Of Beginnings and Inspirations
Marit "Minniva" Børresen is a singer, songwriter, dancer and actress from Norway. Entering the world on March 28th 1990, Marit was the first daughter born to a family already blessed with two energetic boys; a fourth brother would follow later.
The first decade of Marit's life was spent on the outskirts of Larvik, a small town just south of Oslo, Norway. Close to nature and water - a perfect haven for wildlife - these calm and beautiful surroundings of her childhood would guide her growth into adult life and become deeply intertwined with her developing passion for music. Nature would become her inspiration, her foundation for peace and tranquility. A safe haven from the chaos and pressure from the outside world, her own private wilderness would forever be a source of strength in her life.
When only nine years old, Marit's mother was stricken with a life-threatening illness. Although young, Marit bravely took up the mantle of substitute mother for her younger brother, helping out with homework, cooking, cleaning, and doing everything possible to make life easier for the family at this difficult time.
A year after her mother became ill, Marit and her family moved to a small farm in the neighboring town of Sandefjord. Shortly after, Marit started helping her father work with special needs children and youth on the farm. This involvement taught her to see things, people and even herself from new and different perspectives. Tough times caused her to grow up fast, but the lesson of taking responsibility when caring for others was well learned. Although some of her childhood was lost, she gained experience, knowledge and wisdom far beyond her years. Her understanding of the world and the people in it grew rapidly, and she acquired not only an incredible ethic for hard work, but also a positive attitude and the endurance to face even great hardship. These challenges would prove invaluable to her career and instrumental in her work with music.
Although musically inclined since a youngster, Marit's music career began small with concerts held with only trees, animals and sometimes, her family as audience members. With her brothers, she formed a band and held concerts on the kitchen floor with kettles and other kitchen supplies as instruments. As the self-appointed leader of this little group, she would hand out the instruments and decided who played what, and when. When she developed a serious interest in dancing at age ten, her parents soon noticed her talent and passion for music was far beyond a passing phase.
However, Marit's personal struggles were just beginning. While school is often a time of growth and awakening for many, Marit's troubles with comprehension and reading lead to cruel taunts and even bullying. Her confidence shaken to the core, her self-image battered, and her painful shyness a barrier to socializing, school became more about the survival of spirit than learning. But, survive she did, for the root of her troubles eventually became clear: dyslexia. While bright and perceptive, her ability to read or discern context from a lesson was impaired by her condition. Although more challenges and hardships lay ahead, answers were finally known, and the path forward became a little less intimidating.
Of Struggles and Courag
As Marit grew older and her struggles with school ever ongoing, music became increasingly important, a safe haven to which she could escape. Although naturally talented, she became frustrated by the many obstacles that were between her and her dreams. But it was because of those challenges that she discovered an outlet for her emotional turmoil, a way to express her creativity while exorcising her demons. Though singing, writing lyrics, and composing melodies, she found a source of comfort and joy, a means to turn something painful into something beautiful. Through music, she could find her inner peace and finally begin the long journey into who she was truly meant to be. Through music, at last, her fantasies could become reality.
However, while many years would pass before she found the confidence, courage and faith to pursue music as a career, her artistic destiny was almost derailed by another passion: soccer. Growing up with three brothers, Marit was often involved in many sports and other physically demanding activities, like horse riding, ice hockey and climbing. It turned out that she was quite gifted when it came to playing soccer and was considered exceptional in her prime. She was so good that a career as a soccer player was even considered, but as with many detours in life, her flirtation with professional athletics eventually yielded to the trials of adult life. But, fortunately, this change in direction allowed her other major talent - music - to return to the forefront.
After realizing Marit's potential for singing, her parents arranged for her to get a vocal coach when she became a teenager. At this time, she also began to enhance her musical range by taking piano lessons and learning some guitar in school. And very soon, performance opportunities arose: while her anxieties sabotaged her taking the lead in a school musical, she nonetheless found the courage to make her first stage appearance in a more minor role. But, by working with her vocal coach, she gradually refined her talents and increased her confidence for public singing and performing. Although still plagued by stage fright, the first important steps to eventually conquering that fear had been taken.
