Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora Aksnes has been penning down songs and poems since she was just 9 and it was her mother who encouraged her to go on stage. A few years later she impressed people all over the worldwide web with the singles ‘Runaway’ and ‘Running With The Wolves’. Her debut album will be released in March 2016 and A Bit of Pop Music sat down with Aurora to talk about her story so far.
Did you always want to be a singer, as a kid as well?
Not really, but I have been writing poems and songs since I was 9. I actually didn’t feel like singing them myself and never dreamed of being on stage. I thought that if I was lucky I could write songs for other artists, but it was never my goal to become the artist myself.
What did convince you to go for it in the end?
I did this small performance in music class for my teacher and she said that I should record a song, so I recorded one for my mom and dad as a Christmas gift. Then my friend put it online without asking me and people started sharing it and I received a lot of positive feedback. Soon after a management contacted me and at first I was a bit skeptical. Then my mom came into my room and she told me she felt a lot of emotions when she heard me sing and that it helped her, like having therapy. She said it would be selfish if I kept that to myself and I thought if I could help people feel things, then I should try to do that.
Are you still working on your debut album? What will it sound like?
It’s almost done, but it has been a bit delayed. It will be released in March 2016. It sounds even more like me as it is quite emotional. It’s mostly a bit sad, but there are some angry and happy moments as well. I would say it almost sounds a bit schizophrenic as every track is so different to one another. Some were written when I was 10 or eleven and others more recently so you hear my complete journey so far. I moved towards a more acoustic sound and I even sampled the sound of the wind, trees and the rain for example. For me the stories are the most important. I want my songs to mean something. I hope to make people feel, because we are often too afraid to cry. Everyone always says they are fine, but you are not always fine. Music helps you to be in touch with your own emotions.
Are the dark songs you have released so far written from personal experience?
I mostly write about other people and their experiences. I’m very sensitive and I think a lot. If I know something bad is happening to a friend or people in another country, I can’t stop thinking about their suffering and it helps to write about it. It’s like I take other peoples’ emotions on as my own, but they are not my own experiences. I like to observe and hopefully that will make others feel understood.
“For me the stories are the most important. I want my songs to mean something. I hope to make people feel, because we are often too afraid to cry. Everyone always says they are fine, but you are not always fine. Music helps you to be in touch with your own emotions.”
What is the idea behind the song and video ‘Running With The Wolves’?
I am from the countryside and I grew up outside in the forests. In the city I saw how many people are actually constantly looking at their phone. We hardly even know what weather it is, because we are not paying attention to the world outside. It is kind of sad that we are so connected to the material and electronic stuff and I think many of us should be more attached to the quiet and beautiful nature all around us. With ‘Running With The Wolves’ I’d like to encourage people to follow their instincts instead of worrying about all the things they need or what other people think about them. Just be free!
You recently said in an interview that you think female artists are too much focused on showing their body. Do you hope to make a change in this?
What I said about that was actually put down a little stronger than I intended as I am not one to judge what other grown women do with their body or career. I actually think it is a progression that these days many women can do what they want, but it worries me that young people get influenced by what they see. You see girls who are just 9 years old already showing their bellies and wearing bras with socks in them, because they want to look like the stars they adore. Then I feel sorry for those kids that they did not have an innocent childhood like we did. People look up to artists and want to be like them and I just hope that nobody feels pressured to show their bodies because of this.
Do you personally feel responsible as a role model yourself?
Yes I do. I get messages from girls too who tell me I am their hero. If there are people around who want to be like me, then I want to be a good person for them so they turn out to be good as well. I hope to affect them in a good way and I consciously think about this.
People often compare your songs to little fairytales. If someone was to ever write one about your life, how would you want it to end?
My fairytale ends with me being happy and free, still making music at home, living on top of a mountain all alone, without any neighbors, drinking tea while I paint.
Read more about Aurora live in de Melkweg and at Melt Festival.