The Norwegian princess of Pop, Annie (Anne Lilla Berge Strand – born 1977) has made hits being noticed by Elton John as well as American hipster media. Read more about Annie – the Norwegian Princess of Pop.
We call her Princess of Pop because she is a singer-songwriter as well as a DJ and record producer. She began her recording career in 1999 with the underground hit single “The Greatest Hit“. For her debut album Anniemal (2004) she gained international acclaim.
Pop fans may be forgiven for not knowing who Annie is, unless they live in Norway and the only country in which she initially had any sizeable commercial success. However, Annie possesses a sound and personality that proved subtly influential, both on the disco-indebted starlets and on the new audience of indie rock-weaned fanboys and fangirls who were suddenly extra receptive to their charms.
The Streets Where I Belong
In 2001, her boyfriend Tore Kroknes died from a congenital heart defect and she wrote the song “The Streets Where I belong”, streets she wanted to leave behind:
That’s when I met the love of my life
He was a dj and we danced all through the night
Tell me tell me, why did you go?
I can still hear our song on the radio.
In 2003, Annie signed a record deal with Britain’s 679 Recordings. Next year she released her album Anniemal which received widespread critical acclaim and several Norwegian music awards. However, Annie didn’t reinvent the wheel with the album – she just released a really solid collection of shimmering, danceable and catchy pop songs which the right people happened to notice. Anniemal sold only 22,000 copies in the U. S.
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Nevertheless, Annie has experienced beating Jay-Z in the American competition “Song of the Year”, written music for Kylie Minogue, been sampled by rap giants Metro Boomin and Travis Scott and made activist music with Norwegian artist and fan Bjarne Melgaard.
Annie has been described as “a pop singer with credibility, an indie artist with one eye on the dancefloor” and as “the Norwegian Kylie”. Annie describes her music as “pop with strange edges”.
The tracks “Chewing Gum”, “The Greatest Hit” and “Heartbeat” from Anniemal rank among the decade’s great synth-pop singles and what really set Annie apart is the subtly winking quality in her music, a self-awareness that make her seem smarter and more in control than the average pop star. Her lyrics have references to pop music and pop stardom which creates meta quality, showing that she doesn’t take herself or her would-be-superstar status too seriously.
In 2005, Annie won several awards for her work, including Best Pop Album and Best Newcomer at the Norwegian Alarm Awards. “Chewing Gum” had also been nominated for Song of the Year. In addition, Annie won the Best Newcomer award at the prestigious Spellemannprisen.
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Unfortunately, the second album took a little too long to come. News that she signed a deal with Island Records in 2007 offered hope that a new album was finally on its way, but artistic differences led to a split with the label a year later, and the album was again delayed.
Annie released her second studio album, Don’t Stop, on the Smalltown Supersound label on 19 October 2009. It came and went without much publicity, earning generally positive reviews but making few year-end lists, and selling only 6,000 copies to date in the States, according to SoundScan.
One possible explanation for “Don’t Stop’s” relative flopping might be that Annie had already been replaced in the hearts of many by another blonde, single-named, self-aware Scandinavian pop pixie. Robyn, once known to U.S. audiences as the teenage star behind the late ’90s mega-hits “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and “Show Me Love,” had re-emerged as one of the genre’s most compelling underground talents, equally capable at making “Chappelle’s Show” -quoting hip-hop prank jams like “Konichiwa Bitches” and heart-rending post-breakup songs like “Be Mine!”
This year, her first album in 11 years, Dark Hearts, was released on July 17 with songs that have made American and British media writing fancy raving reviews and Elton John to incorporate her into his radio show and his playlists.
Annie – The Norwegian Princess of Pop, written by Tor Kjolberg