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Norwegian music industry’s export facilitator and promotional organisation.

Export Award: Bet everything on the USA – and won

By Julie Vold Posted: 22. May, 2017

William Wiik Larsen’s singles have sold 10 million copies in the last four years.

William Wiik Larsen, previously known as both Nasty Kutt and Will IDAP, can look back on an incredible 2016. During the year he co-wrote the biggest country song in the United States. Slightly absurd for a Norwegian with a background from a hip hop collective.

Manager and companion Julian Alexander gives us the story of the unique talent.

“I started working with William when he was about 15 years old. He was a “wiz kid” on the DJ front who constantly made beats that he gave me on CD”, says Julian Alexander.

William soon became a part of Pass It Records – a collective of artists, producers and DJs in hip hop and rap. He featured as DJ for Equicez, which led to his first placement through Equicez’Axel Purcell first solo album «It Is Wha It Is» in 2007.

“William has always been an extremely talented and hard working guy, and I appreciated that,” continues Julian Alexander.

Hits all over
When the days of Pass It were over, Julian and William decided to join forces to launch their new production and publishing company IDAP Music in 2008. The time that followed turned out to be highly successful for Wiik Larsen, both as songwriter and producer. He produced a large number of hits for well known Norwegian artists, such as Karpe Diem (Vestkantsvartinga, Byduer i Bur, Ett Under Par), Jaa9 &OnklP (Krølla 50-lapp Y’ll), Lars Vaular (Neei!), Madcon (Fåkke Fly Bort, Be Mine) og Erik & Kriss (Ølbriller, Store Drømmer).

However, Julian and William had their own big dreams about making it in the United States. And when William Wiik Larsen was at the peak of his career in Norway, they decided to make the dream come true.

“Given Williams’s career in Norway, you might say it was crazy to start from scratch in the United States,” says Julian Alexander.

He tells us about a whole new life with Greyhound buses and small hotel rooms with cockroaches. All their savings were spent doing research in the United States. In the end, Los Angeles proved to be the best option for producers and songwriters. But first they had to get a work visa, a process that was not exactly completed overnight. Therefore they continued working in Norway while their visa applications were pending, focusing on the idea that the new production should lead to US success.

The result was the Nico & Vinz song “Am I Wrong”, where William Wiik Larsen is credited as both producer and songwriter.

“The idea was, if you as an outsider want to succeed in the United States, you have to offer something different from what’s already available. There is no point in offering the same as Drake. That is the experience we brought with us and used to shape the Nico & Vinz songs, “says Julian.

The song became a great hit all over the world and peaked on 4th place on the Billboard Hot 100. “Am I Wrong” went  on to be the most played song on American radio on all platforms for a while. The song has sold more than five million units worldwide.

Country Success
One big success can lead to more. In 2016, Larsen experienced another highlight in the United States – but this time in a different and maybe surprising genre, country. The Florida Georgia Line song “H.O.L.Y.”, which Wiik Larsen wrote together with the American songwriter Busbee, went to #1 on the Billboard country list and stayed there for 18 weeks.

Julian Alexander was not surprised by the fact that Wiik Larsen would get a hit country song.

“William is like a “method actor” in the actor world. He walks in with the purpose to understand the person and project he is working with – in order to then develop something unique. Sound and genre comes second. What William brings to the table is always his intuitive understanding of well-balanced and strong songs, and his genuine musicality. Combining it with incredibly good programming, you get a guy who can take a song and produce it from scratch completely on his own, and complete a creative vision without compromises.

Florida Georia Lines great hit H.O.L.Y.

Outstanding talent
California band Train is one of the international artists Wiik Larsen has worked with and written for. He has actually written and produced six songs from the their recent album “A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat”, including the single “Play that Song” – which recently reached 500,000 units sold in the United States.

Frontman Patrick Monahan sends a greeting to William:
“William Larsen is a one of a kind talent and positive force. I feel lucky to know him and have worked with him. Will makes me feel like I could do anything. Thanks, Will!”

About the nomination, Larsen says:
“I am honored to be nominated for the export award and thankful for what Music Norway does! I am proud to be able to represent Norway internationally with such a talented people.»

William Wiik Larsen has sold 10 million singles in the last four years. His songs have been streamed around 1.5 billion times on Spotify.

The other nominees for Music Norway and Spellemann’s export prize are Alan Walker, Lise Davidsen, Cashmere Cat, Mette Henriette and Seeb.

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