The Voice: First live show

Morten on The Voice, October 13th

Morten was back at Fornebu’s H3 Arena in Oslo on Friday, for this season’s first live show of The Voice.

As there were now 20 talents remaining in the contest, only the 10 talents on Team Lene and Team Yosef performed during Friday’s show. Morten and Martin’s 10 talents will perform next Friday, October 20th.

Among the best performances on Friday were Agnes and Thomas on Team Lene, and Kaja and Jeremaya on Team Yosef. Jeremaya was previously on Team Morten.

Two talents had to leave the contest; Ida on Team Lene and Mirjam on Team Yosef.

All 10 performances are available on TV2’s YouTube-channel.

Morten talked a bit about his role as a mentor on The Voice during the BBC Radio Devon interview last week:

“It is interesting and it makes sense to me to make use of all I know at this stage, with my experience after all this time and being sort of on the arena as much as I have been. There are lot of things that I instantly can say about a performance and about the psychological aspects of what goes on in the head or in the heart of whoever is on stage. What is holding them back, for instance. What is blocking their access to themselves. There are things I know that I can offer as insight.”

‘Tårer fra en stein’ to be published in German

Munich-based publishing company Riva has secured the rights to a German edition of Ørjan Nilsson’s book about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, NTB reports via Gaffa.no.

The book is set to be published sometime in February/March 2018 and will be translated by Daniela Stilzebach, who has previously translated Norwegian books about Knut Hamsun and Edvard Munch into German.

“The German title of the book has not been decided yet”, Nilsson tells NTB.

The Norwegian first printing of 1500 copies sold out quickly, and there will be a second printing of 2000 books.

“There’s a big potential”, Norwegian publisher Christer Falck says.

Morten talks summer tour 2018

Picture by Jakob

Morten was a guest on Richard Green’s show on BBC Radio Devon today. The interview is available here (starts at 23 minutes).

Among the topics discussed was next year’s summer tour/world tour. As we learnt several months ago, a-ha is planning to go on the road again next summer with a full electric band, starting in the UK in June 2018 before continuing through mainland Europe, the USA and South America.

Although only four outdoor concerts in Norway have been announced so far, a-ha manager Harald Wiik said there will be 30-40 concerts in total. Later reports have mentioned as many as 60 concerts.

When asked about returning to the UK for more gigs next summer, Morten says:

“I believe, from where I stand now, that it will be more outdoor venue influenced. It’s not gonna be like the [Cast in Steel] tour, for instance. It will have elements of that, I think. I can’t promise that, but it’s what I think today. It will have elements, to an extent, from the Giske sessions, to create the dynamics that we would want. Certain songs might work in outdoor arenas, based on what we did in Giske, but only some of them would work that way. Then certain songs work by far best the way we have normally set it up with our full electronic stuff. And then certain songs will come to their form in a sort of analogue type of live playing. Sometimes we’ve played to synthesizers and computers, so it’s a mix of our live playing against the computers, that’s partly a-ha’s music. And some will be like that, some will be maybe all analogue and some will be stripped. I think it will be a mix.”

Planning such a major tour has raised questions if the band might be aiming to release a new studio album before next summer, but that will not be the case, according to Morten:

“Not an a-ha album, [that’s] not planned. But we have plans in that we’re now releasing this album from Giske, which leads on to the acoustic tour in January and February. And then we go into rehearsals and planning of the shows in the summer later on. So that will take us through most of next year. But the autumn is fairly open. And then there are other plans, there are a lot of offers for the band. But we have no concrete plans for a studio album.”

There are also no immediate plans for another solo album, he says:

“It would be wrong for me to make plans for my own stuff now, but there is a lot of stuff that is available and ready to be responded to, whenever it opens up for that.”

Earlier in the week, on Monday, Morten and Magne were guests on Becky Want’s show on BBC Radio Manchester. That interview is available here (starts at 1:45:30).

‘MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice’ enters album chart at #3 in Germany and #6 in the UK

MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice

a-ha’s new live album MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice has entered the German album chart at #3 in its first week. This is a-ha’s 13th top-10 album in Germany.

In the UK the album has entered the album chart at #6, making it their seventh UK top-10 album. A total of 6,982 copies were sold in the first week, this number includes physical sales, digital sales and streaming (1500 streams equals 1 album sale).

But if the UK album chart had been based on physical sales only, MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice would actually have been at #2, only beaten by Liam Gallagher’s new album, as can be seen on the physical albums chart.

In Norway the album enters VG-lista at #14 in its first week.

Elsewhere, the album enters at #35 in Belgium (Wallonia), #50 in Ireland, #93 in Belgium (Flanders), and #98 in The Netherlands, according to the UKMIX forum.

Additionally, the DVD/Blu-ray has entered the German Top-30 Music DVD chart at #4, the Belgian (Wallonia) Top-10 Music DVD chart at #4 and the Dutch Top-10 Music DVD chart at #8.

As for the UK, below is a list of all first-week entries and first-week sales on the UK album chart in the last twelve years, including solo albums:
2006 – Analogue: #24 (9,911 copies)
2009 – Foot of the Mountain: #5 (18,744 copies)
2010 – 25: #10 (10,835 copies)
2011 – Ending on a High Note: #43 (2,966 copies)
2012 – Out of My Hands: #37 (3,455 copies)
2014 – Brother: #56 (1,461 copies)
2015 – Cast in Steel: #8 (7,828 copies)
2016 – Time and Again: #75 (???? copies)
2017 – Summer Solstice: #6 (6,982 copies)

The Voice: battle rounds and knockout rounds

“I’m proud of the team I’m bringing with me to the live shows”, Morten says.

