there is too much sex in the music industry and aurora wants to change that

The 19-year-old singer is the swirling northern light guaranteed to make you feel all the feels.

by Francesca Dunn
14 September 2015, 2:36pm

There's no better time to interview a musician than when they've just performed and you're both still floating on a glorious high. I joined Aurora in a small studio under East London's railway arches for her vevo dscvr session recently and beautifully illuminated, moving like a dancer, she poured her heart out and almost made me cry. "I had shoes when I came in here, right?" the talented Norwegian softly asks post-session, looking around in the half-light for her platform clogs.

With a gentle but very clear voice, there's something ethereal about Aurora that goes way beyond the name and the Scandi accent, and it immediately feels like I'm speaking to a young Bjork. With her ever-expanding fandom of warriors and weirdos, the master of butterflies and moths has already won a prize for Best Female Role Model, been shouted out by Katy Perry, become accustomed to life on tour, and released her debut EP. Ahead of her London show this Friday, we insist that you get to know Aurora and her refreshingly geeky, creepy, wonderful ways.

I heard you add 'may the force be with you' to the radio spots you just recorded… are you a big Star Wars fan?
I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings.

So you must be pretty excited about the new Star Wars?
I'm so excited! I'm gonna be there watching in costume. I usually dress up as R2D2 or Darth Vader, because I think they're so cool. I have an R2D2 costume but it's not the sexy one you know, because that's not my style… it's like a box with a hat and I'm gonna get this thing that makes the sounds.

Amazing. How has your life changed in the past year?
It's very strange because I've sort of had to learn a new way of living. One year ago I could have a week off and just be home and watch TV and read books and just do nothing for a long time. Now it's not like that at all and I have things to do all the time. In Norway I have fans and they like to take pictures and it's very strange. I'm happy that I can do this because I know what I want to do, and it's a great opportunity because I need to say important things so that I can make a change. I'm very passionate about it now because it's about more than just me. 

What change would you like to make in the world?
Well, everything! There are so many things that could be better. People get very carried away and think they can totally change the world but you can't do that, there are too many horrible things, so I'm just gonna start with the small things. I'm already collecting money to help prevent animal abuse, and then I'm gonna choose a different project to support every year I think.

Your songs are like little tales. Have you always written stories?
Yeah, I was a weird child…

The best people usually were!
Yeah? Well I was a very strange child so telling stories was a way for me to make people like me. I've always liked scary and magical stories, so I made up scary stories for my classmates. Then I decided to add a melody to them, because of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and soon the stories were less from my imagination and more from reality.

You already won a prize for Best Female Role Model. Who would you say is your female role model in the music industry?
I think nowadays there's too much sex involved. Of course the body is beautiful but I think people are representing the body in the wrong way. They're not owning it themselves, they're giving it away to everyone, which isn't something to be proud about. So I think that's a shame. But I love Kate Bush and Bjork, they're amazing.

Do you prefer performing to camera with no audience? Or do you like to have a crowd?
Well if you had asked me a year ago when we started then I would've said that this is much better. I always prefer to be in the studio or writing at home, that's my favorite part of life in general. But when performing now I can see how beautiful it is to tell your stories to people and to cry with them and to make them feel things that you feel. It's very lovely. So my favorite performances are when there are about a hundred people so I can talk to everyone and see everyone. It's not that scary anymore because I think more about the audience than myself. It's still a bit scary but not so much that I pee my pants, which is good.

That is good. You said you like to watch the audience react to your music… do you still get emotional when you perform?
Yeah! Very emotional. I've had many happenings in my life, so there's always a day where there's a reminder of something, which makes it harder. And if you see people that really feel it then you start to cry as well because you can see their sadness from up on stage as well.

You're finishing your debut album at the moment. What would it be the ideal soundtrack for?
Something sad, because it's quite dark. I have a few songs that are almost rocky, but more like Viking. It's a heavy, dark and emotional album, but there are two or three happy songs, which balances it out. So maybe Game of Thrones? Because that's also dark, sad, medieval and intense. I have a few morbid songs too.

Which character from GoT do you think you're most like?
All my friends tell me that I would be Daenerys, but I think that's just because of my hair.

And your affinity with dragons?
Yeah, I love dragons, obviously. But I don't think I would be a queen. I think I would be Arya, or maybe Tyrion; small and…

…full of good advice? What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
I think the one that's very important to me was from my mom and actually made me try this whole music thing. I didn't want this lifestyle at first but she came to me and said that she always felt all these things when she heard my songs and that it's good for humans to feel because we're very uptight and afraid to cry. But I think we need to cry. And music helps us cry. She told me that it would almost be selfish to not share it with people, because my music can help people. I think it was a really nice way of thinking and it made me take the first step.

Finally, I noticed earlier, between takes, that you were whistling that creepy Kill Bill twisted nerve song?
Yes! I love that! It's in my head all the time. I like the way it's so cute and creepy all at the same time. I like to whistle it as I walk to my hotel room and hope that people in the rooms hear me as I walk past.

francesca dunn
music interviews