Aurora (singer)

Aurora Aksnes (born 15 June 1996),[2] known mononymously as Aurora (stylised in all caps),[3] is a Norwegian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Stavanger, Aurora released her debut extended play, Running with the Wolves, in 2015, through Decca Records.[4] Later the same year, she provided the backing track for the John Lewis Christmas advert, singing a cover of the Oasis song "Half the World Away". Aurora released her debut studio album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, in 2016. In 2018, she released her second extended play, Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1), followed by her second studio album, A Kind of Human (Step 2).

Aurora
Aurora Stavernfestivalen 2018 (191706) (cropped).jpg
Aurora performing in 2018 at Stavernfestivalen in Norway.
Born
Aurora Aksnes

(1996-06-15) 15 June 1996 (age 24)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2012–present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
Labels
Associated acts
Websitewww.aurora-music.com Edit this at Wikidata

Early lifeEdit

Aurora Aksnes was born in the Stavanger University Hospital in Stavanger, Norway, on June 15, 1996.[5] She spent her first three years in Høle, a small town where her parents, May Britt Froastad and Jan Øystein Aksnes, had lived for 15 years.[citation needed] In her house in Høle, Aurora developed her taste for nature, singing and traditional clothing, such as long skirts and hats.[5] Later the family moved further north in western Norway,[5] to a house in the woodlands of the Os mountains, a remote municipality in Hordaland, near Bergen. Aurora has described this place as “There are almost no cars and the roads are small and bumpy and there are lots of trees everywhere, it's very quiet and the internet is bad.”.[6] She has also compared it to the fictional land of Narnia.[7][8] When she attended school, her sisters—Miranda (currently her makeup artist) and Viktoria Aksnes (currently her costume designer)—worried that she could be harassed by other students, due to her personality and "weird" way of dressing.[9] “I used to be terrified of people who wanted to hug me,” she said. “I did not like to be hugged as a child. And I used to be terrified of one of my teachers at school, but then I met him a few months ago, and it was really nice. It’s weird how things change."[10]

Aurora is the only musician in her family. She started learning to play piano when she was six. "I really love classic music, and when I found this piano in the attic, I just started pressing the keys and trying to figure out my favorite classical songs. I started to make melodies that I recognized. There was something special about being able to play just by yourself – something about the emotion in it made me want to continue playing."[11] At age nine, when she had a better handle of the English language, she began writing songs.[7] Her first original composition was titled "I Had A Dream", which referred to how hard the world can be.[12][13] Songs such as "Running with the Wolves," "I Went Too Far" and "Runaway" were written in this early stage of her life, with "Runaway" being written when she was 12.[14] She has mentioned she was influenced by artists like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Enya, and The Chemical Brothers.[15][12]

CareerEdit

2012–2016: All My Demons Greeting Me as a FriendEdit

 
Aurora Aksnes at Green Man Festival 2015.

Aurora's first track "Puppet" was released in December 2012, followed by her second, "Awakening" in May 2013. Her first single signed to her labels Glassnote Records and Decca Records, "Under Stars" was released in November 2014, and "Runaway" followed in February 2015.

Her second single, "Running with the Wolves" was released in April 2015. She appeared at summer festivals such as Way Out West, Wilderness, and Green Man Festival. Aurora's third single, "Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)" was released in September 2015 and has received continued support in national press, on national radio and popular online music blogs.[16] Aurora performed at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Concert.[17] She has played a sold out headline show in London and supported Of Monsters and Men at Brixton Academy in November 2015.[18] Aurora recorded a cover of the Oasis track "Half the World Away" for the 2015 John Lewis Christmas advert.[19] Her next single, which came after "Half The World Away", was released in January 2016, titled "Conqueror" and a music video was uploaded the following month. Her debut album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend was eventually released on 11 March 2016,[20] receiving generally positive reviews from critics. After releasing it, she went on to embark on her European tour, making a number of visits to the UK in between. She featured in British band Icarus' song "Home" and released a cover of David Bowie's Life on Mars.

On 14 March 2016, Aurora made her American television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performing "Conqueror". Aurora soon after performed the track on Conan.[21] On 25 July 2016 she performed her cover of "Life on Mars" on The Howard Stern Show. The following night on 26 July, she performed "I Went Too Far" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

2016–2019: Two part albumEdit

 
AURORA singing at concert in Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway on 14 December 2017

When All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend debuted, Aurora said that it was "the first album of many". As of 12 May 2016, after coming back from her European tour, the singer announced that she was ready to begin writing and producing more material, which will form her second studio album. She stated in a Facebook event that she has fifteen demo songs and has written a thousand songs/poems. Since the announcement, Aurora has released "I Went Too Far" as a single. A music video for the track was released on 4 July 2016.