After a few years of intense training, Marit found that she had learned enough to refine her vocal talent without direct coaching. Knowing that teaching is often the best path to becoming a true master, she eventually started offering singing lessons to others who also wanted to become better singers. As her vocal talents dramatically improved, she also worked hard to continue expanding her piano and guitar skills.
As Marit became increasingly confident in her singing, she also began to receive the validation that had escaped her in earlier years. She started entering talent and singing competitions, finally putting her voice out there. At a local talent show in 2006, she ran on stage to help one of the other competitors, who had forgotten the words of the song she was singing. Marit stood beside the other contestant and helped her along until she got back into the song, then left the stage so not to interfere with the other girl's performance. Finally, Marit was not only strong and confident for herself, but also for others. For her selfless actions, as well as her own brilliant performances, the talent show awarded her the coveted "Singer of the year" title!
Of Temptations and Revelations
In 2010 at the age of 20, Marit caught a break and made her professional debut. After moving to the capitol and earning her living by singing and writing songs mainly for "russefeiring" (aka Russ, the Norwegian graduation ritual), she was discovered by music producers, who helped her craft her first hit. With the pop single "Rush," she quickly achieved recognition within the Norwegian music community, and even generated interest beyond the country's borders. The infectious pop-dance single became top ten hit on the Norwegian music charts, powered by a sexy "film noir" promotional video, and even helped land her a record deal. Everything was headed straight up for the burgeoning young pop star; even jaded music industry insiders had high hopes for her talents. Superstar fame and fortune were only a smile and a pop song away...
But it was not to be. The hit driven entertainment industry that had quickly welcomed her had failed to focus on Marit's own musical values: mainstream pop music held no deep commitment for her. Furthermore, it soon became depressingly clear that her value to the industry as a pop artist was more in her pretty face than her voice or musical talents. This revelation did not sit well with Marit, for her love of music came from a passion deep within her soul, not from any desire for mainstream success. Fearing that losing herself to the entertainment machine was a real possibility, she found the courage to be true to herself, and stepped away from the pop music future others had planned for her. Determined to survive on her own terms, Marit chose to start over, and held her head high as she walked down a path of her own choosing, free from the outside pressure to fulfill an artificial role in an industry increasingly driven by profits instead of artistic vision.
In 2013 she would chase another chance at a music career through the Norwegian Idol TV show, making it as far as the top 50 contestants. Although sufficiently musically talented, Marit's altruistic nature clashed with the selfish, cutthroat focus of the contest; simply put, the "last person standing" path to success was not the way she wanted to succeed. As well, the over-produced, mainstream pop style of the show ended any desire she might have had to ascend the charts as a commercial artist; musically, it was not who she was nor where she wanted to be. She left the show head high, still determined to blaze her own trail to the stars, one that would truly satisfy her musical hungers.
After putting the final nail in the coffin of her pop career, Marit's caring, nurturing side came to the forefront when she worked for a short time in a nursing home, helping the elderly with their physical needs. However, when it turned out that she was spending far more time tending to their emotional and spiritual requirements than her actual job, the manager of the facility was dubious of her approach, almost to the point of firing her. However, Marit's logic was that there was no joy in having a healthy body if the mind was not. By entertaining with music, she could help the elderly in a different way, one that was just as important as tending to their physical needs. Luckily, her boss ultimately agreed with her and changed her job description so that she could keep on singing and entertaining.
Of Crucibles and Triumphs
Early in 2015, many tribulations and heartaches came to a head... but this was just the catalyst she needed. Marit reached deep within and drew upon her inner strength to make big changes in her life: the time for waiting and playing it safe was over. Setting caution aside, Marit found a deep well of courage, and began to chase her dream of a full-time career in music. The Marit of old was gone; "Minniva" was now standing in her place, forever the center of her new life in the entertainment industry.
