Back in 2015 the John Lewis Christmas advert featured a cover of the Oasis song ‘Half a world away’, performed by Aurora. This advert is actually quite a big thing in the UK and every Christmas it becomes a water cooler conversation. Over the years there have been some pretty good cover versions and the odd original, these are the ones released as singles:
|23 November 2009||“Sweet Child o’ Mine”||Taken by Trees||23|
|12 November 2010||“Your Song”||Ellie Goulding||2|
|11 November 2011||“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”||Slow Moving Millie||31|
|9 November 2012||“The Power of Love”||Gabrielle Aplin||1|
|10 November 2013||“Somewhere Only We Know”||Lily Allen||1|
|6 November 2014||“Real Love”||Tom Odell||7|
|6 November 2015||“Half the World Away”||Aurora||11|
|10 November 2016||“One Day I’ll Fly Away”||Vaults||53|
|10 November 2017||“Golden Slumbers”||Elbow||29|
|8 February 1971||“Your Song”||Elton John||7|
you may remember the Aurora track from 2015:
Anyway, the point I was getting to was that I had no idea who it was singing but saw the advert repeatedly that Chritmas and there was something about her voice that I really liked, but I never really investigated any further, I’ve no idea why.
I did see this about a year ago where she was covering Massive Attack, and doing it very well. Again I didn’t investigate any further.
Cut to last week and I did this:- Your F***ing Sunny Day where I included a track by Aurora (Apple Tree) which put her back in the forefront of my mind so when a few days later I saw this in HMV reduced to £9.99 I picked it up.
So, some detail, basically from Wikipedia, Aurora Aksnes (born 15 June 1996), known mononymously as Aurora (stylised as AURORA), is a Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer. She spent much of her life in Os, Hordaland county, Norway.
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.” 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. 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. “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.” In a few hours both songs received thousands of visits in Norway, which earned Aurora some notoriety in her country, in addition to a fan base on Facebook.
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.”
I opened the album when I got home and it was a nice surprise to find that it was a nice clear blue vinyl:
There’s an interesting genealogy to why I would like this album, at least I think it interesting. During one of my many charity shop visits looking for CD’s I picked up a copy of Body Talk by Robin, a performer I have paid absolutely no attention too really, but I popped the CD on in the car for my journey to work and, despite it being further towards Pop that I normally listen to, I really liked it, in fact, it’s a fabulous album. What it did was open me up to more music that drifts into the pop spectrum, and it opened me up to the song ‘The River’, the opening track of the album, which I swear I’d heard before but can’t remember where or when.
I think what I like about the music that Aurora is producing is that while it clearly has many pop elements it still seems to retain and outsider feel about it as though it is a stream meandering alongside a river of pop but never quite joining it. She also seems to be rather quirky, and I like quirky.
The more I listen to this album the more I like it, it’s a quick grower, which is not always a good thing but I think in this case if Aurora continues the way she is then she could well become a Bjork like musician who continues to make and break her own rules, which the music industry needs. Homogenous music is a boring dead end, we need difference.
The Seed (above) is a lovely, but quite scary view on our current environmental crisis and has a very simple point to make, and it makes it very well, ‘You cannot eat money”
Just like the seed I don’t know where to go
Through dirt and shadow, I grow|
I’m reaching light through the struggle
Just like the seed I’m chasing the wonder
I unravel myself All in slow motion [
You cannot eat money, oh no
You cannot eat money, oh no
When the last tree has fallen
And the rivers are poisoned
You cannot eat money, oh no
|A3||Dance On The Moon|
|B2||A Different Kind Of Human|
Here is a great performance from this years Glastonbury festival, an event I will never get to go as tickets sell out in a nanosecond.
0:40 – The River 4:22 – Churchyard 8:56 – All is Soft Inside 14:12 – Warrior 18:10 – Soft Universe 23:25 – Runaway 27:51 – Apple Tree 31:40 – The Seed 36:27 – Forgotten Love 40:15 – I Went Too Far 44:21 – Queendom 48:27 – Running with the Wolves
This is a raw feed from Glastonbury 2016 on the John Peel Stage, it starts at 20 minutes so scroll forward, fabulous performance.
1 – Black Water Lilies 2 – Warrior 3 – Winter Bird 4 – Under the Water 5 – Runaway 6 – Under Stars 7 – I Went Too Far 8 – Running With the Wolves 9 – Conqueror
She has an authenticity, or at least that’s what I perceive, that I really like and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she does next.