Norwegian music industry’s export facilitator and promotional organisation.

Export Award: Historical record debut and a unique style

By Julie Vold

Mette Henriette has attracted great international attention with her unique and genre-crossing music

Mette Henriette Martedatter Rølvåg (26), better known under her artist name Mette Henriette, started her saxophonist career at a young age. From her hometown Trondheim she made herself known as both a composer and a musician. Not only in Norway, but beyond the country’s borders.

In 2013 she took part in one of the legendary performance-artist Marina Abramovic’s films, and the following year, the two entered into a duo performance at The Hole in Manhattan, New York, curated by Antony Hegarty.

Two years later Mette Henriette became historical by being the first artist to publish a double debut album on the renown German jazz label ECM Records. The self-titled album, produced by ECM founder Manfred Eicher, was described by the record label as an “arrestingly original musical statement” where the music creates a whole new world defying genre definitions.

Unique style of music
It didn’t take long before reactions from abroad reached her. The album was named the jazz record of the year in The Independent, and The Guardian called Mette Henriette a «contemporary music star on the rise». She also played live on Gilles Peterson’s program on BBC Radio and has received great coverage in everything from Elle France to jazz-oriented publications like All About Jazz and Jazzwise.

Bugge Wesseltoft, jury member of Spellemann and Music Norway’s export award, believes Mette Henriette has excelled particularly in the field of jazz.

«Mette Henriette is one of the strongest and most exciting new voices in Norwegian and international jazz, with a unique style of music where she mixes improvised music with contemporary and folk music,» he says about the nomination.

Excerpt from Mette Henriette’s debut album at ECM.

NyMusikk’s artistic director and Kunstnernes Hus director-elect, Anne Hilde Neset, also believes that Mette Henriette has played a particularly important role in the intersection of genres.

«Mette Henriette is an important player in genre-free music. Her openness and interest in several art forms are liberating and enriching. Her intimate and nuanced double album on ECM shows a multifaceted and complex artistry,» she says in a comment.

Talent and presence
Mette Henriette has been touring the world and sold out a number of venues in Europe and the United States. In 2016 she was the opening act at the Berlin Jazz Festival, made the listeners at the Atlanta Jazz Festival speech less and received standing ovations for trio concerts in France and Portugal. Recently, she premiered the solo performance In Between at documenta 14, which is considered the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world, next to La Biennale di Venezia.

One of the world’s most prestigious artist photographers and music video-creators Anton Corbijn, who has worked with artists like Depeche Mode, Nirvana, R.E.M. and U2, is the man behind her album’s cover photographs. He describes Mette Henriette as an artist of rare qualities.

«It’s rare to meet someone in the world of music that I have not heard of, who then surprises me with their talent and presence. Mette has that quality,» he told in an interview with D2.

Mette Henriette has also been a representative of the Sami art scene and has collaborated with traditional duodji artists, played at the Sami Parliament, and is behind the opening ceremony at the leading international indigenous festival Riddu Riđđu in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Sami first national meeting in Trondheim in 1917.

The nomination came as a surprise to Mette Henriette.

«This was quite a surprise. I would like to thank Spellemann and Music Norway for the nomination. I have just premiered a solo performance at documents 14 and am now enjoying a few days in the studio before I fly to Denmark for a film production next week. It would be a pleasure to be able to give those NOK 100,000 to someone who supported me and provided me with good musical experiences during my childhood, as a sign of my gratitude,» she says.

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


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