queen Silvia of Sweden and in June this year we sang the National Anthem at Shea Stadium.
My band Åsa’s Garden has been performing in New York and in a few other states. Traveling is my passion and I have been fortunate to be able to play with local musicians in both Iceland and Brazil. What amazing countries and people. This summer I went back to Sweden and recorded my CD Where I Belong together with Producer/Keyboard player Mattias Bylund. It was a dream come true to do a full length album. A few songs from the CD are in the Movie "Funny Valentine" (www.funny-valentine.com) starring Anthony Michael Hall. My song "Seeds of Love" is on the compilation CD From the Heart benefitting the Wedding Party.
For more about Asa, see her website: www.AsaRydman.com