As her plan was to focus entirely on her music career, Minniva needed a place she could stay with very low rent. As it might take a year or more before she would be able to generate an income from her new career, she needed a place she could live with minimum expenses, but also be close to her family. Fortunately, her parents owned a small cabin near a forest that was available for her use. Minniva moved into this tiny (15m2) cabin, with no running water and with only two rooms, one for living quarters and the other as her music studio and workstation. She spent the first days and weeks making the cabin feel like home, decorating to create a calm and inspirational surrounding for herself. Very quickly, her old life faded into the distance behind her, and her new life was on an exciting new horizon in front of her.
The next few months were spent acquiring the necessary equipment and the skills to use such. Her new - and often steep - learning curve included filming with a DSLR and video editing. She also had to quickly become an expert in the art of music recording, mixing and mastering. On top of all this, she still had to find instrumentals that would work well with her vocal style.
This new learning required a huge amount of time and effort, and was not made any easier due to her dyslexia. She had to quickly discover the ins and outs of music production, as well as develop a network of helpful associates and collaborators online, often communicating in English, her second language. Although this rapid learning process turned out to be difficult, time consuming and, at times, very frustrating, Minniva worked her way through it, becoming stronger and more confident as a result of her struggles. Although many of her early concerns are distant memories now, she continues to overcome obstacles to this very day... only now, with the gleeful determination of a survivor who knows she can handle whatever is thrown her way.
Once she had educated herself on the technical and administrative aspects of making a video for online consumption, she eagerly began work on recording her first YouTube video. So obsessed with everything she had to learn, and everything needed in order to create her YouTube channel, fourteen-hour work days were not uncommon in the beginning! As she improved her production skills, her childhood fascination with clothing, costumes and design would often help lift her videos from mere studio takes into the realm of proper "music videos," with their own themes and storylines.
In May 2015, Minniva launched her YouTube channel and posted her first metal cover shortly thereafter; she has uploaded one video every week ever since, with few exceptions. Although her main passion is for the metal genre, Minniva appreciates a wide variety of music. And while she is best known for covering metal bands like Kamelot, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence and Sabaton (to name but a few), Minniva's clean, wide-ranging vocal style has allowed her to cover genres like rock, pop, jazz, Christmas, soundtrack and even show tunes!
Of Foundations and Friendships
In October of 2015, Minniva began what has become a long-term collaborative arrangement with guitarist and arranger Quentin Cornet.
Quentin heard Minniva's voice for the first time back in 2015. He was visiting Plamen Dimov's facebook-page (Plamen Dimov is sometimes referred to as "Pappa Nightwish," for it was he who first discovered Tuomas Holopainen's talent.) and spotted Minniva's cover of Evanescence's "Lithium."
Quentin, when he didn't have guitar lessons or concerts with "Dog Days", the band he was playing with back then, had made an instrumental cover of Nightwish's "Ghost Love Score" in his spare time. After hearing her cover of "Lithium," he reached out to Minniva via Facebook to see if she would be interested in providing vocals for the track.
Their first cover they released together was H.E.A.T.'s "1000 Miles" in December 2015. Later, in February 2016, they released Quentin's arrangement of "Ghost Love Score." In March of 2016, Quentin flew to Norway to work with Minniva in person for the first time. They recorded and filmed the Within Temptation song "Shot in the Dark" in the little cabin where Marit lived; they released this cover in April 2016.
After the success of these three covers, their professional relationship and growing friendship worked well enough that forging an ongoing partnership was the next logical step. After making six covers together, Minniva asked Quentin in 2016: "I have wish, and that is to make this channel so successful that I will be able to pay you one day, Quentin. Do you want to share my leap of faith and make this into our full-time job?" Quentin said "Yes!" without hesitation and they have been working together ever since.
The first money from their joint venture came at the beginning of 2016. This was a huge relieffor Minniva; she could finally pay Quentin for all the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices he had made for the project. In fact, she sent every dime to Quentin for about eight months before she even considered to taking out anything for herself!
