It was in that hospital that I made the decision. Death was just a rumour until then. Now, my father was dying, for real. A human being that had been there all my life. I heard him speak words like: “Maybe I have three months”. It felt so unreal. The truth is curative, and death is a truth like no other. We became very close those last days, my father and I. All the bad from the past seemed to have been wiped away and I was so glad to be able to give back.
Death itself, though, was a shock to my system. Sitting in the hallway of the hospital, by myself, life became urgent. Life became now. The number one question became: what do I want? The clarity was undeniable. And the answer was loud and clear: a music album. An album like the ones I used to buy in stores, with art work, lyrics, the works. I was so soaked in the clarity of the moment. The idea echoed in my body with a flow of warm energy and joy. This is it.
I had a few sketches and logic projects on my computer, loose ideas, but no idea how to do this. So I promised myself to just make an album – it didn’t have to be good at all. Just make an album with all the ingredients: 12 songs, lyrics, a cover with artwork. This really freed me up. As much of a fan I had been all my life of the greatest musicians ever, I needed that self-granted license sorely. The admiration that I had felt for world class musicians had both nurtured me and tortured me.
It was clear that I needed help, so I went a bass player and producer I knew in Berlin and showed him some of my tracks. This guy is so good, a virtuoso, on many instruments, fantastic feel, a groove master. Tech freak on top of all that. He has a great knowledge of all styles of music, access to tons of musical culture. My hands were sweating. He told me much later that he did not know what to do with me that day. How to turn these crumbles into an album? He was a little worried but said nothing. We got to work.
I remember going home one night from his studio after recording guitars on Oppoverbakken, my only song in Norwegian. I was so excited about it. It sounded like a work of art to me. I really expressed myself and it felt like heaven. My initial ideas had been worth pursuing. It was like I had been right all along. See, I told you.
Still, my father had to die in front of me before I made the step. I had to be confronted with the finite nature of life just to discover what my deepest dream was. I had to feel the preciousness of the fleeting moment, the gift of life on my skin. I looked death in the eye, and it inspired me. It emboldened me.
I am still very proud of that album, but I don’t know how I did it. Thinking back, I don’t really remember how we went from those messy quirky sketches to the final album. Only the exhilarating feeling. I had never done this before, but it felt right, and things just fell into place like by magic. Since then, I do believe that a state of gratitude, joy and excitement will produce miracles. And remember death if you want to feel alive!
I dedicated the album to my father.
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