The Voice has continued on TV2 over the last few weeks, with 5 episodes of battle rounds and 3 episodes of knockout rounds, which were taped between 22 May – 2 June this year.

Here are the six battles on Team Morten, with YouTube-links:
1. Ingeborg vs Elias –> Morten chose Ingeborg
2. Maria Celin vs Anna –> Morten chose Anna, while Martin stole Maria Celin
3. Jeremaya vs Egil Sverre –> Morten chose Jeremaya
4. Sebastian vs Jorunn –> Morten chose Sebastian, while Yosef stole Jorunn
5. Dina vs Ninja –> Morten chose Dina
6. Lena vs Knut –> Morten chose Knut

In addition, Morten stole Alexandra from Team Martin and Synne from Team Lene.

Meanwhile, on Team Yosef, Morten’s niece Ragnhild Harket was up against two others, but went through to next round.

Rehearsals with Elias and Ingeborg

This meant Team Morten had 8 talents remaining before the knockout rounds, where the singers themselves decide what they want to perform.

Here are the four knockout duels on Team Morten, with YouTube-links:
1. Ingeborg vs Synne –> Morten chose Ingeborg
2. Alexandra vs Knut –> Morten chose Knut
3. Anna vs Dina –> Morten chose Dina
4. Jeramaya vs Sebastian –> Morten chose Sebastian

In addition, Morten stole Isabelle from Team Martin.

On Team Yosef, Ragnhild Harket was up against August, but wasn’t chosen this time.

Studio rehearsals with Dina and Ninja

The next stage of The Voice starts on TV2 tomorrow, October 13th, with the first of nine live shows from H3 Arena in Oslo. The live shows will continue every Friday until the finale on December 9th. So this will keep Morten busy for the next couple of months. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

The final five talents on Team Morten are:
– Ingeborg Walther (17)
– Knut Kippersund Nesdal (26)
– Dina Sæle Ek (32)
– Sebastian James Hekneby (27)
– Isabelle Eberdean Bjørneraas (20)

For a presentation of all 20 talents that are ready for the live shows, check out the video clips about each team on TV2.no.

After the press conference in Berlin last month, Magne was asked by TV2 what he thought of Morten following in his footsteps as a mentor on The Voice:

Magne: “Although I haven’t seen that much yet, I feel Morten is making a good impression, based on what I’ve seen. Absolutely.”
Morten: “That means he hasn’t seen it.”
Magne: “It could also mean they have done a great job in the editing room (laughs).”

‘MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice’ and ‘Tårer fra en stein’ now available

The new book and Blu-ray

A big release day on Friday, as a-ha’s new live album/video MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice was released in eight different versions and the Norwegian edition of Ørjan Nilsson’s book about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy was published.

If you haven’t yet ordered MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice, here are the links:
Fanbox (amazon.de), Blu-ray (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), DVD (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD+Blu-ray (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD+DVD (amazon.de), 3LP (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk) and 1CD (amazon.co.uk). Plus download and streaming.

BBC Breakfast, October 5th

For those of you wondering about the Blu-ray and DVD, they have now both been officially confirmed to be region-free.

To promote the live album, Magne and Morten were guests on BBC Breakfast on Thursday, while Morten visited ITV’s Loose Women on Friday.

Morten also did radio interviews with BBC Radio Oxford (starts at 30:30), BBC Hereford & Worcester (starts at 1:17:00) and BBC Radio Devon (to be broadcast on October 14th).

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Ørjan Nilsson

In Norway there has been extensive media coverage of Tårer fra en stein and the first printing of the book is actually already sold out, with a second printing set to follow soon, according to BA (paywall).

I won’t reveal too much of the 300-page book here (stay tuned for possible translations into other languages), but it goes in-depth about Paul’s songwriting, inspirations and career in a way that has never been done before.

“We’re unlikely to ever get a more detailed portrait of Waaktaar Savoy”, VG says in its review of the book.

There was a book launch at Tronsmo bookstore in Oslo on Friday, where author Ørjan Nilsson was interviewed by Audun Vinger in front of an audience which included Paul’s mother Gerd. A video of the full conversation has been posted on Facebook.

The Norwegian edition of the book can be ordered from haugenbok.no, tanum.no, platekompaniet.no or bigdipper.no.

For more information about the book in English, read a new interview with Ørjan Nilsson at The Electricity Club.

Summer Solstice reviews:
VG (CD: 4/6, DVD: 5/6)    Aftenposten (4/6)    Dagsavisen (4/6) (paywall)
The Irish News (6/10)    Scandishop online

Articles/reviews on Tårer fra en stein:
VG: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy i a-ha med ny bok: Lammes av sosial angst
NRK: Vurderte å starte duo med Morten Harket
Gaffa: Nå vil han prøve å rette opp i navneforvirringen
Gaffa: Mener katastrofe-konserten på Øya ødela mye
Dagbladet: Pål Waaktaar Savoy røper konfliktene som har ødelagt for a-ha (paywall)
Dagsavisen: Et stille mysterium (paywall)
Morgenbladet: Sjenert Mussolini (paywall)

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