Twenty-four-year-old Norwegian artist Aurora Aksnes is one of the most talented yet most slept-on musicians you’ll come across. You’ve likely already heard her absolutely magical vocals in Frozen II, where she provided the beautiful call of “The Voice,” which Elsa follows into the unknown. But have you had the honor to listen to any of her original music?
Aurora first taught herself piano at the age of six and went on to songwriting from there. Her discography focuses on a wide range of themes, including pressing environmental issues, love as the meaning of life, and the tragedies we as humans face daily. Her lyrics are always beautifully crafted, heavily inspired by nature, and conjure up ethereal images of forests, sunlight, magic, and sometimes death. Aurora is weird, wild, and unapologetically herself. Her passion for music shines through her energetic performances, her clothing choices, and most importantly, her powerful message.
Okay, okay, impeccable style aside, here are some AURORA songs that we think showcase her talent so vividly that they deserve a place in your music library:
An anthem for the underdogs and outcasts, Aurora asserts that her Queendom is a place of belonging, where your differences are not only accepted but embraced and treasured. Introverts, LGBTQIA members, fans of every color, race, and sexuality — anyone who feels they don’t have a voice — flock to her, and you will have a home in her Queendom. We don’t know about you, but the powerful drums, the message of hope, and her infectious call resonate with the part of us that wants to run away and live among the beauty and diversity of her Queendom paradise.
This hauntingly beautiful ballad tells the story of a lonely woman who murders her lovers and keeps their body parts as souvenirs in boxes under her bed. Yeah, we know it’s kind of creepy and twisted, but bear with us. Aurora’s vocals in this song make for the most hypnotic and mesmerizing experience. You’re almost transported to this other world on the ethereal trills of the melody. The almost siren-like wails and dreamy strings will no doubt induce a calming headspace, despite the lyrics. Or you know, you can lean into ’em a bit more if you’ve got an ex you hate and want to add this song to your breakup playlist.
Aurora wrote the lyrics to ‘Runaway’ when she was only 11 years old. It’s a really beautiful song about wanting to escape to a softer, safer reality — a home. The music video shows the singer running through a gorgeous snow-laden forest and singing atop a mountain with a gorgeous view. The settings conjure up visuals of Narnia and other whimsical faraway lands that we’re sure we all would have loved to run away to when we were younger, or perhaps even now. This song’s perfect for a playlist that awards you a little escapism.
Okay, how many songs do you know about climate change? Inspired by a Native American proverb, Aurora channels her anger into a song akin to a punch in the gut of those that exploit nature for profit. As Aurora drives home the message that “we cannot eat money,” she advocates for immediate climate action and the systemic change necessary to preserve our environment. Does anyone even have a climate change playlist to add this song to? One for activism, maybe? If not, maybe it’s time to make one and ensure this song is at the top of the list.
Use this song to remind yourself that you’re a bad b*tch and that you can conquer anything life throws your way. The world’s a really trying and messed up place, especially recently, and sometimes it all feels like too much. Aurora wrote this song to encourage fans to be their own hero, and not look for someone else to rescue them. You’re already a whole person on your own, and you have the strength within you to save yourself. You just need to be brave enough to find it.
‘Running With The Wolves’
Written during the blood moon of 2014, Aurora envisioned a world where humans gave in to their primal, animalistic instincts and ran free among nature, untethered to the burden of rules, technology, and materialism. ‘Running with the Wolves’ was the result of this fantasy, the song boasting a powerful howling melody that intensifies the chorus. We definitely think this song would go great on a workout playlist where you can just harness your energy and run wild.
Fun fact: an updated Irish-medieval version of this song is being featured in Apple TV’s enchanting animated film, Wolfwalkers.
‘Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)’
Another dark tale is told through the lyrics of this tragic ballad, which quite honestly showcases Aurora’s voice like no other. A man shoots his lover to protect her from the world, and while he sees it as necessary, he is overcome with grief as he cradles his beloved’s body. Of course, this song is open to multiple interpretations, whether it be loss of innocence, a strained father-daughter relationship, or some other abusive dynamic. Hauntingly, Aurora’s stunning ethereal range shines through as the song builds to a crescendo. We catch our breaths every time we hear that one note in the last chorus — trust us, you’ll know it when you hear it.
The older you get, the more the darkness in the world is made apparent. Aurora wrote ‘Warrior’ as a means of acknowledging how sad it is that we mistreat each other, other living beings, and the earth itself, and as a means of reminding us to make an effort to see the good in others and respect everyone’s right to live. She views the meaning of human life as being kind to others, and thus, in this drum-heavy track, urges us to be warriors of love- the strongest weapon we have against the darkness.
Inspired by the disproportionate statistics depicting male suicide rates, Aurora addressed the stigma that emotional expression in males is a form of weakness. ‘The River’ paints crying in a positive light; as a healthy and necessary human act. While the inspiration for the song may have been sad, the song itself is incredibly freeing and joyous, as Aurora asks, “do you miss the sadness when it’s gone?” We’d say this is the perfect song to end your “songs to cry to” playlist because, after all, don’t you feel better after a good cry?
‘Into The Unknown’
Yeah, yeah, we know. Not technically an Aurora song, but she did make it her own. Aurora’s version of ‘Into the Unknown’ stirs up a completely different vibe than the original. It’s serene and whimsical, relaxing and enchanting, not to mention alluringly composed. Close your eyes and let Aurora’s beautifully layered vocals calm your racing thoughts. As this version of the song whisks you away to dreamland, we think it will go great on your “sleep” playlist.
Featured Image Source: Courtesy of Livethere