In January 2022, I released my fifth studio album, “Hus.” It felt okay, but not particularly great, despite all the work I had put into it. I was taken aback by my own lack of enthusiasm at the time, but I wasn’t particularly surprised either.
Three years had passed since I started a side project, which began with a writer’s block. I had become tired of myself and felt trapped in my own image. A question sneaked up on me. Did I actually like my own music? Or, more specifically: would I listen to it if it were made by someone else? No, probably not. The answer surprised me.
Listen to the song “Seven In The Morning” while reading the text.
It may seem like a brutal and somewhat depressing realization for a musician who has created a nice little career in what is described as quirky Southern Norwegian folk-pop. Starting with the radio hit “Håbløs” in 2010, a record deal with Warner Music, and releasing great songs such as “Sammen i Mørket,” “Æ vil heim,” “I verdens rigeste land,” “Bare min,” “Festen” and “Ville hesta.”
But instead, I felt relieved. I was finally honest with myself. Not bad for a Norwegian Southerner who, in line with the stereotype, might have a slightly annoying tendency to sweep complex issues under the rug.
The immense liberation came with the question I was now ready to ask myself: What kind of music do you want to make? I love bands and artists like Fleet Foxes, The Flaming Lips, Crowded House, Susanne Sundfør, and Super Furry Animals, to name a few. Do I have anything in common with such a company? I have no idea, but what is stopping me from trying?
So I got down to it. I started making songs in English and found that I had a different voice, one that I identified more with because I drew inspiration from the heart, not from my own idea of what kind of artist I was.
Three years have passed since a realization lifted a writer’s block. Since then, things have escalated. On May 19th, the debut album “The Island – Part One” will be released. The first part of a double album. Composed and recorded at home in Oslo and further produced, mixed, and mastered by my good friend, the great maestro Håkon Gebhardt.
Does this mean the end for Stian Fjelldal? By no means. I will still make and release songs in Norwegian. But with Birds Are Better, I have rediscovered my love for music. So it’s more than just a fling.