Between April and August 2018, the singer released two singles, "Queendom" and "Forgotten Love",[22][23] which would be included in the first half of a two-part album divided into "steps".[24] Aksnes recorded the album during her stay in France in January of that year, and the production included the producers Askjell Solstrand, Roy Kerr and Tim Bran, with Aurora herself also involved in this aspect.[25] Some of that new material was anticipated in live performances, including festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella.[26][27]

While maintaining some of the themes and stories of the previous album, this production would mark the first time that Aurora has incorporated themes of politics and sexuality into her music.[28] Most of the new inspiration came from the interaction that she had with her fans during her first tour.[29] The music video for "Queendom" saw its release in May 2018, which presented themes of inclusivity and empowerment of "the underdog", particularly her LGBT fans. In the video, Aurora kisses one of her female dancers to convey that "every type of love is accepted and embraced" in her "queendom".[30]

On September 28, 2018, the singer surprisingly released the first half of her second album on EP format,[24] under the title Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1). The EP features eight songs,[31] and the title itself comes from the eighth track included on it, which Aurora declared as "the most important song I've ever written".[32] A Different Kind of Human (Step 2) followed on June 7th 2019.

On 12 April 2019, Aurora contributed to three songs on The Chemical Brothers' ninth album No Geography.[33]

On 4 November 2019, the soundtrack to the Disney film Frozen II was released, with Aurora providing backing vocals on the song "Into the Unknown". On 9 February 2020 she performed the song onstage as part of the 92nd Academy Awards. She released her solo version of this song on 3 March 2020.

2020–present: New eraEdit

Aurora released in May 2020 the ballad "Exist For Love", which was presented as her first love song ever with a self-directed music video.[34] The song was made during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in collaboration with Isobel Waller-Bridge, who composed the string arrangements.[34] It was the first glimpse into what she described as "a new era" in her career, with the upcoming release of a new album.[35]

InfluencesEdit

Aurora has mentioned Enya, Bob Dylan, Underworld, Leonard Cohen, and Björk as her influences. She also stated in a BBC Radio 2 interview that she had great love for many Scandinavian metal bands, as well as David Bowie.[36]

Personal lifeEdit

Aurora has mentioned that she has been in relationships with men and women. When asked in an interview about her sexuality, she stated, "I just like to enjoy what is there, and I like to explore. Just love everything around you and you’re loving yourself."[37] Aurora's mother is a midwife and her father is a garage door salesman.[38] Aurora has two older siblings. Her sister Viktoria is a fashion designer, stylist, and blogger.[39][40] Her oldest sister, Miranda, is a makeup artist and former teacher.[41]

Aurora did not originally expect to perform music professionally, preferring to keep her music private: "I never really wanted to sing, or to be on the stage at all," she said. "I just wanted to write, maybe become a doctor or a physicist or something of that kind."[42] When she was 16, Aurora performed a "really long and boring song about world peace" at her high school's leaving ceremony and a classmate put the video online. Around the same time, a friend uploaded a track Aurora had recorded as a Christmas gift for her parents to SoundCloud.[7][43] These two songs were discovered by a representative of Made Management, a Norwegian management company, who invited Aurora to visit their office for a meeting in early 2013.[44][45] "At first I thought no," she recalls. "But then my mum said I should think about the idea of sharing my music with the world because maybe there's someone out there who desperately needs it. And that could actually be a good thing."[43] In a few hours, both songs received thousands of visits in Norway, which earned Aurora some recognition in her country, in addition to a fan base on Facebook.[45][11][46]   Aurora then set about working on her songwriting for around a year before giving her "first proper live performance" at a Norwegian music festival. "I don’t think I was born to be an entertainer, I used to really be afraid of playing live on-stage. Obviously it’s terrifying! But now I look forward to it every time. I’ve learned not focus on myself, cause it’s not about me. Now I only think about giving everyone the best experience. A magic moment."[10][47]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Title Details Peak chart positions
NOR
[48]
AUS
[49]
BEL
(FL)

[50]
GER
[51]
IRL
[52]
NL
[53]
SWI
[54]
UK
[55]
US
[56]
US
Heat.

