TILL DEATH DO US (PART 1) EP
OUT SEPTEMBER 13
ERIN JEAN HUSSEY // Publicist
SARAH AVRIN // Publicist
Jen Akerman, a.k.a. dark-pop performer Final Child, has always known where she needs to be. Growing up in Sweden as a child, she felt a burning desire to move to the United States—Los Angeles in particular. Her need to get away was so visceral, she went so far as to wallpaper her bedroom with American flags and set her watch to West Coast time.
It wouldn’t be long before she made her big move. Once she turned 18, the multitalented Akerman, who is a model, singer, songwriter, and producer, arrived in L.A. and immediately set to work. Over the next decade, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed performer founded bands (first, the electro-rock Bella Tech, then the indie-pop Bloke & Bird) and played all over the city; she booked modeling campaigns with The Gap, American Apparel, Forever 21, and more; she spent time with family, like older half-sister, actress Malin Akerman; she eventually met her now-fiance, actor Tom Payne. All the while, she absorbed information: how to play guitar, how to sing, how to produce, how to be a self-possessed, manager-free, independent businessperson.
All of her efforts have culminated in a solo debut as Final Child, a bluesy, slow-pop outing that came about after her Bloke & Bird partner, Lorenzo Jansson Kilman, moved home to Sweden, leaving Akerman to figure out a next step. “I got to a point in my life where I was like, ‘Okay, I'm not fulfilled. I feel like I need to explore myself,’” she says. “I went through a dark phase for the first time in my life and started writing, for myself. Just messing around on the guitar. I needed that. I knew that I needed to go through the mud to kind of come out on the other end.”
Produced entirely by Akerman, her debut, the Till Death Do Us Part EP arrives on Sept. 13, 2019, and is home to seven slick, moody tracks that evoke the tense, passionate pop of fellow Scandinavian singers Tove Lo and Lykke Li.
Elaborating on her moniker, Akerman, who is the youngest of three, says: “I'm the final child of my family. I was the funny one, the goofy one. I was always standing out in some way, showing off and dancing. I was very stubborn. And good at doing things by myself. ”
Her magnetic energy comes through in full force on Till Death Do Us Part, which contemplates the idea of matrimony (Akerman recently became engaged to Payne, whose cool vocals show up on the EP on tracks like “Pill On The Tongue” and “Afterlife”) and opens with a series of spoken samples, voices that warn, "You're never gonna make it” and "He's gonna cheat on you.”
“That's how you kind of grow up a little bit,” Akerman says. “I watched my sister get married, I watched her get divorced. I watched my other sister break up. I was very romantic and I [still] am, but I was so disappointed. I was cheated on really young and it broke my heart to pieces.”
From there, she grapples with the idea of distance on the chilly “Girlfriend:Boyfriend,” which recalls a time when she had to spend long periods of time away from Payne, who frequently films on location. “We were apart a lot,” she remembers. “And eventually you’re like, ‘You know what? Fuck, I just want to feel something.”
The softly strummed “The Wounds” continues on that train of thought, with Akerman reflecting on the way our choices can catalyze heartache. “It was the first song that I wrote 100% from the heart,” she says. “Even though I'm very happy here [in L.A.] and I have this life and I have a man, we were apart a lot and I ended up feeling very lonely. And then I'm like, ‘You asked for all this. You choose your life. The only one who can be in charge of yourself is you.’”
Even so, Akerman is a perpetual optimist, always focusing on what’s possible. On the electro-tinged duet “Afterlife,” she and Payne trade verses about staying together in the event of an apocalypse. “Sometimes I look at the afterlife as a relief,” she explains. “I have friends of mine that have, unfortunately, killed themselves or have friends that have passed away. And you still have to celebrate the fact that we are here and we have been here.”
Indeed, for all of its existential reverie, Till Death Do Us Part is a symbolic commitment to life, to love, to career, and, most of all, to personal growth. “You know how you've gone through things in your early 20s and now you’ve become more of an adult? You can sit in yourself and think about the stuff that you've done. It's like I’m marrying myself and marrying this partner. With this project, I'm talking to myself: "Okay. 'Till death do us part. Let's do this.”