While I am delighted over and over again by the discovery of
new artists, I am rarely plunged into an inspiration that alters my outlook
on the world. But such a rare captivation did consume me this week, and
19-year-old Norwegian Aurora Aksnes was responsible.
My first exposure to AURORA
was her cover of Oasis’s “Half
the World Away” featured in this year’s poignantly wonderful John Lewis Christmas advert.
(This wildly popular video catapulted AURORA to number 11 on the UK charts, and
helped publicize her European tour.)
the story in this advert held most of my attention, I couldn’t help but notice
the pure character and exceptional pitch of the singer giving voice to the commercial.
I did a quick search to find the song and artist and blessed YouTube directed
me to her music video “Runaway”. I sincerely hope you have never heard this
song before, because watching it in conjunction with the video yields to
something much more ethereal than experiencing either form in isolation.
If you’re more interested in melancholy acoustic sounds, she’s
mastered that domain as well, with arresting visuals to match. “Murder Song (5,
4, 3, 2, 1)” is gritty and raw, and its music video featuring black-and-white
butterflies fluttering around a tortured AURORA is mesmerizing.
Both these delicately desolate videos capture feelings that pertinently
embody the coldest season of the year. I intend to put AURORA on all my wintertime
playlists (including Christmas Carols, because “Half the World Away” decidedly
counts as one now that it’s been in a Christmas commercial.)
On December 4th AURORA posted a celebratory photo
to her her exclusive fan community, “Warriors and Weirdos”,
with the caption “We’ve finished the record!! Magnus, O.
Martin and me are going out for some sushi. It’s a sushi kind of day today.” (Her charming personality is
an added bonus to the insider access of being a member on this page.) Sadly,
this post doesn’t indicate much about the forthcoming album’s U.S. release date.
But you can keep yourself apprised by following her Twitter, Facebook and aesthetically splendid
If you are hesitant to check out AURORA’s live videos
because of her adolescence and inexperience with the stage, I would urge you to
overcome that reservation. She is both impressive and adorable live, as
evidenced by this set for NPR:
AURORA is as cosmically stunning as the natural phenomenon that
shares her name. She is a vocal and visual wonder whose brilliant (and
self-written) songs simultaneously transport listeners to the majestic vistas
of Norway and the darkest depths of human suffering. But AURORA does not cast
sadness in a troublesome light. She handles it gently and imaginatively, with an
artful acknowledgement of its inevitable impact on our lives. This is why listening
to her music is not a depressing escapism, but a stirring reimagining
of the tumultuous and beautiful privilege it is to be alive.