We Chatted With Aurora, The Real Star Of The John Lewis Advert
The Debrief: Incredible voice, envy-inducing 'do, dead sweet? Yeah, NBD.
If you’ve watched the John Lewis Christmas advert and felt zero emotion, you’re made of stronger stuff than I. The tale of ‘Man on the Moon’ is a tearjerker in itself, but what really brings out the bawling is the haunting soundtrack Half The World Away, sung by the amazingly talented 19-year-old singer-songwriter, Aurora (real name Aurora Aksnes).
At the start of our phone call, Aurora tells me she’s in her bedroom at home in Bergen, Norway, looking out of her window at the mountains and the ocean. ‘It’s really calm today. There’s no wind, so it’s really nice and peaceful. It’s a good day,’ she tells me. Idyllic, to say the least.
As we chat, she’s ridiculously sweet and humble, reiterating her love for her fans time and again and commenting how ‘strange’ it is that people care about her. She’s staggeringly mature too – at one point mentioning how she welcomes any criticism from Oasis fans over her version of the track because ‘It’s nice to have both good and bad feedback’. Oh yeah, and she’s achingly cool. No biggy.
Hey, Aurora! Congratulations on the John Lewis advert. It’s such a beautiful song! Did you have to keep it a secret for a long time?
Yeah, it was quite strange because I couldn’t even tell my family. It was kinda like, ‘Bye Mum and Dad, I’m going to go to the studio to do a secret thing today, wish me luck’. But after a little while I told them.
And do they understand how big a deal the advert is now?
In Norway we don’t know what it is. I didn’t know what John Lewis was, but I think people understand now. I think most of the people close to me think it’s strange as well. It’s exciting, of course, and a bit scary as well, but everyone is very excited for me. I have really lovely fans, they’re really supportive and it’s really special.
That’s really nice. Your EP came out in May. What’s next?
I’m going to continue touring and I’m going to be in England a lot, obviously, for the rest of the year doing some promo stuff and then I’ll release my next single in January. My album will be released in March, and then we’ll go on another tour after that.
Very exciting! Where’s your favourite place to perform?
Well, of course, I really like performing in Norway because it’s a special thing and I absolutely love Iceland. I love England too, they’re always really passionate at my shows. They give so much love, so it’s kind of hard to choose, isn’t it? All my fans are so lovely.
How are you going to spend Christmas Day?
It will be with my family and we’ll go out to play in the snow in the morning and will have breakfast together. Then we eat dinner really late and open our presents after dinner. We always open them in the evening. I love Christmas!
That sounds so nice. Is there anyone famous you’d love to meet?
Well, I would absolutely love to meet Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, they’re my biggest heroes. They’re amazing and I love absolutely everything they’ve done. They’re the artists I mostly listen to.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
I’ve made many mistakes, I’m only human! I often forget lyrics and then people in the audience start singing to help me and I’m like, ‘Oh yes, thank you!’ I’m moved because people help me and I get emotional. I get very emotional very often, actually. One time I had to go for a pee break because I laughed so much because I forgot my lyrics.
I’ve been looking at your Instagram account and your pictures are really cool. Do you edit them a certain way?
I really like it when it looks a bit dark and a fairy-tale story. There’s one [filter] called Slumber and that’s definitely my favourite of all time.
Good choice. We love your hair – it always looks so sleek. Do you have a routine?
Um, no! I cut it like eight years ago so I don’t have to brush it because I really don’t like spending time on my hair. I don’t even have a brush with me when I go on tour. I do absolutely nothing.
You cut it yourself? How?! It looks so perfect!
Yes, I do. Well, it doesn’t turn out like that the first time I cut it. I kind of tweak my hair every morning and make it more and more straight every day because it’s kind of fun, but it’s still quite crooked sometimes. I don’t care that much about my hair. I have a shaved side too, to make it less thick and sometimes I hide it. I did that with my father’s beard trimmer.
What about the colour? Is that natural?
Almost. I’m very blonde naturally, but I have a purple shampoo which makes it less yellow so I use that. It’s almost turning grey now and I love grey hair.
Your style is awesome, too. What’s your inspiration?
I like old-fashioned clothes like high necks and really long skirts, wide pants, like the ’60s, and I love secondhand and vintage stores. Normally I borrow clothes from people’s attics and my mum’s clothes from when she was younger, so I reuse a lot. I love Beyond Retro in England.
We do too! Thanks so much, Aurora!
Aurora’s Running With The Wolves EP is out now.
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