Jutta Irene Ruonansuu
January 5, 1985
Sea Lapland, Kemi, Finland
|Alma mater||University of Oulu|
Jutta Irene Ruonansuu (born January 5, 1985), known professionally as IRENE, is a Finnish musician, songwriter, composer, music producer, and art-pop artist. IRENE is best known for her work in the original theme song “Wars Untold”' that she wrote for the war documentary “Untold Arctic Wars”.
IRENE is the founder of the record label Sonic Peace, which has released all of her songs. She rose to popularity with the release of her debut single and music video Keep on Walking, which emerged onto Finland’s 50 most viral tracks on Spotify right after its release.
IRENE is regarded for her unique songwriting skills and her attempt to incorporate her personal experiences in her work – which is often said to be hauntingly beautiful, vulnerable and powerful. IRENE writes, composes, and co-produces all her music.
Early life and education
IRENE was born on 5 January 1985 in Sea Lapland, Kemi. She grew up as the only child of the family and showed an early interest in music. IRENE started taking classical piano lessons when she was 5 years old and fell in love with the realm of keys. At the age of 10, she was chosen by a teacher who turned out sexually abusive. The student-teacher relationship lasted a decade. It left IRENE with a strong foundation of classical music, but also a heavy trauma that took her another decade to overcome.
IRENE continued her education after graduating from the local music school in Lapland in 2004 and later received a Master's degree in Literature from the University of Oulu in 2010. She studied art history, visual arts, and women's studies in addition to literature. From 2015 to 2017, she studied at Complete Vocal Institute, Copenhagen.
IRENE released her debut single titled Keep on Walking in 2017. The music video received acclaim for being hauntingly beautiful and was even listed in Finland’s 50 most viral tracks on Spotify. The highlighting feature of this video was the metaphorical allegory to her personal life: She burned her old grand piano as a symbol of a healing rite and the beginning of a new era.
Soon, IRENE released more singles: Nightless, The War Is Over, and Skybound which were later included in the HEAL EP. IRENE revealed that her first full-length album, "Slow Bloom," would be published track-by-track. Thus far, the three singles released under this album are Human Experience (2020), Boundaries (2021), and Wars Untold (2022).
IRENE has contributed majorly in the creation of her music videos, incorporating original visuals. All her songs are released under her own record label Sonic Peace. She has also become a force to be reckoned within the music industry, gaining recognition for her creative philosophy. Critics and music blogs have described IRENE as the lovechild of Björk, Fever Ray and Kate Bush.
IRENE has played carefully chosen occasions in Finland and abroad, such as music video festivals and conferences. In the fall 2019 she played shows in PIANOS New York, in collaboration with the American Guild of Music Supervisors.
The award-winning creative house NTRNZ Media Ltd commissioned IRENE to write and produce the original theme song for the international war documentary Untold Arctic Wars in 2020. She collaborated on Wars Untold alongside Noah Rosanes, a Danish-American producer and mixing engineer, and Davide Rossi, a three-time Grammy-winning orchestrator who has worked with industry giants like Coldplay, U2, Alicia Keys, The Verve, and Goldfrapp.
IRENE had just found out she was pregnant with her first child shortly after being invited into the project. She had intended to keep her motherhood a private, but when working on Wars Untold, she recognized that motherhood was one of the song's most powerful motives and sources of inspiration. The music video, which also acts as a promotional trailer for Untold Arctic Wars, features IRENE's baby daughter. The rights of Untold Arctic Wars have been sold to Svt, NRK, DR, and The Walt Disney Company thus far.
|1||Keep On Walking||2017||Single|
|3||The War Is Over||2019||Single|
|5||Heal||2020||EP (4 songs)|
In the media, IRENE has openly talked about her long process of reclaiming her own voice and being able to make music again. She has stated in the media that her relationship with the piano is still complicated because the sexual assault and piano studies were always entwined. Playing the piano feels very private and vulnerable to her, yet still her songwriting process always begins at the piano.
In the media
- "IRENE - Artist, Composer & Songwriter". natfluence. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
- "Muusikko Jutta Ruonansuu: "Lapsuuden soittotunnit aiheuttivat trauman, joka vei suljetulle osastolle"". www.lily.fi. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- Hastings, Hailey (18 June 2021). "It's New Music Friday Time Once Again". The Honey POP. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
- "New Indie Music from Finland". Music Finland. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
- "Suomalaisartisti IRENE sai Coldplayn ja Alicia Keysin orkestroijan tiimiinsä – syntyi suurtuotannon tunnuskappale, joka valloittaa pian maailmaa". Yle Uutiset (in suomi). 2 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "Yin Your Skin® – Sounds from the North". Katja Kokko. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
- "YleX Nosteessa: Esittelyssä Irene, joka haluaisi sinkkunsa soimaan #metoo -teemaiseen elokuvaan". yle.fi (in suomi). Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "Kemin kaupunki, älä leikkaa siipiä unelmilta". Muusikkojen liitto (in suomi). 17 April 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "Kun Jutta Irene Ruonansuu luki opettajansa teoista lehdestä, hän ei ollutkaan enää erityinen". www.iltalehti.fi (in suomi). Retrieved 28 March 2022.
- "Irene - Nightless (Video)". Popmuzik (in svenska). 31 October 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
- "Nordic art pop musician IRENE unveils 'Skybound' music video | New Music". Music Crowns. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
- "IRENE on New Single 'Skybound', Studio Sessions & Upcoming Debut Album". CROOKES Magazine. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "IRENE – Human experience". Popmuzik (in svenska). 11 September 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "Finnish Alt-Pop Artist IRENE Discusses "Boundaries"". CelebMix. 21 June 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
- "Kun Jutta Irene Ruonansuu luki opettajansa teoista lehdestä, hän ei ollutkaan enää erityinen". www.iltalehti.fi (in suomi). Retrieved 25 March 2022.
- "Televisioarvostelu | Jykevä, sodanvastainen Vaietut arktiset sodat -dokumenttisarja kertoo toisesta maailmansodasta etenkin Suomessa ja Norjassa". Helsingin Sanomat (in suomi). 16 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- "Vaietut arktiset sodat- sarjan tunnuskappaleen teko sai kemiläislähtöisen Irenen syöksymään toisen maailmansodan syövereihin". Kaleva (in suomi). Retrieved 28 March 2022.
- "Kemin kaupunki, et selviä ilman kulttuuria". Muusikkojen liitto (in suomi). 29 April 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- Rintala, Mirja (10 February 2022). "Oululaisyhtiön dokumenttisarja paljastaa toisen maailmansodan kauheudet pohjoisessa – "Niistä on kerrottava, jottei historia toistu"". Ilta-Sanomat (in suomi). Retrieved 31 March 2022.
- "Irenen uusi single tähdittää kansainvälistä dokumenttisarjaa – taustajoukoissa Coldplay-orkestroija - Rumba.fi". www.rumba.fi (in suomi). 4 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
- "NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY - 31.10.18". Mystic Sons. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
- "Nordic singer Irene releases an interstellar new song "Skybound"". Wonderland. 20 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2022.