Photo by Kaja Bruskeland

 

Torun Eriksen debuted with her album Glittercard (Jazzland Recordings, 2003) and has since made her mark as a unique voice, with an ever-growing audience on the Norwegian and international music stages. 

 

From her early childhood onwards, it was in various gospel choirs that Torun was given the chance to extend her potential as a singer and soloist. With a solid background in soul and gospel, her introduction to jazz was at high school in her hometown of Skien. Her encounter with The Real Book and jazz standards introduced a completely new musical world.  Teacher and pianist Roger Jeffs spotted Torun’s talent, and encouraged her to write English lyrics to one of his melodies. The foundation for a career in song writing had been laid. 

 

When she moved to Oslo and enrolled in the Norwegian Institute for Stage and Studio (NISS) in 1998, she was already composing. She quickly began making her name as a soul and pop singer in various cover bands the city’s stages, but her own material remained unheard by audiences. Around this time she began working with bass player Kjetil Dalland, who is still one of her closest musical partners. Along with a couple of others they formed a band and recorded a demo with three of Torun’s songs.

 

By coincidence, the demo was overheard by Bugge Wesseltoft, who was very excited about the song "Glittercard" and offered to release a record on his label, Jazzland Recordings. She then gathered the musicians who have since contributed to the acoustic sound of her music: David Wallumrød (piano), Kjetil Dalland (bass), Torstein Lofthus (percussion) and Frøydis Grorud (flute/saxophone). Along with Bugge Wesseltoft as their producer, they made the album Glittercard, which was released internationally in the spring of 2004.

 

In 2006, the sequel Prayers and Observations was released - this too produced by Wesseltoft – and in April of 2010 her third record, Passage, came out. This latter record was produced by Anders Engen, and with the addition of guitarist Kjetil Steensnæs, the acoustic image became more string oriented. After Passage, Torun decided to take some time off from her own material. She asked the acclaimed Swedish producer Tobias Frøberg (Ane Brun, Merit Hemnningson) to join her, and together with David Wallumrød (Hammond/piano/analogue synthesizers), Audun Erlien (el. bass) and Ola Hultgren (drums) they recorded and released Visits in 2013. This was a covers album, showing new sides of Torun’s musicality (and through the lens of Frøberg’s production). However, it was primarily a reminder of her abilities as a storyteller. 

 

Visits provided Torun with the inspiration she needed to rediscover her own music and stories. She also realized she wanted to produce herself. She brought Kjetil Dalland back on board as co-producer. The result was Grand White Silk (2016). This was an album where, for the first time, Torun allowed electronic elements to meet and blend with the organic and acoustic soundscapes of her previous albums.

 

As a lyricist, Torun wrote exclusively in English up until November 2010, when she and Frøydis Grorud released the Christmas album Sanger Om Glede Og Fred  (Songs Of Joy And Peace), released by Jazzland Recordings.  This album contains Torun’s first song with Norwegian lyrics "Vente på Jul" ("Waiting for Christmas"), along with "Elv" ("River"), which is her translation of Joni Mitchell’s "River". 

 

Torun has collaborated with artists like Nils Wülker, Susan Weinert, Julia Hülsmann, and Ensemble Denada, and has contributed to a number of records as a featured artist and lyricist. Her music has been arranged for chamber orchestras, big bands and choirs. The collaboration with German Jazzchor Freiburg began in 2007, and they have toured this project in Japan, Korea, Germany and France. Together they also recorded an a cappella version of the song "In Person" (Glittercard, 2003), which can be found on the choir’s album A Cappella from 2010.

 

Her most recent album, Luxury and Waste (Jazzland Rec/Edel, 2018) is a duo album with Kjetil Dalland. The album received accolades in the Norwegian and German press, with critics describing it as «A fabulous album» (Die Digitale Jazz-Zeitung), «The most successful variation of melancholy this year» (Na Dann Münster Week 35), «A musical gem» (Jazz Podium October 2018), and «A masterpiece, where exquisite playing and heavenly vocal work together» (Vårt Land).