Julie Bergan is a musical force, one that has been creating since she could think and singing since she could speak….and she’s just getting started.
This Norwegian singer and songwriter started her career at age sixteen in uploading YouTube covers. After releasing her 2012 single, “Supernova” with Cir Cruz – a track that climbed to number 5 on the Norwegian Singles Chart – and participating in the Melodi Grand Prix 2013 with her song “Give a Little Something Back,” she was signed. And she was only 18.
From there, Julie truly kickstarted her career upon releasing a multitude of singles, EPs, and performing at the world’s most famous music festivals. Meanwhile, one of her songs, “Arigato” became nationally known, taking home Norwegian Grammys. Turn on the Lights, her debut album, also became 2x Platinum. Overtime, she has amassed over 450 million streams on Spotify.
Julie has led 2020 with success. Having released “Outline” with Crazy Cousinz, “Don’t You Wanna Play?” with Seeb, and “Get to Know Me First” with Molly Hammer and AWA, she is off to a great start. “Commando” serves as another one of Julie’s 2020 releases – and it is an international hit.
Ladygunn had the pleasure of interviewing Julie on her success, artistic process, and “Commando.”
How are you and where are you?
I’m great! Right now I’m in Denmark with my family. Enjoying a few days off. 🙂
Growing up as the daughter of two musicians, how did music shape you and your upbringing? Do you view music differently now than you did as a child?
Music has been a really big part of my upbringing and everyday life ever since I was born. Singing and playing instruments together was always something me and my family did together, and is probably the reason I fell in love with it. It was something that brought us closer and kind of taught me how to express my feelings. I’ve always looked at music as something that will be there no matter what. It’s there to make me happy and it’s there to make me cry. It’s also very healing and therapeutic. I still look at music that way, but I definitely look at doing music for a living in a different way now than I did when I was a kid. Not in a bad way or anything, but it looked way «easier» and more dreamy before I did it myself. After I started doing music full-time I realized how much hard work it is and how many professions that actually go under the title «artist». It’s not just about being on stage and writing songs, but you actually run your own business and you have a lot of responsibility.
If you could say anything to your teenage self – when you first started to share your music with the world – what would you say?
Probably never stop believing in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. And don’t let everything get to you so hard. Everyone can’t like you, and that’s absolutely OKAY!
What was the inspiration behind “Commando?”
The word «Commando» was a nickname I got in Zanzibar a couple years ago from a local guy who thought I looked very strong and determined. I felt like there was so much power in that word, so when my producer Filip first showed me the beat, everything just fell into place naturally. The song is about being strong and taking charge of a situation! Sometimes it’s easy to get into situations where people wanna play games with you, so this song is the turning point where you take your power back. Call me Commando!
What does your creative process look like?
It can be very different from song to song. But my songs usually start with notes on my phone (I write down all kinds of stuff on my phone… Things I’m experiencing or going through, thoughts, feelings, dreams I have at night, just things that create a reaction for me, etc). I go to the studio, and me and the other people I’m writing with talk about everything that’s going on in our lives. Then I figure out what mood I’m in that day, or maybe I have something specific I need to get off my chest. We usually start with a few chords on the piano or the guitar, and we start humming melodies that I record on my phone. After we have the melody figured out, we do the lyrics.
Your music video for “Commando” features people from all over the world, coming together to dance and celebrate independence and empowerment. After receiving the influx of videos and support, how did it make you feel? And what does this video mean to you?
This video is very special to me. We all know everyone’s lives and the whole world has been quite different lately. Most of us have never experienced a «lockdown» or a pandemic. We’ve all gone through different challenges, and for a lot of people (including me), one of the challenges is definitely not being able to be social the way we’re used to, do shows, different activities, travel, etc. Therefore, I think it’s so beautiful to see that we can create something together, even though we haven’t been able to actually be together in person. People from all corners of the world are in this video. It’s like a creative, inclusive and empowering community online. Where we can have fun, dance and be ourselves. Since I haven’t been able to travel or tour, it’s been really uplifting to me to see so many peoples faces again. To see them jam out to my song! I love this video because of all the amazing people who contributed and made it perfect.
What kind of artist do you strive to be?
I strive for constant development. I always wanna be true to myself and my values. I always wanna work as hard as possible and be the best possible version of myself, both as an artist and as a human being. I really hope I can empower other men and women to stand up for themselves and know their worth. I also value making other people feel better and letting them know that it’s ok and absolutely normal to not feel good. I really hope I can be a good role model, and inspire others to work their ass off to make their dreams come true!
What do you think our world needs at this point in time? And what role does music play in fulfilling this need?
Equality. Racial equality and equality between men and women. As an artist and a «public person» I try to talk about this a lot. In my songs, on stage, in my interviews, in my social media, etc. We have to know our responsibility and power, and take it seriously. Hopefully we can make more people aware and spread consciousness.
What is next for you?
I’m releasing an EP in September that I’m very excited about. And then I’m going back into the studio for the coming months to work on more music coming in 2021!!
CONNECT WITH JULIE
photos / Paul Edwards
story / Taylor Thompson