Odd Nordstoga (1972-) is a musician, actor and editor from Vinje in Telemark, Norway. In 2004, he went from relative obscurity to becoming the country's biggest selling recording artist, with the phenomenal success of his first solo album proper, "Luring". The album, a fusion of pop and Norwegian folk music, has shifted more than 160.000 copies in Norway to date and earned him several Spellemannsprisen awards.
Nordstoga grew up at Plassen in Vinje, Telemark, the homestead of author Aasmund Olavsson Vinje. He hails from a hugely cultural family. His mother, Ellen Bojer Nordstoga is a renowned folk singer. His father, Olav Nordstoga is a folk singer, former politician and the chairman of the Vinje Literary Days. In addition, brother Aasmund Nordstoga has made a name for himself as a singer, dancer, actor and radio and tv presenter. Renowned organist K?re Nordstoga is his second cousin.
His career as a recording artist spans 8 years. He made his debut as a recording artist in 1997 with the band Something Odd and their self-titled debut. This album earned them a record deal with BMG Norway and they swiftly released the follow up "Solreven" in 1998. Two minor radio-hits, the folk rock inspired "Fuggel i Karmen" and the haunting ballad "Ingen eg kjenner", came out of this album, but the album sold poorly and the band was dropped from their label. In 2000, Odd Nordstoga changed the name of Something Odd to simply Nordstoga, signed to the Norwegian label Grappa and released a more pop music oriented self titled album. A couple of minor radio hits, "Dag" and "Bie p? deg", ensued. Nordstoga won Norway's prestigious Edvardprisen Award for "Bie p? Deg". However, soon afterwards they disbanded.
Between 2001-2003, Odd Nordstoga concentrated most of his efforts towards the more traditional folk music of Telemark. With his other band Bl?mann Bl?mann (named after the poem by Aasmund O. Vinje), consisting of Nordstoga and his friends from Vinje, guitarist Asgaut H. Bakken, flute player Silje Hegg and harding fiddle virtuoso Lars Underdal, he released a self-titled album to great reviews in 2001, and scored a radio hit in "Tippe Tippe Tuve". In 2002 he teamed up with the Norwegian and highly respected folk musician ?yonn Groven Myhren (amongst other things known from the folk ensemble Dvergm?l) to write, perform and release the album "Nivelkinn", based on poems by Telemark poet Aslaug Vaa. This collaboration scored a couple of minor radio hits in "Uppi M?neskin" and "Guten og Folen", and earned them the Spellemannprisen award (Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy) in 2003 for best folk music album. Nordstoga was also involved in a book release in 2002, namely the song book "Song for deg og meg" (Song for you and I) which he edited, consisting of children songs written in nynorsk, the rural standard of Norway's two written standards.
It was also in 2003 that the mainstream opened its eyes for Nordstoga as he teamed up with famous singer/actress/writer Herborg Kr?kevik to write and perform the title track from her Edith Piaf-cabaret, entitled "Eg & Edith". The cabaret and its soundtrack, although met with great anticipation, was a minor flop in terms of album sales and tickets sold, whereas the title track proved to be a nice radio hit for the pair. Nordstoga, together with lyricist Stein Versto (another Vinje native), also contributed with the track "Rosevev" on this album. Nordstoga had previously worked with Kr?kevik in the film "Det Rare", based on a short story by famous Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas.
In 2004, Nordstoga signed for Universal Records and made his definitive breakthrough with the album Luring, selling 150.000 copies and spending 14 weeks on top of the Norwegian album charts. The lead single from the album, about a howling pig entitled "Kveldssong for deg og meg", is already a Norwegian evergreen and one of the most played songs on Norwegian radio in 2004. "Texas", "Lause Ting", "Hallo Hallo" and "Farvel til deg" from the same album also became massive radio hits for Nordstoga. The tour in the wake of the album, the so-called "Luringtur" tour, which Nordstoga played together with his backing band Daz Nordstogaz Allstars, played to a 60.000 strong crowd. At the Spellemannprisen Awards in February 2005, Nordstoga won two awards as he was named best male artist and Artist of the Year. In the summer of 2005, Nordstoga once again took to the road for the "Luringtur" MK II tour.
Nordstoga has also been involved in TV productions. In 2004 he did the music for the Norwegian children's series "Linus i Svingen" that was broadcast on NRK 1, Norway's public broadcaster. The theme song, "Svingensongen", is being released in 2005 on the compilation album "Tidenes beste barneplate 2". He has also been involved with the music for Norway's vastly popular UHU! series.
In June 2005, Nordstoga teamed up with some of Norway's finest jazz musicians and performed the piece "Pilegrim" to great acclaim at Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen Music Festival). the lyrics were written by lyricists Stein Versto and Ragnar Hovland, both previously involved in the "Luring" production. In August 2005, he made a cameo appearance with Norwegian rap-collective Klovner i Kamp, singing the chorus to their single "Syng".
Odd Nordstoga has also done projects for The Salvation Army and folk music projects with different people, amongst other things, renditions of the famous Telemark piece "Storegut" with brother Aasmund and Lars Underdal, and guest appearances with the band Fake It or Leave It who plays Beatles songs Norwegian folk music style.
Nordstoga released his follow-up to "Luring" in October 2006. Entitled "Heim Te Mor", the album received a great deal of airplay and acclaim from critics all over Norway. The radio single and title track "Heim Te Mor" became a radio hit upon release in September 2006, marking another milestone for Nordstoga as this release marks his first music video as a solo artist, an animated video based on a Nordstoga concert in his local community made by the Animidas film maker crew. With radio single number two "Fr?ken Franzen" coinciding with the album's release, Odd Nordstoga looks set for another album success. He is also responsible for the soundtrack to the forthcoming Christmas children series "Jul i Svingen" on Norway's NRK TV channel, which is the follow up to "Linus i Svingen".
Nordstoga released the songbook "Songfuggel i Karmen" in 2007, containing his greatest hits and his personal favourites. In 2008 the album "Pilegrim" was released to great acclaim, securing the third bestseller in a row for the artist. In the autumn of the same year Nordstoga, together with his brother Aasmund Nordstoga and fiddler Per Anders Buen Garn?s, toured Norway with a revamped version of the Storegut performance.
In the autumn of 2006, Odd Nordstoga was the cause of a controversy between the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK, his management, Universal Records and the producers and cast of Norwegian-Swedish folk music adaptation of the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart piece "The Magic Flute" ("Tryllefl?yten"). Nordstoga, having played Papageno in the piece in the spring of 2006, withdrew from the plans to show the stage adaptation on NRK TV during Christmas 2006. According to Nordstoga's management and label, a screening of the play at this time would collide with Nordstoga's two album releases of 2006 and overexpose him. The result was a massive outburst from some of his contemporaries in the Norwegian folk music scene, most prominently the folk singer Kirsten Br?ten Berg. In the media, Nordstoga was portrayed as the villain, letting his personal career interfere with the ensemble of which he was part. In later interviews, Nordstoga claims to have been very sad about the situation and felt trapped by his obligations toward his recording company.
Odd Nordstoga has showed remarkable crossover potential in his career. He has collaborated with leading Norwegian artists and musicians from a wide variety of genres including folk music , jazz, electronica, chanson and pop. In addition to this, Nordstoga has shown that he is a "jack of all trades" within the cultural field having performed in and helped writing cabarets, opera, edited books and acted in a film.