It was from these humble beginnings came the strong foundation of the Minniva Official Channel as we know it today.
Of Collaborations and Destinies
In addition to her successful YouTube channel, Minniva has also been involved with other projects, lending her voice to artists like Pellek, Alexander Rybak, Aldaria and Orion's Reign. She has also performed at weddings and funerals, and has held concerts with various local musicians. Her success has also drawn attention from international musicians, allowing her to collaborate in a variety of ways with other artists such as Mr. Jumbo, Abigail Stahlschmidt, Alexander Rybak, Garrett Peters, Tommy Johannson, Pellek, and Christos Nikolaou.
Alexander Rybak: "It's wonderful how coincidences bring people together. Via the YouTube network "Nordic Screens", I was recommended to greet a talented musician who calls herself Minniva. Little did I know then how inspired I was going to be by Marit's courage, work ethic and not least creativity. She taught me that if things stagnate then only oneself can do something about it. She also taught me how to chorus oneself forty-four times, so that the result sounds like a symphony. Marit masters the underground as well as the sky, and I look forward to following my musical soulmate. "
The Lithuanian guitarist known professionally as "Mr Jumbo" first ran across Minniva when he discovered one of her Nightwish cover songs on YouTube in early 2016. Originally from Kuanas "The Coolest City in Lithuania," Mr Jumbo's career involved a range of projects, bands, albums, tours, videos and everything that the music business encompasses. However, when it comes to working with Minniva, he had this to say: "It is a real honor and pleasure to work with such a talented human."
On the other hand, there is Christos Nikolaou, the guitarist/composer of the band Mythodea. Roughly three years ago, Christos had been hired by his friend Kirk Gazouleas of the Greek band, Orion's Reign, to mix and master a Christmas song featuring Minniva on vocals. Although he had no idea of who she was, he was impressed with her beautiful vocals and remembers asking: "Who is this incredible singer?" However, it wasn't until the release of the Christmas cover that Christos discovered her YouTube channel. His first full introduction came via Minniva's cover of Nightwish's "Eva," and after reviewing more of her work, thought that working with her directly would be a great idea.
"I was currently into few small projects and making few covers of my own" he said. "So, because of these covers, we got in contact and about one year ago, we started our collaboration." Christos and Minniva have worked together on several successful projects and hope to do more in the future.
"I can say that I'm very proud of the collaborations as they were all picked with care. I love working with talented people as it improves my own skills and often yields amazing results. I'm proud of the covers Minniva and I have made; I love each one of them and I'm very happy that she was brave enough to accept my approach, which can be bold and risky. I consider a cover more than just replica of a song; I try to create something different, bringing my own soul into it and I'm very thankful for her trust and hard work!"
She has also drawn the non-musical support for help with her web pages (Maxim Larivière), text editing (Barry Filter), After Effects (Scott Neily), Photoshop Retouching and Editing (Roonato Silva), photographers (Frøy Ø. Nilsen / Maëva Brifflot / Kevin Chappuis and AlexanderK ) and Social Media ( Quentin Cornet and Kevin Chappuis ).
Minniva's YouTube channel now has over 230 videos spanning covers of 60+ artists, totaling aboute 60M million views; this, plus the support from her Patreon Page, as well as plays from iTunes and Spotify playlists, now allow her the luxury to create new and unique arrangements for covers, which has freed her from the limitations of stock instrumental.
Ever onward and upwards, future projects include more live appearances and working on original material for a debut album.
Quentin Cornet, Maxim Larivière, Scott Neily, Barry Filter, David Gjester, Renato Bernardo, Alexander Rybak, Tommy Johansson Sabaton, Garrett Peters, PelleK, Plamen Dimov, Daniel Carpenter, Angel Wolf-Black, Andrew Wrengel, Louis Viallet, Leo Peña, David Olivares, Mark Hvid, Charly Urso, Johary Narimanana, and many more !