Louien‘s star continues to rise in Norway, and she’s making quite a splash in the U.S., too. The world premiere for her new video “Heart and Mind Alike” will be on DittyTV.com Sept. 16 with the Ditty Debut hitting the network Sept. 18 on The Curve, which begins at 10 p.m. CDT. DittyTV Senior Editor Tim W. Jackson caught up with Louien before the release of her world premiere here in our ongoing segment, Americana Around the World.
In conversations with Norwegian acts Sweetheart and Signe Marie Rustad, they both mentioned you as a top Americana artist in their country, so I guess it’s about time we got to the source! You’ve been known for your role in the highly regarded Norwegian Americana band Silver Lining since 2015. First, what can you tell us about the status of that group?
Firstly, I’m so happy to be mentioned by both Signe Marie Rustad and Sweetheart, they are such great musicians and I’m so happy to share the Americana scene with them here in Norway!
Silver Lining is currently working on something new! It’s been a little over a year since we released our debut album and now we are gathering new material for the follow up. I love this part of the process, just hanging out with my best friends playing and creating, figuring out where to go this time around.
What can you tell us about the popularity of Americana music in Norway right now, and who do you listen to in that genre?
To me it seems like Americana is finally getting the attention and respect it deserves in Norway. There is also a great number of Norwegian musicians working really hard to master the genre (in its many forms), making it their own while still appreciating its origins. I listen to Americana all day everyday, and always try to find new things to listen to! Some of my favorites right now are Erin Rae, Courtney Marie Andrews, and I’m With Her (I’m a sucker for female voices and artists in general). The Norwegian acts I listen to the most are Malin Pettersen, The Northern Belle, Darling West, and Signe Marie Rustad.
Let’s back up and get a more background on you. Where did you grow up and what are some of your first musical memories?
I grew up just outside Oslo, by the fjord, with my mother and my younger sister. My father lived in the city so I got some of that in me, too, but I spent most of my days in the woods or by the water. Some of my earliest musical memories are of my father singing. He was an actor and had the most beautiful voice, and he would always sing. All the time, as far as I can remember. I was an early singer, too, and we sang in every class at school (I’m a Waldorf kid, if that tells you anything) so music was always a big part of my life growing up.
What instrument did you pick up first, and who were some of your early musical inspirations?
My first instrument, apart from my voice, was actually the violin. I never really got the hang of it, so I moved on to piano. I played that for many years, but I never really understood the point with hours of practicing classical music, so I gave that up too, eventually. It wasn’t until I taught myself how to play the guitar around the age of 16 that I finally found an instrument that just felt “right.”
Your solo success is kind of unheard of in that you got bookings based on a demo. Tell us about how that all came about?
I’m actually not quite sure what happened. All I know is I’d been working for years trying to find a sound, write a song, create SOMETHING that would resonate with me fully, and when I wrote the song “Demo no. 1” I just knew I had struck that chord within myself. We were in the studio recording with Silver Lining and I just sat down after a session and we recorded the demo in just a few takes. But it wasn’t until over a year later that I put it up on Soundcloud that I started getting some attention and some amazing gigs. I guess I’ve been in the business long enough to have a network to be discovered and encouraged by in the first place, but I never anticipated anything like this.
Your music is great in a couple of ways. It’s a joy to focus on and really soak up the lyrics and nuances, but your voice is so lovely and the melodies have such a great, gentle flow that it’s perfect to just have on in the background as well. When people listen to your new album, None of My Words, to be released Sept. 20 what do you want them to take from the experience?
Thank you so much, I love that my music can serve different purposes! I don’t have a clear vision of what I want for my listeners to experience when they hear my work, but I guess I wish for them to feel like we’re communicating something real, something honest, and if they get an emotional experience of any sort then I’m thrilled.
What sorts of touring plans do you have set up to promote the album, and will you be making any appearances in the U.S.?
First up is a tour in Norway (starting up North in Bodø and Tromsø), and then I’m hoping for some shows abroad too, hopefully next year. I would LOVE to play in the U.S. sometime in the near future!
And finally, if we had a day to spend with you in Norway, what would we do to get a good feel for the area?
Oh my, so many wonderful places to visit it’s hard to choose. I love my hometown Oslo so much, but I’d probably show you my grandparents summer house on the west coast. I’d take you fishing (one of my favorite activities as a child), and then go for a long hike in the mountains nearby to see Preikestolen (look it up, it’s wild). Then we’d go spend the night in Stavanger, the city where my mother grew up. It’s filled with small white houses, charming streets, and a surprising amount of decent places to drink beer. All of this would probably happen in pouring rain—but I’ll show you how to dress properly while here.
Thanks a bunch. We wish you well on the album release and look forward to offering a world premiere of your new video!