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Off the back of becoming the fastest artist to ever reach 1 billion streams via Spotify and having released his debut album, ‘Cloud Nine’ in early 2016 to grand critical acclaim, Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, aka KYGO, has now firmly established himself as one of the most exciting artists on the planet.
Originally tipped by Billboard as the ‘the next EDM superstar’, Kygo has gone on to become that and so much more. In addition to his one-of-a-kind Spotify record and recent album release, the last 18 months has seen the Norwegian seemingly achieve the impossible time and time again. Just a few of those recent feats include selling over 15 million singles worldwide, planning his very own festival to run in his hometown of Bergen and becoming the first ever electronic musician to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize concert. He even ended up adorning the front cover of Billboard itself in February 2016.
The 24-year-old Norwegian prodigy has, through his warm, playful and genre defining style of production, become a household name across the globe. He’s performed on some of the most revered stages in the world, from festivals such as Coachella, Lollapallooza and Ultra Music Festival, to sold-out arenas like The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, Barclays Center in New York, and 02 Brixton Academy in London. Crossing off more points from his bucket list than most artists could hope to in a lifetime, the natural born star now looks to capitalize further on what is already a truly remarkable solo career, as he embarks on his global ‘Cloud Nine’ tour.
A child pianist who taught himself Logic Studio in his late teens, it was in the summer of 2013 that Kyrre began putting his unsolicited remixes on Soundcloud under the name ‘Kygo’ – a nickname he picked up at school from a randomly generated username. Reworking the likes of Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’ and Ed Sheeran’s ‘I See Fire’, he decided to go against the ever-prevalent flow of ‘EDM’, instead opting to produce a more creative and mellow sound tuned for true music aficionados.
Online support swelled off the back of his remixes and once he found his sound, it was full steam ahead for the Norwegian who, even before his first live performance, had already established over 100,000 fans on Facebook. He spent the latter months of 2013 learning to DJ from scratch and played his first set in early 2014. At the same time, he was studying Business and Finance at Edinburgh’s Heriod-Watt University; it was an attempt to secure a sensible back-up plan, but demand for his music became too great.
If 2013 was when Kygo introduced himself to the world, 2014 proved to be the year in which everything changed for the youngster, with a string of monster remixes commissioned in the early part of the year that proved his worth as the next true, bona fide superstar of music. His catalogue now includes remixes of Coldplay’s ‘Midnight’ (a piece of work commissioned by the band themselves) plus edits of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ and The Weeknd’s ‘Often’, all of which were given the stamps of approval to go official by the greats themselves.
Towards the end of 2014 and following up on his hugely popular string of remixes, it was now time for Kygo to step into the spotlight as an original producer in his own right. Signing a worldwide deal with Sony Music, the results so far have been nothing short of phenomenal. Debut single ‘Firestone’ featuring Australian singer Conrad Sewell has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and has now been streamed over 400 million times. ‘Stole the Show’ featuring Parson James followed and similarly reached meteoric heights, with over 390 million streams. Further singles followed with ‘Nothing Left’, featuring British singer and songwriter, Will Heard, before ‘Stay’, featuring The Weeknd collaborator, Maty Noyes, was released to grand critical acclaim. All four original tracks contributed to the plus one billion plays that Kygo has accrued on Spotify, and all were featured on ‘Cloud Nine’.
The move away from remixes to original material also meant that Kygo started to prioritize and develop his new LIVE show. Making its debut at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March 2015, the live setup resembles the logo that has become so synonymous with the Kygo brand, and is supported by a myriad of special effects to rival any live show in the world. His live show has continued to develop, and has travelled everywhere around the world, from far-flung venues in Bali and Brasil, to things closer to home, when Kygo took over his hometown of Bergen to headline the Bergenfest festival.
Kygo has performed his material across Europe to multiple TV audiences including ‘Germany’s Next Top Model’, ‘Café Corsari’ in Holland, and ‘Skavlan’ and ‘Senkveld’ in Sweden and Norway, where he was able to showcase his unmatched artistry and skill on the piano to live studio audiences across the continent. The culmination of the trip was a stunning live performance on BBC Radio 1’s ‘Live Lounge’ with Conrad and Parson James, where he performed acoustic versions of the two singles, plus a cover of Tove Lo’s ‘Habits (Stay High). Having been announced as Spotify’s ‘Breakthrough Artist’ of the year for 2015, US television bookers also jumped on the Kygo performance train, with the 24-year-old booked for two of the world’s most watched shows – The Ellen Show and Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show – in the first three months of 2016.
The New Yorker wrote that “The rise of Kygo has echoed a cultural shift,” and his approach was, and still is, a welcome step away from the sonic excess of ‘EDM’. That New Yorker feature coincided with the release of ‘Cloud Nine’, and on May 13, 2016, the album was made available via Sony Music International across all platforms.
Amassing a who’s who list of collaborators to join him on his debut effort, including the likes of John Legend (‘Happy Birthday’), Foxes (‘Oasis’), Labrinth (‘Fragile’) and James Vincent McMorrow (‘I’m In Love’), ‘Cloud Nine’ has been breaking records right, left and center since its release, having been streamed over 135 million times, selling over 2m REA albums worldwide, and also reaching #1 on iTunes in 22 countries, of which an incredible 13 made the record platinum. Critics alike have had a similarly positive reaction, with Rolling Stone heralding it as “unfailingly gorgeous” and ‘NME’ praising the Norwegian’s quality control across such an album as “pretty impressive.”
Having paired the release of Cloud Nine with his own headlining sold-out EU arena tour in the spring, Kygo is set to launch himself into the second half of 2016 with a full world tour that will see him everywhere from Asia to North America and beyond.