Rebekka Bakken presents a stirring Portrait of the Music on her Mind


Singer, songwriter, pianist, composer, and producer. Award-winning recording artist Rebekka Bakken has many caps to wear and she wears every single one of them incredibly well. From her beginnings in various school bands to her latest album, “Always On My Mind”, she has proven time and time again that she has talent in spades. In an industry full of one-hit wonders and singers who disappear as fast as soap bubbles, the Norwegian artist has managed to build a successful career that spans over two decades since she released her debut solo album, “The Art Of How To Fall”, in 2003.

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Pulling from many influences and gifted with a rich and sensual voice which is encompassing three octaves, Rebekka Bakken has built her very own musical world, song after song and album after album. She has consistently refused to be confined to a single genre, hopping easily from jazz, soul, and funk to pop, folk, and country. In her hands, the genre of a song doesn’t matter half as much as the feelings she manages to convey every single time with her unique voice and very personal musical arrangements.

Throughout her career, the versatile artist has collaborated with the likes of Austrian jazz guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, with whom she toured the New York City nightclub scene in the early 2000s, poetic jazz singer and pianist Julia Hülsmann, giving birth to a jazz album, “Scattering Poems”, with lyrics inspired by the poems of E. E. Cummings, German jazz saxophonist Christof Lauer, and Norwegian folk singer Sondre Bratland, who were all able to recognize her talent and singular voice early in her career. Though she was acknowledged by talents in the industry early on, commercial success came after her return to Europe.

Since then, she has released several successful albums, each and every one of them marked by her wonderful musical abilities as well as her very unique style. That’s what makes her fans want to listen to her music over and over again. With every song, she pulls us into a world of her own creation, singular and inimitable, and invites us to discover it album after album.

Rebekka Bakken has cultivated her artistic identity for years, both through the influence of artists she admires and connects with, and through her own experience, both professional and personal. Whether she composes her own songs or covers the songs of other artists, she always manages to make them her own. Thanks to her talent as a composer and musician, and the maturity and range of emotions she can infuse in her rich voice, she can finely tailor the songs she covers without depriving them of their original soul.

And this is exactly what she does with “Always On My Mind”. In her newest release, she pays homage to the artists who helped her find her voice and are always on her mind when she creates new music. Inspired by legends such as The Beatles and Peter Gabriel, as well as more contemporary artists, like Finneas, she signs a collection of fifteen tracks that are as widely known to the public as they are intimate to Rebekka Bakken.

Her orchestrations – masterful yet minimalist – give each song a fresh breath and a sense of renewal that only highlights their original popularity. Accompanied by some of the finest musicians in Norway, her soulful voice invites us on yet another journey through her private musical landscape.

A classic amongst all, Elton John’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes” is number eleven on her tracklist. The legendary British singer is forever associated with the heydays of pop music, sentimental lyrics, and flamboyant orchestrations. His voice is as recognizable as his songs. Yet, Rebekka Bakken manages to turn this iconic piece into her own. Her version is less lively and more melancholic than the original, with minimalistic musical arrangements dominated by a soulful piano and jazzy percussions. The lyrics, both somber and comforting, almost mystical at times, suit her voice that can give off warmth and sadness with the same ease. It’s not an easy task to go toe to toe with Sir Elton John, but Bakken sings a beautiful cover that is both, homage to a singer who has inspired her and a pure reflection of her inner world.

She takes on another massive challenge with a cover of “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. The swoon-worthy song became immensely popular when it appeared as the lead single of the soundtrack of the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In Bakken’s deft hands, the power ballad takes a more reflective intonation, as if the lyrics were private thoughts rather than a sweeping love declaration. The electric guitar in the background is a melodic red thread that reminds us of the ballad’s more romantic version, but once again, the Norwegian singer managed to put her stamp on the song, producing an elegant and personal rendition that has no difficulty standing on its own.

Not one to make things easy for herself, her entire album is made of songs that have found great success on their own – who hasn’t heard “Yesterday” by The Beatles? Yet, Bakken manages the tour de force of making us believe that these songs could have been written for her, without glitz or fanfare. She doesn’t use cheap tricks, she simply opens up through each one of these songs to let us catch a glimpse of who she truly is, as an artist and as a person.

Time and again, the singer has composed and produced beautiful music. Her talent has been recognized both by professionals in the industry and by the public. The longevity of her career speaks for itself. With this album of covers chosen from all those who have inspired her journey, she sings one of her most personal albums. It’s a stirring portrait of the music on her mind. Rebekka Bakken doesn’t have anything to prove anymore, yet she still has so much to express, and when it’s said in a voice as beautiful as hers, we can only be grateful that she does.

Written by Camille Hourtane for Pop Magazine

Camille is a bilingual freelance writer with an unending passion for storytelling. She writes pieces in English and in French, with an emphasis on food/travel/society articles and fantasy/gothic/supernatural stories. She likes nothing more than to explore new places, whether in body or in mind.

Photo by Gregor Hohenberg

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