At 14, not many can do what Beata Ernman does with her voice. She soon demonstrated her singing talent in Stockholm as a young Edith Piaf – alongside her mother, who was known as an opera singer. Beata’s sister is also known: Greta Thunberg. The sisters Greta Thunberg and Beata Ernman have a lot in common: from the love for family dogs to shared childhood memories to many a mournful moment. In 2019, the two young Swedes suddenly separated from a huge ocean: While Thunberg traveled to America with father Svante in the fight against the climate crisis, Ernman stayed at home in Stockholm with mother Malena to work on his own music career alongside school. The result is astonishing on both sides of the Atlantic.
On September 19th the musical “Forever Piaf” premieres in a theater in Stockholm. Starring: Beata Ernman. Greta Thunberg’s little sister can be seen and heard as a young Edith Piaf until the end of November – alongside her mother, who will embody the older version of the Piaf. “I danced and sang as long as I can think back,” said Beata Ernman. Edith Piaf’s music accompanied her childhood. “It is a dream come true that I can perform their immortal music.”
In the footsteps of mom
The 14-year-old is thus pursuing a career similar to that of her mother: Malena Ernman is known as an opera singer in Sweden and has represented the ABBA country at the Eurovision Song Contest. Music always played a special role at Ernman-Thunberg, especially for Beata. And while her sister’s climate war got bigger and bigger, the girl released her debut song “Bara du vill” (“If you only want to”) in May. “So proud of my super talented sister,” Thunberg wrote on Instagram at the time. So far, almost 190,000 people have listened to the song on Spotify.
If you look them in the face, the similarities of the sisters cannot be overlooked. Her voices, on the other hand, are fundamentally different: While Greta Thunberg speaks quietly and cautiously, Beata Ernman has a very strong voice at the age of 14. This is demonstrated by the video of a vocal rehearsal published by the Stockholm theater, in which she smashes the Piaf classic “Non, je ne regrette rien”.
On Instagram, the young Swede diligently shares moments from a teenager’s life. However, by far not everything was funny in her childhood, and like her big sister, this also has to do with mental illnesses: As a child, she always had sudden tantrums, which her mother wrote in the family book “Scenes from the Heart” as “meltdowns” – that can be translated as collapse – describes. Beata calls her mother “You stupid bitch!” and even worse, it is highly sensitive, especially when it comes to noise. Everything often has to be completely silent, otherwise the young girl will explode.
There are sad phases that the family has to go through twice: First, the parents struggle for Greta’s mental and physical health, Beata receives little attention during this time and withdraws. “I thought something was wrong with me,” the girl said on a TV4 talk show. After long investigations, she was finally diagnosed with ADHD with features of Asperger syndrome as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder and defiant behavior. The clear diagnosis made it easier, says Beata Ernman. “It was like an explanation for everything.”
Her mother recognized something else during this difficult time. “She lives and breathes music and dance,” she writes in “Scenes from the Heart”. As an opera singer, she knows no one with a better hearing than herself – “except Beata”.
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