LDS Pop Star from Finland to make International Debut
Her life and songs testify to her conversion to the Gospel
Jonna Pirinen's conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ showed a remarkable transformation to the people in her native Finland, where she is a successful pop star known simply as "Jonna."
Today Jonna is broadening her audience, having relocated to the United States to write her first English-language album. She hopes that the experience will provide new opportunities to share her faith and collaborate with those of similar values.
"In the beginning, I was known as a racy, rebellious teen who danced around in a bikini and sang about my family troubles. Since my conversion, I dress modestly and sing about how much I love my family, and that we can be together forever."
In 2003, Jonna (pronounced "Yo-Nah") participated in a Finnish reality TV series called "Popstars." In this talent search, Jonna won a place in a group with three other female vocalists. After some conflict, Jonna parted ways with the band and signed as a solo artist with Sony BMG. Under this label, Jonna enjoyed success with three popular albums and several successful singles and music videos.
Jonna's conversion to the church was something she kept private at first. "When the rumors were out that I was planning on joining the Mormon church, the media started harassing me about it and because it was all too new to me, I didn't know what to say but 'no comment.' We turned down a lot of interviews, but it didn't keep them from publishing the stories. The LDS church is so small in Finland, that people often see it as a strange, suspicious cult. And the parents of my Finnish fans may have approved of me less after my conversion than before!"
"I originally took the discussions because I thought the Elders were nice, cute boys. They provided service at the day care where I worked between the filming of 'Popstars' and the release of my album. I thought I would save them from Mormonism!"
Jonna investigated the church for one year before deciding to be baptized. "It started with me changing my life. I was done with the lifestyle I was living and finally ready to try out the standards that the Elders had been teaching me about. From there I opened my heart and gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophets."
Earlier this year, Jonna's mother passed away after struggling with alcoholism for many years.
"I'm dedicating my new album to my mother. This album is about me sharing songs with her because we do have a lot in common and I have been writing songs about topics that she could very well relate to. Women will especially be able to relate to it, because I will have songs about knowing your worth and drawing boundaries in relationships; about finding yourself and growing as an individual."
As Jonna completes writing the songs for the album, she is seeking producers, managers, and agents with whom to collaborate. This time, rather than working with a major label she hopes to find sponsors who will help her release her album internationally as an independent artist.
"I know that because I have been faithful and willing to do what's right, my Heavenly Father will continue to bless me and I will be able to use the talents that he has given me for a great purpose!"
More information about Jonna can be found on her website http://www.jonna.fi.