Posts Tagged ‘a-ha talent grant’

Casiokids winner of final talent grant

Magne says hello from Budapest.

Magne says hello from Budapest.

The fourth and final winner of the a-ha talent grant was revealed at the VG chart show in Bergen tonight.

Local rapper Lars Vaular and indiepop-band Casiokids were the two finalists tonight, and the winner of one million kroner turned out to be Casiokids. The band released its second album earlier this year.

No a-ha members were able to be in Bergen tonight, but Magne appeared in a video clip from Budapest, where a-ha are playing indoors at the city’s sport arena tonight.

Interview with Magne

Picture from Adresseavisen

Picture from Adresseavisen

Adresseavisen has an interview with Magne today, which was done while he was in Trondheim on Wednesday.

I have translated some parts of it:

About talent grant winner Moddi:
Of all the artists that ended up being nominated, Moddi is probably my favorite. He has a very strong stage personality. He makes me a bit happier to be Norwegian. He is part Sigur Rós, part Damien Rice, he writes interesting songs that he performs in a sad and believable way.

About the farewell tour:
– How is it to say goodbye throughout a whole year?

It’s better to make a one-year farewell, than keep doing it for ten years, like some bands are doing.

– You don’t feel like a Rolling Stone dinosaur when you’re standing there, still singing “Take On Me” after 25 years?

No, no. And the Stones are 30 years older than us!

– Will you be suffering from mental phantom pains when a-ha is finished for good?

Maybe I’ll be longing back to what has been. Still, even if you’re fearing phantom pains, it’s not wrong to amputate your foot if it’s the only way out.

Picture from Adresseavisen

Picture from Adresseavisen

About Apparatjik:
Even though the music isn’t too far removed from a-ha, we still can’t be compared to a-ha. It’s not a particularly commercial concept. We’re a kind of loose collective of creative individuals who work with other people within the field of arts.

I guess the name [Apparatjik] plays on the fact that we want to make things a bit difficult for ourselves, tear up the format a little.

About the upcoming a-ha concert at Trondheim’s Lerkendal stadium:
– People in Trøndelag are known to be slow [ticket buyers]. Do you fear a low audience turnout?

I’ve been given that warning, yes. It’s strange really, the people from Trøndelag that I know are far from being slow.

For fuck’s sake, you guys have to come to our concert! We’ll put on a real show and turn up the heat at Lerkendal. We’ll offer less make-up and less pyro than when Kiss played there, but there will be much more feelings instead. Because this is the end, a-ha will never again return.


The newspaper has also asked Magne about some of his favorites:

Favorite albums: Beck’s “Sea Change”, Leonard Cohen’s “Songs of Love and Hate”, Radiohead’s “The Bends”.
Favorite movies: Everything by the Cohen brothers. I quite like movies by Kieslowski og Sydney Pollack. “Repulsion” by Polanski and “Midnight Run” with Robert De Niro.
Favorite books: “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, “Possession: A Romance” by A.S. Byatt, “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky.
Favorite comics: I don’t read comic books.
Favorite TV-shows: “The Sopranos”, “The Wire”, “South Park”, “Entourage”.
Favorite theatre plays: I really liked this Strindberg play that I saw at the national theatre not too long ago.

Where do you go out on the weekends: I never go out on the town.

Magne’s weekend: My weekends are not too different from the weekdays. I’m working on things that I find interesting. I read books, watch movies and spend time with my sons, 16 and 20 years old – if they can be bothered to hang out with their father. I drink way too much espresso, take the dog for a walk and cook (my wife will probably object to the part about cooking, I don’t cook as much as I used to).

Moddi wins third a-ha million

Moddi shaking hands with Magne on stage

Moddi shaking hands with Magne on stage

The two a-ha talent grant finalists at tonight’s VG chart concert in Trondheim were Sami joik group Adjagas and indie songwriter Pål Moddi Knutsen – aka Moddi.

This time it was Magne’s turn to open the envelope and reveal the winner – which turned out to be Moddi.

