It was while browsing the library in her hometown of Espoo that a thirteen-year-old Wagner, who was born in Ethiopia but moved to Finland as a baby, found herself drawn to records by blues legends like Skip James, Son House, Jr., and Robert Johnson.
“I just liked the song titles,” the now-24-year-old explains from Finland (she’s getting ready to leave for Austin, where she’ll be making her U.S. debut at South by Southwest on Wednesday). “They were called things like ‘Devil Got My Woman’ and ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’,” she continues. “I like anything dark like that.”
Inspired by her new Delta-blues heroes, Wagner, who has been playing the violin since she was seven, began writing her own doom-laden tales of woe.
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