[57]
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend 1 51 40 24 66 17 41 28 150 2
A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)
  • Released: 7 June 2019
  • Label: Decca, Glassnote
  • Formats: Digital download, CD, CS, vinyl
4 52 172 58 54 32 5
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Extended playsEdit

Title Details Peak chart positions
NOR
[48]
Running with the Wolves
  • Released: 3 May 2015
  • Label: Decca
  • Formats: Digital download
Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1)
  • Released: 28 September 2018
  • Label: Decca, Glassnote
  • Formats: Digital download, CD, CS, vinyl
7

SinglesEdit

As lead artistEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
BEL
(FL)
Tip

[50]
CAN
[58]
CAN
Rock

[59]
GER
[51]
IRE
[52]
MEX
Airplay

[60]
UK
[55]
US
[61]
US
Alt

[62]
US
Rock

[63]
"Awakening" 2013 Non-album singles
"Under Stars" 2014
"Runaway"[A] 2015 All My Demons Greeting
Me as a Friend
"Running with the Wolves"[B] 72
"Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)
"Half the World Away"[C] [D] 22 11
"Conqueror" 2016 49 47 32
"I Went Too Far"
(original or MK remix)
[E] 15
"Winter Bird"
"Queendom" 2018 14 Infections of a Different
Kind (Step 1)
"Forgotten Love" [F]
"Animal" 2019 A Different Kind of
Human (Step 2)
"The Seed"
"The River"
"Apple Tree"
(original or Georgia remix)
45
"Daydreamer"
(original or KDA London Dub)
"Into the Unknown"
(with Idina Menzel)
15 39 31 19 46 Frozen II OST
"Exist for Love"[35] 2020 TBA
"The Secret Garden" The Secret Garden OST
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artistEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
BEL
(FL)
Tip

[50]
2016 "Home"
(Icarus featuring Aurora)
Non-album single
2017 "In Bottles"
(Kölsch featuring Aurora)
[G] 1989
2020 "Cynical Mind"
(Gundelach featuring Aurora)
My Frail Body

Promotional singlesEdit

Title Year Album
"Puppet"[H] 2012 Non-album single
"Warrior" 2016 All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
"Scarborough Fair" 2018 Deus Salve o Rei (Música Original da Série de TV)
"A Different Kind of Human" 2019 A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)
"Walking in the Air" Non-album promotional singles
"Into the Unknown"[67]
(solo version)
2020

Other appearancesEdit

Year Title Album
2016 "Life on Mars"[68] Girls Vol. 3 (Music from the HBO Original Series)
2018 "Ascension"
(Atella featuring Aurora)
Beacon One EP
"Baby Mine"[I] Dumbo (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Songwriting creditsEdit

     indicates an un-credited lead vocal contribution.

Year Artist Album Song Co-written with
2016 Travis Everything at Once "3 Miles High" Fran Healy
2019 The Chemical Brothers No Geography "Eve of Destruction"[69] Edward Simons, Thomas Rowlands, James Calloway, Leroy Jackson Jr., Nene
"Bango"[70] Edward Simons, Thomas Rowlands
"The Universe Sent Me"[71] Edward Simons, Thomas Rowlands
Askjell To Be Loved "To Be Loved"[72] Askjell Solstrand

Music videosEdit

List of music videos, showing year released and directors
Title Year Director(s)
"Runaway" 2015 Kenny McCracken
"Running with the Wolves" Scratch
"Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)" Kenny McCracken
"Half the World Away"
"Conqueror" 2016
"Home" Jackson Ducasse and Grace Lambert
"I Went Too Far" Arni & Kinski
"Winter Bird" Simon Thirlaway
"Queendom" 2018 Kinga Burza
"Animal" 2019 Tim Mattia
"The Seed" Michael Hali
"The River" Nick Walters
"Eve of Destruction" Marcus Lyall and Adam Smith
"Apple Tree" Rianne White
"To Be Loved" Sophia + Robert
"Exist For Love" 2020 AURORA

FilmographyEdit

Feature filmsEdit

Year Title Role Note
2019 Frozen II The Voice

Short filmsEdit

Year Title Role Production
2015 Into the Light Herself Greg Kotler (Kasafilms)
2016 Nothing Is Eternal The Fader
2018 Once Aurora Flimmer Film
2020 Daydreamer Intro music Apple WWDC 2020

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Note
2017 Creeped Out Narrator AURORA's voice was featured in series 1 trailer
2018 En gang Aurora[73] Herself Documentary