Moddi has received good reviews for his debut album Floriography, which was released in February 2010, and will be supporting a-ha at Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim on September 4th.

"Moddi has strength and integrity", Magne says.

“Moddi has strength and integrity”, Magne says.

Moddi has the balls to face [tonight’s] audience without making any compromises, he just does his own thing. He has strength and integrity“, Magne told VG after the show. Magne has liked Moddi’s music for several years, and makes comparisons to Damien Rice and The National when he talks about the young songwriter.

The final a-ha talent grant will be given out at the show in Bergen on July 14th, where Lars Vaular and Casiokids are the two last finalists.

Every time I step out the door, I’m giving away a million kroner. Now we need to earn more, so we’ll be able to give away even more money next time“, Magne jokingly told VG.

Meanwhile, the international press has finally started to take notice of the a-ha talent grant. Here are links to some new articles:

Drowned in Sound: Norwegian bands compete for AN AWFUL LOT of a-ha’s money

The Guardian: A-ha invest millions in Norwegian talent contest

Spinner: A-Ha Invest in Norwegian Music with Talent Grants

How much is 1m kroner? It’s about £100,000. In other words, A-ha are giving each of four bands a grant worth twice that of literature’s most famous award, the Man Booker prize. It is, as far as we can tell, one of the biggest arts prizes in the world“, Guardian’s Sean Michaels writes in his article.

Sundfør wins a-ha talent grant

Stavanger, June 30th

Stavanger, June 30th

Morten was at VG and NRK’s summer show in Stavanger tonight, to hand out another 1 million kroner to the second winner of the a-ha talent grant.

The first finalist tonight was the band The Pink Robots, which has recently had a hit with the song “Curly”. The other finalist was Susanne Sundfør, who released her second and critically acclaimed album The Brothel earlier this year.

Morten announced that the winner was Susanne Sundfør, who came on stage and received a big cheque.

I’m a bit shaky, but very happy. I had no idea this would happen. Now I’ll hopefully get a chance to promote my music abroad and travel a lot“, Sundfør told VG afterwards.

She has all that it takes to make it big, and has every opportunity to succeed“, Morten said of the winner.

Listen to “The Brothel”, the haunting title track from Susanne Sundfør’s latest album, on YouTube here.

Susanne Sundfør receives the cheque from Morten

Susanne Sundfør receives the cheque from Morten

Shining wins first a-ha-million

Magne presents Shining with a cheque for 1 million kroner in Oslo, June 18th

Magne presents Shining with a cheque for 1 million kroner in Oslo, June 18th

Magne appeared on stage in front of 80.000 people at Rådhusplassen in Oslo last night, to hand out 1 million kroner to the first winner of the a-ha talent grant.

The jazz/metal band Shining and singer-songwriter Hanne Hukkelberg were the two finalists in Oslo at VG and NRK’s annual free summer show (where a-ha headlined in 2009), which also featured performances by Madcon, Scouting For Girls, Jason Castro and Scissor Sisters, among others.

Magne annoucning the winner

Magne annoucning the winner

After Shining and Hukkelberg had performed one song each early in the show, the audience in Oslo (and TV audiences around the country) could vote for their favorite by SMS.

Near the end of the show Magne came on stage to open the envelope revealing the winner.

We considered quite a lot of artists, together with an international jury, and both these artists have a unique style. We think they have a good chance to have further success within their genres“, Magne said when asked why a-ha had chosen these two finalists.

Afterwards he revealed the winner: “It’s a great honour, on behalf of a-ha, to present the very first of our talent grants to…Shining!

Shining had been active prior to tonight’s concert, urging their fans to vote for them, as can be seen in this YouTube video.

Learn more about Shining on their official website and on MySpace.

The next a-ha talent grant will be presented in Stavanger on 30 June, where Susanne Sundfør and Pink Robots will compete for another 1 million kroner.


Update: VGTV has a video interview with Magne and Shining after the show.

