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10th May 2022

Interview: Amy Bell

With her early life rooted in Norway, so were NORA’s earliest musical achievements. From  having one of her original tracks arranged by The Norwegian Royal Navy Orchestra along  with a performance at The Firework Concert, to winning the Talent and Cultural Award for making a significant impact on creative and cultural life in her region of Norway. Being a  business-minded woman, NORA also put on an entire music video premiere screening,  inviting people from all over Norway, getting sponsorship deals to fund the drinks to the red  carpet and booking Zahid Ali, a Norwegian stand-up comedian, to host the night.

Ever since she was a child, she has had a hustler energy, something she undoubtedly learnt  from growing up with a single mother, in a crazy, fun, open and warm creative household.  From the age of 17 she has worked as a professional singer and entertainer within all fields  in the creative industry, had the oddest jobs and written and performed all kinds of music in  all kinds of places. As long as she did what she loved- performing and giving her all in the  music, singing her little heart out, she didn’t care where she did it.  

Congrats on your new single! Growing up, were you always influenced by music?

Thank you so much! Yes, 100%! Music has been a constant in my life in so many ways, ever since birth. My mum, working as an entertainer took me along to all her shows, rehearsals, small tours etc from I was 6 weeks old!  There was always music playing at home, either with mum practising for a role or a gig, or just us simply goofing around dancing and singing at home, making up songs and putting on our own shows. One point in particular that influenced me funnily enough, was when mum had her role as Marilyn Monroe, and only being 3/4 years old this was the first English songs I learnt! - This was probably when the little Diva in me was born too! Haha!

Your new single ‘Boys Getting Bored’ is now out, I feel like a lot of people can relate to this song.. what made you want to write this song and is it from a personal story at all? 

Yeah, I too do feel like this is something a lot of people can relate too! This is also one of the reasons why I wrote the song in the first place. Just as music has been a constant in my life, having really bad luck in love/ a bad dating history has been as much of a constant in my young adult life. I really do feel like It’s a curse sometimes, to be honest! Haha!

So yes, the song is definitely from a personal story. Not only based on the one encounter though but rather all these countless times in my life where history has repeated itself. My friend actually said to me the other day “You really do have a special talent in attracting these unstable types!” Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but even though I know better I have found myself still doing the same thing over and over. Giving a new guy or an old one, way too many chances -  which I know is a common factor for a lot of us girls!  Dating in these times is simply, impossible. It seems like getting their ego stroked and winning some sort of twisted game is more important than forming real attachments. I guess that that day in the studio I was particularly tired of all of it. Hearing too many of these stories from my friends, and other girls over the years.  Like, literally I feel like on a night out this is 100% what you and a random girl bond over in the toilets. It wasn’t planned, the words just came so easy! Probably because at this point it had taken up so much room in my head that I felt it was about time I took back the power and use it to my advantage, change the narrative and hopefully break the cycle!

It is such an empowering track, especially the lyrics, what was the vision for the single, but also for the music video?

Thank you so much! Lyrics I would say have always been, as a songwriter my strong suit! I think the vision for the single from just my own point of view, was exactly that - to empower, to take back the power! These past few years I’ve been on a journey, not just as an artist, but as a human being - especially as a woman. To become a more badass, stronger, wiser and more confident version of myself - NORA 2.0 if you will! I needed to write this track, as well as the whole project I am working on to give myself, and my fellow females out there a louder voice, an anthem, more room in this society, more room to grow and show what we are made of. As an artist this is something I am very passionate about. That someone listening to my music, especially fellow females would find this track to be the extra little kick in the behind like it was for me. To become the absolute best version of themselves, and sing it with their girlfriends at the top of their lungs at the pre-drinks, celebrating exactly that - that it's finally OUR time!

When it comes to the music video, as a songwriter I tend to get visuals in my head whilst writing, almost like my feelings will appear as images or scenarios inside my head. Even since I was a little girl I would play out scenarios in this way, like a movie. Perhaps why my lyrics most of the time are so descriptive. A lot of the time I will get inspired by a concept. You should see my notes on my phone, most of them are just named “Song Concept”. 

I knew from the start that I wanted to portray the very relatable narrative of “coming home after a night out” in the visuals, as I’ve already painted that picture in the lyrics. Where you start the night classy, had a lot of fun with your friends, and then when you finally get home… Classy quickly turns into trashy: You are eating everything there is to find in the cupboards, in the strangest places in your house, making an absolute mess to wake up to the next day. The bathtub especially I know seems a bit random, but this is where me and my friends, always ended up whenever I had house parties growing up. Until one day the guy that had just broken up with me when I was 18 and his mates decided to trash it at one of my parties. So the bathtub is in many ways symbolic to my life as well! I wanted to capture this feeling we all get coming home after a night out, and needed to do it in a NORA way - To make it crazy, but somehow also fashionable and artsy. My EP coming out has a very clear topic, where each song speaks to some way of living and dating in this modern world. It was therefore important to me that the video matched that playful, modern, colourful palette that is going to be setting the tone for the rest of the releases this year.

What was the recording and writing process like for ‘Boys Getting Bored’?

The recording and writing process was actually spread out over a good amount of time. We started this track I think in 2019, when I came straight from the airport to a late-night session with Will and Julez at Tilyard studios. I think in our first session we wrote almost the whole song in only a few hours. We then had a few sessions spread out, one of them being where we wrote the “We got Pinocchio on fire” section in the song. Probably one of my favourite moments to be honest! I remember when Will and I came up with this idea, We started clapping this rhythm and singing the lyrics, and we were just like - YES!! This is fire! Literally. There was no doubt this had to be in the song.I think the song in general, we didn’t spend many sessions on the writing process. Then, of-course Corona hit so we had to do this over zoom, and I had to annoy the boys with all my little tweaks here and there... Especially when it came to this “Bigger bass’ I kept wanting! But we definitely got there in the end, and it was so worth it!  I can’t believe it, but I just realised we started it back in 2019 and finished the whole production in 2021! Which is crazy to think about now! 

I feel like when we are on a night out and we get approached by boys, it is always the same pickup lines, what has been your funniest pick-up line someone has said to you? 

I think maybe the biggest “Go to” with guys on a night out is trying to impress me with the one cheesy or cheeky sentence they learnt on a lads-Holiday to a Scandinavian country, like literally upon a handshake he is already telling me he loves me in Norwegian or Swedish… Maybe a bit too soon mate?

What is coming up for you next? 

Coming for me next is a few different things! I have one single coming up, following this one, before my EP “Boring Personality Disorder” will be dropping in the middle of summer! Finally! Boys Getting Bored obviously being featured on there, with 5 other tracks that I would say are all very girl power-based, and are all meant to empower more badass females out there!  The whole EP really is based on this narrative of claiming our power and having fun whilst we do it! I also have some exciting shows coming up, one of them being a show in collaboration with the fashion brand La Dama Lingerie, where I will be giving an exclusive pre-premiere of the EP live on the 2nd July! And there might also be an EP launch in the cards later in July as well… I am also releasing a track called Cracks which is the credit soundtrack for the documentary “No Place Like Home”, which will be aired on several TV-Channels in Scandinavia this fall.  

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