If you’ve heard the featured single “Love him right” from the new film A Chance Encounter, then you’ve already heard the beautiful voice of Andrea von Kampen. Maybe you’re a longtime reader of our site and you know of von Kampen’s songwriting from some features we’ve done here. But let me tell you I am extremely excited for this talented songwriter to reach a broader audience with this film. If you love folk music, you probably already know Andrea von Kampen’s music and artful style. In this interview, I had a chance to ask about the film, the process, and the future for this wonderful songwriter.
The story of the film comes from the heartland of America in Nebraska. Despite the setting of the film being in Italy, the director Alexander Jeffrey and von Kampen met at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) where they began their creative partnership. This film is not their first credit together, as they collaborated on AVK’s music videos for “Portland” and “Motherland.” It was not at all surprising to hear that Jeffrey asked von Kampen to compose the soundtrack for A Chance Encounter. What did surprise me (and probably some readers), was that he also asked her to STAR IN THE FILM!
I asked von Kampen if she had acting experience and she laughed, explaining that she hadn’t done anything except musicals in high school and college (which counts, by the way). As we talked more about the film, the role sounded like a perfect fit. AVK plays a folk singer who had a hit song and then hit a songwriting wall and took a trip for inspiration. While on that trip, she meets a writer. It’s… you know… a chance encounter. They connect. If you haven’t seen the trailer, you can check it out here. It looks cute and like a nice film. But I wanted to know more about the experience of transitioning from a folk singer songwriter to a starring actress.
Before I say more, though, let’s be clear. The character Josie Day is not autobiographical. Andrea von Kampen is not playing “herself” in A Chance Encounter. The character that she plays is struggling with writer’s block as a central character trait in the film. All the while in reality AVK has been writing her own music, writing the soundtrack for this film, and forging on with several other projects. She’s downright prolific in her songwriting. She didn’t go to Italy to find magic. Her songwriting happens as a product of hard work, not “Hollywood magic.”
She explained that the process was a lot of fun. There’s not as much pressure on the performance for film because you have multiple takes to get it right. Also, since she has worked with Jeffrey and her co-star Paul Peterson in the past, it an engaging and enjoyable collaboration. It was such a good experience that she said she’s open to doing more acting in the future. AVK spoke with warmth about the project, which involved this new acting role as well as her familiar position of being a songwriter on the soundtrack. Since most of the music is folk music, I asked about what it was like writing for film.
The director proposes a concept for the film and it’s up to von Kampen to bring that vision to life in song. It’s a mix of personal musical style with something that fits the overall mood and message of the film. Also, she mentioned that some of the ideas were adapted from songs in the public domain. It doesn’t get more “folk” than to borrow melodies and ideas from the past to mold them into something for the present. It’s also worth noting that the songwriting for this wonderful soundtrack was completed four years ago, but it is fresh for listening ears now. If you haven’t heard the soundtrack yet, it is available on streaming platforms currently.
After we chatted about the film a bit, I had to take the opportunity to catch a glimpse of von Kampen’s career where it is right now. The good news is that there is a new album in the works, hopefully in 2023 with studio work early in the year. Along that vein, keep an eye out for tour dates in your area as AVK will be touring to play a mix of her catalog, song from the film, and her new material. Also, for those of you reading this in late 2022, keep watch for some holiday music as well.
When I asked about her musical and creative energy, she was glowing. She’s in a good place and I’m really glad to hear that. After a chat about the music industry (which often brings artists down), she remarked, “I just want to write good songs.” Her goal is to put in a little bit of work every day. She has been working diligently, writing for multiple projects coming down the line. It’s an exciting time to be an Andrea von Kampen fan.