“I am pretty sure that Shining has a real chance to leave a mark internationally. So we’re hoping that the money can help them to get heard, to get noticed by people. That’s what it takes, in our opinion.

They have something that’s quite unique for them at the moment, and there should be several filmmakers in Hollywood eager to work with these guys now.

Talent grant finalists

a-ha and their jury members have now decided on the final eight bands and artists that will be competing for the four talent grants of 1 million kroner each in Norway this summer.

They are: Shining, Hanne Hukkelberg, Moddi, Adjagas, Casiokids, Lars Vaular, Susanne Sundfør og Pink Robots.

The eight finalists were chosen from a list of 50 candidates, which can be seen at the bottom of this article.

There were suprisingly similar reactions and enthusiasm toward some of the acts – and then there were split opinions on some of the others“, Magne tells VG today.

– Did it turn into loud discussions?

Yes, we always have loud discussion“, Magne laughs.

New details about a-ha talent grant

Magne and Morten first announced the a-ha talent grant at a press conference on 1 March

Magne and Morten first announced the a-ha talent grant at a press conference on 1 March

New details about the a-ha talent grant competition in Norway have been announced today. Instead of having the bands and artists themselves signing up to be nominated, the candidates will be nominated by a jury consisting of a-ha and six other people from the music industry. The jury currently has a list of around 30 bands and artists that will be reduced to 8 finalists over the next month or so – 2 from each part of the country (Northern- and Mid-Norway, Western Norway, Southern Norway and Eastern Norway).

a-ha have teamed up with Norway’s largest newspaper VG for this, and the 8 finalists will compete against each other at the “VG Lista” summer shows that are held in various cities every year. The 4 lucky winners will then be decided by the Norwegian people, who can vote by SMS or online at VG Nett.

It’s really cool that the audience can participate, and that we’re making this as fun as possible for as many as possible“, Magne tells VG today.

In addition to one million kroner and a support gig for a-ha, the winning bands/artists are given newspaper ads in VG worth one million kroner.

We’re looking for a combination of distinct artistic expression and a confident attitude – and we think it’d be really fun if we end up with artists that are more of a fresh breath of air than just obvious favorites to win“, Magne says.

This is the jury of six people that will assist a-ha in choosing the eight finalists:
– Tone Lise Skagefoss (Norway) – music journalist and former judge on Norwegian Idol
– Øystein Ronander (Norway) – works for by:Larm and Bureau Storm
– Kristian Riis (Denmark) – manager and musician in the Danish band Nephew
– Martin Terefe (Sweden) – London-based producer and Apparatjik-member
– Marie Dimberg (Sweden) – manager of the band Roxette
– Markus Hartmann (Germany) – head of A & R at Starwatch Records

New a-ha talent grant

Magne and Morten at the press conference

Magne and Morten at the press conference

Morten and Magne (Paul is in New York) held a press conference in Oslo today to announce the Norwegian tour dates and to reveal that the band will be handing out a new talent grant.

4 million kroner of the band’s own money will be given to local bands in some of the cities they are visiting later this year, and more details will be up on this website on April 12th:

One local band in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Kristiansand will receive 1 million kroner each. The bands are also given the opportunity to perform as part of a-ha’s Norwegian tour.

We are at the end of our adventure, and are excited to see what will happen in the future. We are priveleged and want to make a contribution“, Magne says.

It’s an opportunity to give something back, since we have received so much“.

Articles: VG, TV2, Fædrelandsvennen, FaroJournalen, Side 2

Video from press conference: YouTube

Video interviews: VG TV, ScanPix, Aftenposten


Update: According to this article from NTB, we can expect a lot of interesting releases and events this year, including:

– new deluxe editions of both Hunting High And Low and Scoundrel Days
– a new anthology
– updated edition of Jan Omdahl’s book “The Swing Of Things”
– the national library in Oslo will hold an a-ha exhibition
– a documentary
– a live DVD
– photo book
– plus a few more surprises

All this was announced by a-ha manager Harald Wiik as he opened the press conference.

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