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Organization Award Work Result
2015 EBBA Awards '16
by Eurosonic Noorderslag
Album of the Year: Norway Running with the Wolves Won
Public Choice Award AURORA Nominated
2016 Spellemannprisen '15 Årets Nykommer (Newcomer of the Year) Won
Gramo scholarship Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Norwegian Act Nominated
GAFFA-Prisen Årets Norske Album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend Won
2017 Spellemannprisen '16 Popsolist (Pop Solo Artist) Won
Årets Album Nominated
Årets Musikkvideo (Music Video of the Year) "I Went Too Far" Won
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards Best Song/Recording Created for Television "Life on Mars" (Girls: Episode 505) Nominated
2018 Spellemannprisen '17 Music Video of the Year "Queendom" Nominated
2020 Spellemannprisen '19 Årets Internasjonale Suksess "AURORA" Nominated
  • 2014.4.8: A scholarship of 50,000 Kroner from the Festivalen by:Larm's Forbildepriser ("Exemplar Prize")[74]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Runaway" is included on the EP Running with the Wolves.
  2. ^ "Running with the Wolves" is included on the EP Running with the Wolves.
  3. ^ "Half the World Away" is included on the Deluxe edition of All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend.
  4. ^ "Half The World Away" spent 3 weeks as an extra tip on the Ultratop Bubbling Under chart.
  5. ^ "I Went Too Far (MK Remix)" spent 4 weeks as an extra tip on the Ultratop Bubbling Under chart.
  6. ^ "Forgotten Love" spent 4 weeks as an extra tip on the Ultratop Bubbling Under chart.
  7. ^ "In Bottles" spent 4 weeks as an extra tip on the Ultratop Bubbling Under chart.
  8. ^ Credited as Aurora Aksnes.
  9. ^ Trailer only, not released for sale or streaming.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Aurora Aksnes". Brak. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ Silje Kathrine Sviggum. "En fri fugl". Magasinet, vedlegg til Dagbladet 2019.06.29. Oslo. p. 28-35.
  3. ^ "AURORA". Spotify. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Aurora Announces Debut EP Titled Running with the Wolves". Pastemagazine.com. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
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  6. ^ "Singer Aurora on her debut album and the John Lewis Christmas advert". The Independent. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Petrarca, Emilia. "Meet Aurora, the Mythical Lovechild of Björk and Grimes". W Magazine. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  8. ^ Nast, Condé. "Meet the Rising Pop Star With "Norwegian Viking Hair" That's Bringing Back the Stealth Buzzcut". Vogue. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  9. ^ AURORA - Nothing is Eternal (A Documentary), retrieved 18 October 2019
  10. ^ a b "Aurora learns not to sweat things on All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend". The Georgia Straight. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b Darwin, Liza. "Popular TV - The Anti-Social Network". Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b Vincent, Alice (5 November 2015). "Who is Aurora, the 19-year-old Norwegian singer for the 2015 John Lewis Christmas advert?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Running with Aurora". Interview Magazine. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  14. ^ iamAURORAVEVO (14 December 2015), AURORA - Into The Light, retrieved 20 June 2016
  15. ^ Christopoulou, Danai. "What You Should Know About Norwegian Pop Singer Aurora". Culture Trip. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  16. ^ Butler, Will. "Check out chilling 'Murder Song' from Norwegian singer, Aurora". gigwise.com.
  17. ^ Harshavardan, Rathan (18 March 2016). "Album Review: Aurora – 'All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend'". Cultured Vultures. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Of Monsters & Men hit the road with Highasakite & Aurora!". 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Norwegian singer Aurora covers Oasis' 'Half The World Away' for John Lewis Christmas advert – watch". Nme.com.
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  24. ^ a b "AURORA - INTERVIEW #151/1)". du SON dans mon SALON. 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2019. My new EP is the first half of a whole album, the first part of a whole adventure
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  27. ^ "Aurora fez um show místico e cheio de amor no Lollapalooza 2018". Capricho (in Portuguese). 26 March 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
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  29. ^ "Coachella 2018: AURORA Talks "Queendom" & Her Sophomore LP". Idolator. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Enter norwegian dreamer aurora's queendom in her intimate new music video". i-d (Vice). 2 May 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
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  33. ^ The Chemical Brothers - Eve Of Destruction (feat. Aurora) (Glastonbury 2019) on YouTube. BBC Music (30 June 2019).
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  37. ^ O'Flynn, Brian (13 September 2018). "Aurora interview: 'None of my songs are about me'". The Independent. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
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  64. ^ a b "Certified Awards" (To access, enter the search parameter "Aurora" and select "Search"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
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  67. ^ Aurora's Siren Song Breaks Through on New Solo Version of 'Into the Unknown' From 'Frozen 2'
  68. ^ "Life on Mars by AURORA on Spotify". Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  69. ^ "ACE Repertory". www.ascap.com.
  70. ^ "ACE Repertory". www.ascap.com.
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  73. ^ "NRK TV – En gang Aurora". Retrieved 7 June 2019 – via tv.nrk.no.
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External linksEdit

Awards
Preceded by
Emilie Nicolas
Recipient of the newcomer Spellemannprisen
2015
Succeeded by
Astrid S
Preceded by
Susanne Sundfør
Recipient of the pop artist Spellemannprisen
2016
Succeeded by
Cashmere Cat