Norwegian electro-pop singer Ary only began making music two and a half years ago, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to her. Her voice seems seasoned, and softly stretches over synths, the two resonating in a surprising, altogether pleasing way. This can all be heard in a single song, which is Ary’s debut and only release to date: “Higher.” Below, we’re pleased to premiere the track’s music video, in which Ary and the snow-coated Norwegian landscape feature prominently.

When we spoke to Ary (who performs under her lifelong nickname) at Øya Festival, she told us that “Higher” is about “being lost, being found, and finding something in the feeling of being lost.” Her voice suits searching lyrics, and she’s at work on more songs of that ilk. While a release hasn’t been set for future recordings, if the artist’s demeanor—levelheaded, open, attentive—is any indication, she’s sure to satisfy.

FULL NAME: Ariadne Loinsworth

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Trondheim. It’s a little bit smaller than Oslo but it’s still a real city.

BASED: Oslo. I moved here two years ago.

THE BEGINNING: I started [making music] two and a half years ago, because I got really sick. I was tired—I was really tired—and I was working in a bar. I didn’t really have a purpose or anything. So I got tired and I just ended up on the couch in my father’s home. I needed something to do and then this friend of mine said that Logic [Pro] was fun. I downloaded it and I started doing it, and I ended up doing it every day and every night for three months. Then I got better and I got out again to hang out with my friends and I showed them what I made. I ended up having this gig in an abandoned storage building. We made the stage out of this golden blanket we bought on eBay, so we had a big golden stage. We set up everything and that was kind of my first gig.

IN THE FAMILY: My mother sings mantra songs, like Tibetan hymns, so I’ve grown up with that and my father is an actor and a singer-songwriter kind of guy.

FEELING THE AUDIENCE: I can feel both responses; it’s always the good and the bad together, at least in my experience. If somebody really loves it then somebody else really hates it. I try to stay neutral to it and do the best I can. At Øya, for the first time I could see people. Earlier, it’s been an ocean of heads where I’m trying not to look at them and just do the best that I can. But at Øya, I had the courage to look people in the eyes. I could feel them in a way. In the front row was my first and only true fan, and he’s always dancing so much and he’s screaming and totally crazy, and that makes me so happy. By his side, there’s a guy with his hands crossed over and he’s watching me like he’s mad at me or something.

When I can feel the audience’s energy, especially in a more intimate concert, I think it’s easier to get everybody to feel okay and feel nice about being at a concert. I can watch everyone and ask them how they’re doing. It feels more personal. But in that kind of space where there’s too many people to count, I think it’s harder to connect with everybody.

THE ØYA AUDIENCE SINGING HER HAPPY BIRTHDAY AT HER SHOW: I was so surprised. I couldn’t sing afterwards. I found it hard because there was so much love in the room, and at the same time I felt like, “Shit, I really have to perform now because everybody is singing to me.”
WHEN THE CROWD SINGS BACK: It’s a little surreal, especially because it always takes me by surprise. I’m really a fan of improvising, but I don’t feel like I can do that [on “Higher”], because everyone is coming in and I feel like I would close them out if I did.

LIVING IN NORWAY: It’s affected my music in the sense that it’s calm, or I’ve chosen to live a calm life. It’s easy here because there’s not too much going on. It is if you want it to be, but it’s a good place to just shut everything off and go for a hike or do something easy and calm. Oslo is of course more stressful than Stavanger or Trondheim, but it’s been good for me and I think also for my music to shut everything and everyone out for a while—in the process losing some friends but gaining some new friends.

TURNING OFF MUSIC TO MAKE MUSIC: I have to get it away so I don’t copy it. Melody sticks so hard to my brain. When I listened to Highasakite’s new album, I couldn’t make music for two weeks after because I was so scared of making something that might sound like or be like that. I noticed in some of my songs, they become too similar to other artists that I look up to, so I really want to do my own thing and I have to shut everything else out to not become a bad copycat.

MAKING MUSIC: It’s been a big change in my life. Before I didn’t really have any purpose or meaning, and that’s the biggest change, working for something that feels important for the first time in my life. That’s a good experience, but at the same time it’s been moving so fast since I made the first song until now. I don’t feel like I’ve had the time to become as good as maybe someone wants me to be. Being put on one of the biggest stages at Øya, at 6 o’clock, and it’s full of 2,000 or 3,000 people, and I feel like such a newbie standing there trying to prove that I deserve to be there.

A MILESTONE: I just reached a really big goal. I’ve been sober for a year. I had my first beer on my birthday, that was after one year, so my next goal is trying to not have soda or candy for a year together with not drinking alcohol.

LOOKING FORWARD: The musical goal could be to make an album. I just started to see the connection between [my songs]. I’m trying to put them into this setting, and see what the package could be, how could they fit together, and which songs do I have to remove and put something else in for it to become more of a whole thing. I think it’s important that the theme is a theme throughout the album, although one might be a love song and one might be a fantasy. I think it’s important that everything goes together and if you look at the titles, then you understand what the feeling is. I’m thinking a lot about machines—not machines like how they work, but a human machine. I’m under a lot of pressure right now, so I’m really working on becoming this good thing, and I think that affects my songs—with the lyrics as well, just how to expand and remove all of the dark sides of a personality.


For more Norwegian acts to know from Øya Festival 2016, click here