Strike a chord with Aurora
With her spellbinding voice, Norwegian electro pop singer-songwriter Aurora fights for those in the margins.
When Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora was asked to cover the Oasis song “Half the World Away” for British retailer John Lewis’ Christmas commercial in 2015, she shot to stardom almost overnight. Then 19, Aurora had just released her debut EP “Running with Wolves” to critical acclaim in her homeland.
Despite the ensuing whirlwind of gigs and praise, W magazine called her the “mythical lovechild of Björk and Grimes,” the 22-year-old has remained true to her mission in life.
“I’ve always thought that I can save the world and the environment and help others through making meaningful, beautiful music,” says Aurora.
One of the best examples of this is her 2018 dance single “Queendom,” an ode to life’s underdogs, which has been downloaded into the millions.
“One of my secret superpowers is my ability to have space for many people in my mind and heart.”
“It’s a celebration of the people who today’s society is not built around. They are the quiet, shy people, the introverts. The world is based around those who are very loud – we like them for some reason. I am fighting for everything that can’t fight for itself, which is children, animals, sometimes women and sometimes men, and the planet,” she says.
Where it all begins
Aurora Aksnes grew up in a small village surrounded by forest and ocean near Norway’s Lysefjorden, which means “fjord of light.” Indeed, her first name comes from nature’s spectacular light show, the Northern Lights, which seems fitting as her swathe of songs are like twinkly lights of hope.
She began making music when she found an old electric piano in the family attic. At age six, she was creating melodies; by age nine, she was writing songs.
Her mother May Britt is a midwife, while her father Jan Øystein is a salesman. Her two older sisters also share the Aksnes’ creativity gene: Miranda is a makeup artist and Viktoria is a fashion designer. A close-knit family helps her keep it real as her international fame grows.
“My mother, father, and sisters – my family is a safe place with honest, real people. I feel very grounded with them,” she says.
For Aurora, these human qualities are what she treasures in herself.
“One of my secret superpowers is my ability to have space for many people in my mind and heart, to think about and care for them. That’s something that makes me happy,” she says.
Yet, social situations can be hard for the singer who needs plenty of time to recharge.
“I’m an introvert and that’s quite a challenge because I like to be alone. This job and this life is quite a contrast to that.” She balances her busy international touring schedule with spending time in nature when she’s at home in Norway.
“Mother Nature is my biggest inspiration,” she says. “Nature is the closest thing there is to true magic.”
Text Katja Pantzar
Photos Kim Öhrling