“How did you end up working in the United States? What was your road to where you are now?”
– I started my career in Oslo as a DJ on the radio, but inside a CHR format, so I couldn’t play what I wanted. I did that for a few years before I went to study cinematography in Chicago in 2004.
After Sørum graduated in ’07, he moved to Santa Monica to intern for a production company called Radical Media. They represented directors and produced doing mostly documentaries, commercials, and music videos.
– At that internship, I was responsible for visually displaying ideas the directors had, suggest concepts for music videos, or simply just assist them in any way I could. I got to work with a lot of talented people including directors Dave Meyers and Chris Milk.
During a music video concept he did for Gnarls Barkley’s – “Gone Daddy Gone” Sørum worked on the development and got to be on set. This is where he saw an A&R in action, which changed his direction. That one person could be involved with all the aspects of the artist made him want to do the same.
Read more: 120 gigs abroad, but back to nature for Skatebård
Met Fallon and Felisha King in Atlanta
– I had been shooting videos for independent artists in LA and got a call from someone in Atlanta that had an artist that he wanted me to A&R the project for. No label structure, just super indie. I moved the next month. This was the fall of ’08.
In Atlanta, Sørum made it a point to network. While attending an event with the indie label owner, artist, and producer, he met two people that would shift his focus—Fallon and Felisha King.
– Fallon was the first person I started to manage. We had lunch one day next to a known studio in Atlanta called 11th Street Studios. I had been there in ’09, and Fallon had recorded her last album there. We could not afford to pay for the studio time, so I made a barter with the owner of the studio.
The first year Fallon wrote 127 songs, quality demos according to Sørum. They went to sessions 6-8 times a week.
– We had formulated our plan, which was based on a blitz the market approach. Get her in with as many talented producers she could, so they all would know her talent, and talk about her amongst each other and to their publishers and management.
Turned out that Sørum’s strategy worked well and within a little over a year Fallon signed to UMPG. Shortly after Felisha signed to SonyATV.
– People say hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, and yeah that’s often true, but who wants to succeed without actually having real talent. Luckily they have both.