10 Questions with ... "Atle" Atle Pettersen
July 11, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Atle Pettersen is a Norwegian singer and songwriter. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the lead singer of the band The Scheen. He has also worked with the rock bands Above Symmetry and Kamelot.
He first came to the public's attention as a contestant on the Junior Grand Prix singing competition and was the runner up on X-Factor in his home country.
1) What was it that got you interested in music?
It's been a passion for as long as I can remember! My mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I answered, "Rock Star." I guess it was the experience with junior grand prix that made me decide that I wanted to be an artist. I was only 14 and the performance for 8000 people live on TV gave me a huge kick. I from that day there hasn't been any other path for me.
2) Please tell us about your experience as a contestant on the Junior Grand Prix singing competition and X Factor? How did these programs help you become a better performer?
They gave me a lot of experience and they made me understand the importance of always being 100% prepared. If you want to be a great artist and performer you have to perform a lot! So these shows gave me the chance to go out and play live from an early age. Also, when you get to hang around and work with the best, you just have to absorb everything. So I'm really thankful that I learned so much from these shows!
3) After X Factor you fronted the hard rock band The Sheen and you also appeared with the progressive metal band Kamelot. You seem to be very comfortable with many diverse styles of music. How did you transition from these bands to your current adult R&B pop style?
I think it makes you better as an artist and performer to have a lot of understanding about different genres. Every genre I've done has in some way added something to me as an artist. It's because of progressive metal that I got a good falsetto, weird you might think? But when we rehearsed (something we did a lot) I couldn't scream all the time, so I ended up singing a lot in falsetto at the rehearsals. The reason I ended up doing this Pop/R&B? The sound! It's just a lot of stuff put together in a blender and out came ATLE.
4) We have seen a lot of artists breaking out of Scandinavia lately with acts like Lukas Graham, Born, Zara Larsson, yourself and many more. Do you attribute the rise of these artists to the growth of streaming platforms in this part of the world?
I would defiantly say that streaming has a part of it. Mostly because streaming takes away all the politics in the music industry and it gives the power to the people. It doesn't matter who you are anymore or if you know the right people in the industry. It's only about the music and that's how it should be! But I also want to give credit to big acts like Kygo, Zara Larsson, Nico & Vinz, Lukas Graham for bringing attention to the Scandinavian scene!
5) You're somewhat of a television phenomenon in your home country of Norway. In addition to being the runner-up on X-Factor, you won the "Dance With The Stars" equivalent called "Skal Vi Danse" in addition to your acting and modeling career. How do you find time for all these activities and still stay focused on your music career?
Well, the first rule is to sleep less! Ha! Ha! Everything I do is for some reason a part of a bigger plan, and everything relates to the artist I am in some way. Music will always be the love of my life! I'm extremely focused in everything I do, and as long as you keep your eyes on the prize, you'll stay creative and get results!
6) What was the inspiration for your new single "Ready To Love?"
It came out of me doing this big band concert in Norway, so when I went to LA I was really into this orchestra strong/hit stuff. So we wanted to make a song that could be played with a huge band. That, combined with my producer 'Christian Davis's love for R&B harmonies and funky tracks, resulted in "Ready To Love." (I should also mention that I'm a big fan of Justin Timberlake).
7) Please tell us about the making of your new video for "Ready To Love"? How creatively involved were you with the making of this video?
I came to the director/producer/photographer Olav Stubberud with an idea of making a classic black and grey video. I wanted a studio video with some sexy ladies dancing. I actually booked the dancers before I talked to Olav. He took the idea one more step by adding the contrast with the switch between black and white and adding the cartoon stuff. And boom! There you have a video.
8) Please tell us about the recording process on your new album and working with producer Christian Davis?
It's a challenge since I live in Norway and he is in LA/Nashville. But I try to go to the US as often as I can, or he comes to Norway. He is a very productive guy, so we start the session by listening through the tracks that he has already made, and when we both feel a track we write to it. We almost always cut the vocals in the same writing session, because we're in some kind of zone. It works good for me! I think we wrote and cut "Ready To Love" in four hours.
9) What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
I believe songwriting is hard work and that creativity can be taught. I'm not the kind of guy who wakes up in the middle of the night and suddenly has to write something. I sit down with a plan and I write a song. I don't stop until it's done. Songwriting is like any other profession. You have to do it a lot to be good at it.
10) Please describe your experience the first time you heard your song on the radio?
It's almost impossible to describe because it's so awesome! I was very happy and humble of course. But I also got very inspired! Because suddenly you realize that hard work pays off and everything is possible if you work hard enough!