Aurora is rising

If you haven’t seen Aurora Aksnes sing yet, there’s still time to discover this rising star

Photo: Decca Album art for AURORA’s debut studio album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend.

Photo: Decca
Album art for AURORA’s debut studio album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Singer-songwriter Aurora Aksnes made her U.S. debut on the popular Jimmy Fallon show on March 14, 2016. Not bad for a young musician, not yet 20, who hails from the small town of Os, Norway, population less than 19,000.

Dressed in a chic blush crop-top, accompanied with chiffon palazzo pants with Indonesian inspired front panels, and all touched with sweet lace accents, I was not sure what to expect, as I had never heard her music. She began singing “Conqueror,” about searching for a lover, a conqueror, “But he doesn’t seem to come my way,” from her new album All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend.

She began singing in a soft voice, solo, her hands in sweeping gestures singing along. I was unprepared for her unfettered exuberance as her confidence grew towards the middle of her performance. After singing “I feel alive… live… live” her feet broke free. She kicked and swayed, finally jumping off the stage platform—barefoot turning and hopping as her four backup musicians let go.

Jimmy Fallon’s reaction was priceless—joyful and exuberantly encouraging. Bursting out as soon as she finished, he said, “Oh come on! That’s what you want! That’s what you want right there!”

At the tender age of 10, Aurora began writing songs. She states that she has been influenced by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. It was her mother who urged her to share her music because it could help people. So at 12 she released “Runaway” as a single. A schoolmate believed so much in her talent that she uploaded it to a Norwegian streaming site. And her schoolmate did Aurora an enormous favor, as Made Management, a Norwegian firm, heard her song and quickly signed her with them.

Soon after, iconic Decca Records, label of the Rolling Stones, recognized her talent, releasing her first single with them, “Under Stars,” in 2014, with “Runaway,” and her first EP, Running with the Wolves, following in 2015. The latter is a very quiet piece. Here she sings accompanied with strings and soft drumming, so her clear strong voice is queen and her lyrics can be heard. In 2015, she sang at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

Aurora’s repertoire touches on fantasy, fairy tales, and myths: “Running With the Wolves,” “Puppet,” and her own version of the beautiful and haunting song “Nature Boy.” These subjects often come from a place of darkness, as expressed in her “I Went Too Far”: “I went too far when I was begging on my knees, When I cut my hands so you could stand and watch me bleed. I went too far and kissed the ground beneath your feet. Standing in my blood, it was a taste of bittersweet.”

Aurora is now touring throughout the U.S and Europe. She has already sold out in her Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, D.C., New York, Montreal, and Bodø, Norway, venues.

Perhaps Christina Why’s comment on Facebook explains why: “Oh gosh, AURORA, you are incredible! You are rising up like a phoenix! I can’t wait for the whole world to discover your magical musical powers like I did. Keep shining.”

For more info and tour dates, visit www.aurora-music.com.

This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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