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Mixing frosty electronic textures, spare beats, and clear, emotive vocals, singer/songwriter AURORA works in a similar dark pop milieu as artists like Oh Land, Lykke Li, and Lorde. Her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, went to number one in her native Norway upon its release in 2016. The follow-ups Step 1: Infections of a Different Kind and Step 2: A Different Kind of Human reached the Top Ten. She went on to contribute songwriting and vocals to the Chemical Brothers album No Geography and sang ethereal backup soprano to Idina Menzel on the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen II (and live on the 2020 Oscars broadcast) by the arrival of her mythology-inspired fourth album, The Gods We Can Touch, in 2022. AURORA also recorded a soundtrack to the video game Sky: Concert in the Light. Born Aurora Aksnes in Stavanger, AURORA began writing music and lyrics at a young age, eventually releasing her debut single, "Awakening," as a 17-year-old in late 2013. Honing her live show and building on the momentum from the song, she issued the follow-up single "Under Stars" in late 2014. She signed with American label Glassnote and U.K.-based Decca for her debut EP, Running with the Wolves, which arrived in the first half of 2015. The singer/songwriter then came to further prominence after covering the Oasis track "Half the World Away" for the 2015 John Lewis Christmas ad before following up with her debut full-length, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, in 2016. Led by the European hit "Runaway," the album charted across Western Europe, topping the chart in Norway and reaching the Top 30 in the U.K., as well as cracking the Billboard 200 in the States. The follow-up, 2018's Step 1: Infections of a Different Kind, saw her integrating more down-to-earth themes, including politics and sexuality. It returned her to Norway's Top Ten, peaking at number seven. Stepping away from her solo work, AURORA entered the studio with the Chemical Brothers, contributing to their ninth album, No Geography, which was released in April 2019. Her third LP, Step 2: A Different Kind of Human, followed on Glassnote and Decca in June of that year. In December, her profile received another boost when she sang on the song "Into the Unknown" from the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen II. She later appeared alongside Idina Menzel to perform the song at the Academy Awards in 2020. That year, she also released tracks including "The Secret Garden," the title song to a U.K. film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, and "Stjernestøv" ("Stardust") for an NRK TV series of the same name. The latter became her second Top 20 single in Norway, following 2015's "Runaway." Throughout early 2021, AURORA delivered a series of EPs as a thank-you to fans for "Runaway" topping 100 million streams on a leading streaming service: For the Humans Who Take Long Walks in the Forest, Music for the Free Spirits, Stories, For the Metal People, and Music for the Fellow Witches Out There. Later that year, she began releasing songs from her fourth full-length and had a featured spot on the Sub Urban single "Paramour." Themed around Ancient Greek mythology, the album The Gods We Can Touch arrived on Glassnote and Decca in January 2022. It was produced by the singer and long-time collaborator Magnus Skylstad, who also co-wrote many of the songs. Another Norwegian chart-topper, it also made it to number six on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Later that year, AURORA issued the non-album single "A Potion for Love," then composed the video game soundtrack Sky: Concert in the Light. She then kicked off 2023 with a guest spot on Tom Odell's single "Butterflies."
© Timothy Monger & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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