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Industry Talk: Karen Norbakk is making a move to Berlin

By Christian Gran Svenningsen Posted: 01. Mar, 2019

Karen Norbakk.

Karen Norbakk has been a manager for years at Mandelbaum Management, working with acts such has Cashmere Cat, Digitalism and Henrik The Artist. In 2017 Norbakk was awarded an industry grant, and in 2018 she was part of the Nordic Music Biz’ 20 under 30.

Read more: Industry grant to Karen Norbakk

Now she is moving to Berlin to work as an A&R Manager for Columbia Records Germany, and at the same time working as a manager for Mandelbaum.

We had a chat with her about her move to Berlin, and to hear her tips and tricks around the music industry.

“What has been on your to do list lately, and what takes most of your time?”

“My to do list has included preparing a big move to Berlin for mye new job with Columbia, while preparing a new release with Digitalism, and putting together sessions for Henrik. And, trying to do as much headspace meditations as I can, phew.”

“What is the most important piece of advice you have ever received?”

“The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend’s dad, who told her that one “yes” opens five more doors, while a “no” closes five doors. I try to say yes to opportunities.”

Read more: Nordic Music Biz’ 20 under 30 2018

“Any helpful tips and tricks for a way around the industry?”  

“Be nice to everyone! You never know who you’re going to meet on your way up. Also, if you deliver at your job, you can be whoever the f*** you want to be, it’s not your activity in nightclubs that’s going to win you a Grammy. S/o Vegard Waske!”

“Why Norway, why now? Where are we going?”

“Norway is in a different position than it was a few years ago – with more international potential, and I hope we are moving into a market where people are more open to collaborations across borders. Norway is a small market, and I feel like we need to make sure our artists are supported and pushed beyond their comfort zones. Both with financial support and information. Furthermore, if a 100% producer cut has more weight than 10% cuts, we’re in trouble.”

“Who in the Norwegian music industry deserves a high five?”

“Erlend Buflaten, cant say it enough! He’s been my friend through hectic years, introducing the Norwegian market to foreign press and industry while being the best guy to bring to an afterparty. Now he manages Seeb, and I hope he takes on the world next.”

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