Silje Nergaard

Silje Nergaard - Photo: Mathias Bothor

Silje Nergaard – Photo: Mathias Bothor

The phalanx of Norwegian female jazz singers – although please do not put the word jazz singer on a gold scale – is a legend. Their figurehead for many years is Silje Nergaard.

She is one of the most successful European jazz singers. Already as a 16-year-old she performed in 1982 at the most famous festival of her homeland – Molde. Her musicians: the orphaned band of Jaco Pastorius. Then Pat Metheny discovered the singer and helped her get her first record deal. Since her debut album “Tell Me Where You’re Going,” with which she climbed to No. 7 in the Norwegian pop charts in 1990, it’s hard to imagine the genre-spanning Scandinavian music scene without her. She is one of the very few jazz protagonists who also enjoys great popularity in the pop world, because any kind of blinkers are foreign to her.

The Norwegian with the soft voice is known for her soulful perfectionism and for the fact that in her songs she also thinks seriously about life in our world.

After more than 30 years on stage and more than 15 released albums, Silje Nergaard now presents with her latest album “Houses” again a real high-caliber, full of music and lyrics that go close, arouse feelings, but always swing optimistically.

“Houses” is a concept album about hopes, dreams, love and longing for the future, with which Silje Nergaard musically processes her personal impressions, experiences and thoughts during the first year of the Corona pandemic. “At a time when the world was collapsing and we were all cut off from normal everyday life, I, like most other people, experienced long stagnant days at home. It was a time that was intense and so very different – a surreal situation.” That’s why Silje Nergaard took long walks in the streets around her. Everything was so unusually quiet there, a strange atmosphere. She would look in the windows and start thinking about the people in the houses with all their different stories and lives, which eventually inspired Silje Nergaard to write song lyrics. These may often be personally colored, but ultimately the singer looks beyond her own horizon in them, and so her fourteen pieces are a reflection of all of our lives over the past months.

“When I realized that life outside was at a standstill, I knew I had to find the magic within myself. Getting into a state of creativity was not only meaningful, but in my case, necessary. I felt a strong need for expression in this particular time, without interruptions, with the possibility of pursuing long thoughts, composing songs for months…. and to be in them even when I went for a walk…. (in fact, I composed even while walking). As an artist, it was inevitable to express these stories and the resulting atmospheres in my own music.”

Changes open people’s eyes, but we learn from these situations. Most of us live in countries where we are free to do what we want. Since Corona, we have to learn that there can be restrictions, that freedom can have limits. But that because we want to protect ourselves and our fellow human beings. “Being a musician is part of being human… we grow, we change, we evolve, and of course Corona has affected all of us, in different ways, and some people’s stories are hard and have left big wounds. But I think maybe we all learned something personal about ourselves in the process, we were forced to look at ourselves and the world from a different perspective for a long time.”

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