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“Conjuring the raw sound of Richie Havens and Sly Stone with the spirit of Mayer Hawthorne and Sharon Jones, Bernhoft is so obviously a star that it feels only a matter of time before he breaks stateside.” - Los Angeles Times
“Part of the fascination is that he’s a one-man band with an unusual approach to building songs… but what sets him apart from the Keller Williamses of the world is the fact that Bernhoft crafts unapologetically mainstream tunes in the vein of Lenny Kravitz or maybe [Robin] Thicke.” - The Village Voice “…what he [Bernhoft] did with those few tools was quite extraordinary. Using them, and via a process of instant recording, looping and layering, he was able to create the sound of a full band – including all the instrumental parts plus backing singers on rich harmonies – and it was all just him.” - The Guardian
The Norwegian retro-soul musician, and stunning solo performer, Bernhoft has announced his third full-length album entitled Islander [Big Picnic Records] will be released on April 29th. PRESS HERE to listen to lead single “Come Around.” The collection was inspired by Swedish pop, the trailblazing soul of Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone, and the intricate folk-rock of Carole King. Islander was recorded at England’s Isle of Wight and was produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka and Devendra Banhart). “As I was writing for Islander a lot of the lyrics had references to boats and water and bridges,” says Bernhoft. “It’s almost like I was saying, ‘Hey, come on board, I’m gonna take you for a ride, and hopefully for the next hour you can forget about your troubles.’ That’s the kind of album I most wanted to make; one where the songs are in good spirits, and maybe they can help give you a new sense of hope.” In support of Islander, Bernhoft will showcase his awe-inspiring, one-man-band skills and some new tunes from the forthcoming LP for an intimate performance at Rockwood Music Hall on February 17th. Limited tickets are available, for more information visit www.bernhoft.org. In 2008 Bernhoft released his debut Ceramik City Chronicles (a love/hate homage to his native city of Oslo) and quickly garnered a reputation as a must-see live performer. In early 2011 he released Solidarity Breaks, which has racked up more than a quarter-million sales worldwide, plus features the beatbox-infused, acoustic-guitar-laced single “C’mon Talk” whose video has earned more than 7.3 million views on YouTube, and a spot performing the track on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The following year Bernhoft continued his breakout success by nabbing the Best Artist and Best Male Artist of the Year awards at the 2012 Spellemannprisen (Norway’s equivalent of the GRAMMY Awards). And in 2013, the singer broke through in the U.S. by flooring audiences at SXSW, appearing on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and making his late-night-television debut on CONAN. While making a name globally over the last few years, Bernhoft found that his music was taking on a whole new level of meaning. “On the last tour it was very strange for me to come from a country that’s incredibly well-off and unaffected by the recession, and then perform in places where a whole generation is out of work and there’s a real feeling of hopelessness,” explains Bernhoft. “I felt like I was trying to reach out and lift people’s spirits, but at the same time I was always aware that I was very much in a separate place from them.” Islander finds Bernhoft exploring that disconnect by expanding his known for groove-laced soul elements with frenetic tension captured through deeper and richer sonic textures that he recorded in an “old school manner.” He and Butler snubbed in-studio perfectionism for a looser approach and decided not to use the modern tools and technology to create the songs. The singer’s guitar riffs, piano chords, and lyrics embrace both the heartbreaking raw emotion of reality and soulful positivity. Escapist yet challenging, Islander emerges as an album that dares to reimagine what’s possible in pop music.
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