Move Over Sweden, It’s Norway’s Turn To Dominate The Pop Music Scene

Get ready for the Nordic invasion

Photographed by Johannes Granseth and Øystein Grutle Haara

In Scandinavia, Sweden has been known to rule the pop scene, starting with chart-topping artists like ABBA, Roxette, and Ace of Base to more recent hits from Robyn, Lykke Li, Icona Pop, Avicii, and Tove Lo. Meanwhile, neighboring Norway has showcased a more modest number of transatlantic crossovers, ranging from A-ha, whose presence is relevant in karaoke bars across the globe, to the cooler electronic music leaders Röyksopp; and then there’s the comedy duo Ylvis, whose “anti-hit” song “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)" proved its success in YouTube numbers—616,802,034 views to be precise (at the time of this article). But that's about to change in a big way: Enter Nico & Vinz and Kygo, who have garnered tons of attention overseas and have collaborated with people like David Guetta, Diplo, and John Legend. In fact, last weekend, Kygo launched his own one-day Cloud Nine Festival in his hometown of Bergen, featuring his favorite artists including Labrinth and Matt Corby. 

While the Swedes have enjoyed their place as Scandinavia’s premiere songsters, this year’s Øya Festival in Oslo proved that Norway’s music scene is a real force to be reckoned with too. For some context, Øya can be likened to Norway’s version of Coachella or Glastonbury, bringing together some of the biggest international acts from New Order and Grace Jones to Beck, PJ Harvey, and Florence and the Machine. 

To prepare yourself for the impending Norse invasion, here is a list of 11 Norwegian names to keep on your mind, and to bring up when enjoying some aquavit…