Herkedal is a young artist with a veteran soul. His songs are rich with evocative nostalgia and timeless musicianship, but he also appeals to a contemporary audience to the extent that he won the TV talent contest IDOL in his homeland of Norway. Since that moment, he has stepped away from the spotlight to master his own artistic direction, a process that is today completed as he shares his debut EP Wild Raspberries & Plum Trees. Listen HERE.
We’ve previously been beckoned into Herkedal’s world with the singles When Heaven Calls, Rabbit Hole and Weeping Willow. Those three songs have put a spotlight on Herkedal’s inimitable world, a richly textured soundtrack of chamber pop, jazzy flourishes, soul and modern pop, all topped by an idiosyncratic voice which dances from booming baritone to the tenderest of soulful croons within a single phrase. His lyrics are just as distinctive as his music, whether he’s writing an end-of-life symphony for a women he met while working in a care home (When Heaven Calls), daring himself to take a gamble that could change his life (Rabbit Hole) or finding sanctity in sadness (Weeping Willow).
Check out live living room session performance of the EP’s closing track Weeping Willow below:
The EP’s title track and new single Wild Raspberries & Plum Trees is the heart of the project, its luscious, dramatically orchestrated pop transporting us to a sonic safe space as Herkedal’s words conjure images of a beautiful nature environment. And it’s one that has special personal significance to him too.
Herkedal says: “The idea when we started this project was me picturing my grandmother’s garden. She died in 2019 and she lived up in the mountains in the west of Norway. Her garden was filled with fruit trees, wild raspberries and it was a paradise for me and my sisters growing up. So the EP is kind of a picture of my grandmother’s garden, which I really love.”
The EP is completed by another new song in the shape of Beauty In It All. Feeling like the opening to a gothic musical, its slow motion melancholy makes for a haunting first chapter ahead of the more euphoric and flamboyant moments that follow.
Herkedal wrote four of the EP’s songs with producers Kristoffer Lo and Myrtoula Røe. The exception was Weeping Willow, which he co-wrote with producer duo Andrea Louise Horstad and Bjørn Helge Gammelsæter.
Inspired by Nina Simone, Laufey and Sufjan Stevens, Øystein Herkedal was still a teenager when his mix of covers of RY X and Tom Odell with his own originals helped him win over the nation during IDOL. Most artists would have quickly capitalised on such a breakthrough, but Herkedal’s musical passions were a step apart from chart-bound pop. Instead he studied at the prestigious music school LIMPI where mentors include artists such as Dagny and Kiesza as well as acclaimed songwriters and producers such as Fred Ball and Amund Bjørklund. He focused on developing his live band too, leading to a high impact live debut at Vill Vill Vest, which inspired Norwegian tastemakers Gaffa to state, “It is no exaggeration to say that Herkedal has a voice that few in the country can match.” He has since performed at Trondheim Calling and by:Larm.