The biggest star you’ve never heard of
Bergen DJ Kygo has vaulted from remixes to international fame in a mere three years
The Norwegian American
If you have not heard of Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, you might know him by his iconic stage name Kygo or recognize his unique sound on the radio. This young Norwegian DJ and music producer with origins from Bergen is a well-known and acclaimed Electronic Dance Music (EDM) star who quickly rose to fame both at home and abroad.
His rise to fame is breaking records. In 2015, he became the fastest artist to hit one billion streams (listens) on Spotify, a popular music streaming platform. He achieved this within just one year of releasing his first single.
Kygo and his rapid rise to stardom started with remixes made in the family home in the Bergen area. He released his first single, “Firestone,” featuring Conrad Sewell at the end of 2014. “Firestone” garnered attention internationally and led to his debut on worldwide charts. This young man in his mid-20s can now boast of his music reaching billions of streams across online platforms. Currently, his top hit is “It Ain’t Me,” which made it to the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard chart and has over 500 million streams on Spotify alone.
Kygo wears many hats, as he is a songwriter, musician, DJ, and record producer. He is credited with creating a new music genre called tropical house, but his music can also be characterized as EDM or deep house, and he is now making his way into the pop-scene with his latest singles “It Ain’t Me” with Selena Gomez and “First Time” with Ellie Goulding. Last year, Kygo launched his new lifestyle brand called Kygo Life, which includes merchandise, clothing collections, headphones, and snapbacks.
How can an artist be so huge and yet so relatively unknown? As Amos Barshad wrote in a Billboard cover story in 2016, “You may have never heard of Kygo. You may have never heard the term for the sound he invented: tropical house. But you know it. The kid born Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll popularized the effervescent congas and pan flutes that set apart, most prominently, Justin Bieber’s career-revitalizing, first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single, ‘What Do You Mean?,’ and Felix Jaehn’s remix of OMI’s ‘Cheerleader’ (another 2015 No. 1 smash).”
Kygo has several notable performances under his belt, such as the EDM festival TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more high-profile venues such as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and the Closing Ceremonies at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In 2015, Kygo won the Spellemann award at the Norwegian Grammy Awards.
Signed with Sony Music/Ultra, Kygo released his debut studio album titled Cloud Nine, which features several well-known artists and collaborators, including Foxes, Angus & Julia Stone, and John Lennon. He is on track to release a new album this fall. Kygo has enjoyed great Norwegian and international success with his own hits “Firestone,” “Stole the Show,” “Nothing Left,” and “Here For You,” which you can find online on iTunes, Spotify, and other platforms.
What do you think of Kygo’s relaxed and melodic electronic house style?
Further reading / viewing / listening:
• “Kygo on His Rise to Fame—‘I Have to Enjoy It While It Lasts,’” Billboard, link: www.billboard.com/articles/news/cover-story/6882495/billboard-cover-kygo-rise-fame-dance
• Kygo: Stole the Show, documentary available on iTunes, link: itunes.apple.com/us/music-movie/kygo-stole-the-show/id1259108856?app=music&gclid=Cj0KCQjwwevLBRCGARIsAKnAJvfvLrxHEsVnsEzjSgsbQPVS7l7TrikLpVMhNcbfszOi0d3krHwGEskaAifAEALw_wcB
• Key to Success, NRK documentary, link: tv.nrk.no/serie/noekkelen-til-suksess/MKMF40000415/sesong-1/episode-4 (in Norwegian)
• “Firestone” music video, link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sc-ir2UwGU
• “It Ain’t Me” music video, link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3VTKvdAuIY
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 8, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.