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Nils BechPhotography Benjamin A. Huseby

Meet romantic, vulnerable Norwegian singer Nils Bech

The multi-talented singer, musician and actor combines soaring, operatic vocals with the sound of cutting edge club music – watch his new video for ‘Glimpse of Hope’

“Glimpse of Hope” is one of the most immediately striking songs from Nils Bech’s latest album Echo, but he considers it to be relatively straightforward. “It tells the story of someone who won’t admit that ex-lover isn’t into you anymore,” he explains, “So you keep clinging on, looking for glimpse that gives you hope, so you postpone the grief and heartache.”

Bech is a Norwegian singer, musician, and actor whose background is in classical music. Despite spending years of his life wanting to be an opera singer, he eventually turned his back on the classical world after feeling stifled by its strict adherence to the ‘rules’. Yet this background informs all of his work, with Echo – his fourth full-length since 2010, and the first to be given a significant release outside of Norway – juxtaposing Bech’s stunning, classical vocal and delicate string arrangements with contemporary electronic production crafted by Drippin, best known for his glassy, high definition club and rap beats. Lyrically, it sees Bech shift his focus away from the autobiographical nature of his previous records to a more observational style that looks at the way that people around him have struggled with love.

In the new video for “Glimpse of Hope”, shot by Ida Ekblad, the lead character (performed by model and mutual friend Jakob Landvik) plays house in the director’s home in Ekeberg, Oslo. We caught up with Bech to talk about the video and to get an insight into his world.

What’s your background as a vocalist?

Nils Bech: I used to do classical music form the age of 10 until I was 21. I always thought I would become an opera singer, so it was quite a shock for me when I realized that it actually was something I wasn’t that comfortable with – too many rules. It took me many years to figure out what kind of singer I wanted to be, to stop thinking about singing techniques and hitting every top note perfectly. I guess at some point I realised that for me, singing is about telling a story, to address an emotion – and when I realized that, I started making my own music. 

“I always thought I would become an opera singer, so it was quite a shock for me when I realized that it actually was something I wasn’t that comfortable with – too many rules” – Nils Bech

Tell us about the ‘Glimpse of Hope’ video.

Nils Bech: Let me pass this one on to the director, Ida Ekblad...

Ida Ekblad: Nils and I have this friend in common, Jakob Landvik. He is a beautiful young guy. He dresses like me sometimes. I thought it would be fun to let him run loose in my house in Oslo. He mows the lawn, tidies the kids’ room, gets groceries, shaves his legs – all the stuff that I do during the week. Then he plays PlayStation, makes a collage, uses my clear eyes and my underwear. In the video he impersonates me and my teenage brother, my daughter and my mom. At one point he talks to the neighboring guy (his crush? his dad?), played by my boyfriend. The concept of the video is ‘house’.

What can you tell us about the song itself?

Nils Bech: The song is kind of straightforward. It tells a story of someone who won’t admit that their ex-lover isn’t into you any more. So you keep clinging on, looking for glimpse that gives you hope, so you postpone the grief and heartache.

You’ve released three albums in Norway already. How did you approach this one differently?

Nils Bech: My previous albums has been autobiographical. On Echo, I wrote about the people around me, and the way they struggle with love – so it’s echoes of them. But I’ve also included some echoes from my past, with the two last songs on the album (‘Jealousy’ and ‘A Sudden Sickness’) taken from my previous albums Look Inside and One Year.

“I love the mix between the romantic harmonies, the vulnerable lyrics and the intense beat. Romance + vulnerable + intense = love” – Nils Bech

How’d you hook up with Drippin for it? I’d previously known him as more of a club producer, so was surprised by how well his sound gelled with your songwriting.

Nils Bech: I contacted him about doing some remixes for my previous album, so we sat down for coffee and during the conversation we both realised that it would be much more fun to do something new together. We started with two songs, but then it worked out so well that he ended up producing seven out of nine tracks on the album, together with another amazing Norwegian producer and composer Øyvind Mathisen. I love the mix between the romantic harmonies, the vulnerable lyrics and the intense beat. Romance + vulnerable + intense = love.

What’s the common thread that ties the albums together?

Nils Bech: They’re all about love.