PRETTY MAIDS singer Ronnie Atkins, who is battling stage four cancer, will release his new studio album, "Make It Count", on March 18 via Frontiers Music Srl. The music video for the LP's first single, "Unsung Heroes", can be seen below.
"Make It Count" will arrive almost one year to the day after the release of Atkins's last solo album, the critically acclaimed "One Shot".
Atkins stated: "Me and my great team of musicians followed exactly the same procedure as we did with 'One Shot', since I still feel a bit like I am racing against time because of my diagnosis. So, I basically sent my songs to Chris [Laney, producer], who would then work on a demo. When we were satisfied with the arrangements, I would then record the vocals and then the individual musicians laid down their tracks. I already had quite a few ideas from when 'One Shot' was released back in March 2021 and continued writing on and off through the spring and summer of 2021. The album was then recorded between April and October 2021
"Let me also state that I felt pretty good during the whole process, at least physically," he continued. "And this time, I had the chance to actually meet with some of the musicians in person because the COVID-19 restrictions were not as tough as they were back in 2020 when we recorded the last album."
As for the songwriting process, Ronnie said: "Once again, it was quite an easygoing process. Some of the songs were written on piano and some of them on guitar. I write the way I write, which means that the melodies and toplines are the first priority. If I feel I got a good song with the right chord structure and a strong melody that sticks in my head, then I know I'm on to something good and from there it can only get better. And that's when I send it on to Chris Laney, who then listens to it with a new set of ears and comes back with his input about the arrangement and additional little bits and pieces. As said, it is an easygoing process since we're on the same page and that's a great way of collaborating. Style-wise, it's basically just melodic pop/rock songs, so to speak, that we turn into something suitable for those who followed me all those years. To me, a good song is a good song and then it's a matter of how you wrap it up."
He continued: "Finally, the great thing about doing this is that I don't have to argue with anyone whether it's too pop or too lightweight, etc. I do what I do 'cause that's what I like and I'm my own boss for these solo albums and therefore also the only one to take responsibility if it doesn't live up to people's expectations. But this is what I wanna do at this stage of my life and I think I'm convinced that 'Make It Count' is a great melodic rock album and I hope the fans won't be disappointed."
As to the lyrical themes on the album, Ronnie said: "The lyrics are always the hardest part of an album from my perspective. It's way easier for me to write a song than a lyric, to be honest. But, of course, it varies. Sometimes you already have the title and the topic when you're writing the song and at other times you're just out of ideas. This time, it was tough at times since my health issues are somehow in my subconsciousness 24/7. No matter what I do, I'm being confronted with it every day one way or the other. So, some of the songs are touching on this issue, of course, can't help it. That said, I'm also trying to give it a positive twist, meaning that we just have to get the best out of life and love the one we're with while we're here. It's just impossible to write about sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll or whatever living with a life-threatening disease and a dagger hangin' above your head. Or it is for me, at least. So, bottom line, I guess the lyrical content on this album is partly about the aforementioned topics, the climate, and in general, topics that make sense to everyone without being political."
Ronnie Atkins: Lead And Backing Vocals
Chris Laney: Rhythm And Lead Guitar, Keyboards
Allan Sørensen: Drums
Pontus Egberg: Bass
Morten Sandager: Keyboards
Linnéa Vikström Egg: Backing vocals
John Berg: Guitars
Oliver Hartmann: Guitars
Pontus Norgren: Guitars
Anders Ringman: Acoustic guitars
01. I've Hurt Myself (By Hurting You)
02. Unsung Heroes
03. Rising Tide
04. Remain To Remind Me
05. The Tracks We Leave Behind
06. All I Ask Of You
08. Let Love Lead The Way
09. Blood Cries Out
10. Easier To Leave (Than Being Left Behind)
12. Make It Count
The 57-year-old Atkins was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 and underwent at least 33 radiation and four chemotherapy treatments in the fall of that year before being declared cancer-free. In October 2020, he announced that his cancer had returned.
In a 2013 interview with Myglobalmind, Atkins joked that the secret to keeping his voice in shape was "twenty cigarettes a day and little drink now and then."
Formed in early 1982 by Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer, PRETTY MAIDS' third album, 1987's "Future World", is still today regarded as a "classic."
During the ensuing years, PRETTY MAIDS continued to release albums usually followed by European and Japanese tours.
PRETTY MAIDS' latest album, "Undress Your Madness", came out in November 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.