Listen to Teenage Songstress AURORA's Deft Debut EP
Plus we talk to the preternaturally talented Norwegian about storytelling and getting mistaken for a 12 year old.
Norwegian electropop songstress AURORA is the embodiment of Aaliyah’s oft-touted adage: "Age ain’t nothing but a number." The up-and-comer is only 18, but her songs are svelte, sophisticated compositions that belie her young years. Although AURORA debuted first track, “Puppet,” back in 2012, she picked up traction last year with “Awakening” and “Under Stars.” Then Katy Perry have her a shout out on Twitter in March, providing additional boosted buzz.
Below is her debut EP, Running With The Wolves, out today via Decca, and streaming for the first time in full below. Her sound can be best described as a blend of fellow Scandi-pop girl Lykke Li, Bat for Lashes, and Florence + the Machine at her most sparse. Her vocals candy-sweet but enigmatic and occasionally menacing too. (And doesn't she look a bit like Chloe Moretz in that pic above?)
With her debut full length scheduled to drop this fall, we caught up with the teenager to talk age, the genius songwriting of Cohen and Dylan, and her music. What do these four songs have in common? According to AURORA, "they all contain a piece of my soul."
Noisey: What's your debut EP about? Is there a theme that resonates throughout?
AURORA: There is no theme. There are different stories and characters. [The stories include] a very morbid one, a dreamy one, an animalistic one and then a quite sad one. Each song represents different emotions. If emotions could be a theme that would be it.
You’re only 18 years old. Have people mistaken you for being older than you are?
When people see me I guess most of them think I'm 12. I have a childish face, which is totally fine with me. If they've only heard my songs or talked to me, without seeing the childish face, I’d get mistaken more often. I feel more at home talking to and old lady than a baby.
Your music takes in a lot of different sounds. Who are your musical influences?
Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. They write things that need to be written about, and I think it's important to write those songs. They're both storytellers. I like to consider myself as one as well.
When did you first share your music with others? Was it easy for you to do, or were you apprehensive?
It wasn't easy, but it was beautiful and terrifying on the same time. It was my mom, and she told me not to keep these stories to myself. People might need to hear them. It took me a few years, but that's when I found out being a musician could have a greater purpose!
Did you always want to pursue music? Or did you kind of fall into it?I've always loved writing songs, and I hope that love affair will never go away. I never dreamt about being on a stage or being a face people could recognize, but being able to tell the stories myself makes me happy: it’s another thing I've grown to love.
How have you built a following in Norway? How do you feel about your career transitioning to the US?
I kind of just fell into it! Things just started to happen. I guess it was Bylarm (Festival in Oslo) that started it all. It's scary to think about what might happen next, especially if anything happens in the States, but I'm ready to continue the journey, wherever it ends. As long as I can write I will be happy.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
[Hopefully] still writing songs. Maybe I’ll have a house in the woods. I’d love to be still traveling around singing my songs. Maybe I have even more people listening. I'd be happy to see my career grow, but it's not a goal [for me] to be the biggest artist in the world. I just want to write, and sing.