Sondre Lerche

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Sondre Lerche
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Background information
Birth name Sondre Lerche Vaular
Born (1982-09-05) 5 September 1982 (age 38)
Bergen, Norway
Genres Pop
Indie rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2001–present
Labels EMI Music Norway
Mona Records

Sondre Lerche (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈsondrə ˈlærkə]; born 5 September 1982 in Bergen, Norway) is a Norwegian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released seven studio albums total.


Growing up in Bergen suburb, Lerche was heavily influenced by the 1980s pop that emanated from his older siblings' rooms. Compelled by a defining fascination for bands such as The Beatles, A-ha, the Beach Boys, and Prefab Sprout, Lerche began formal guitar instruction at age eight. Not being satisfied with classical lessons, Lerche's teacher introduced him to Brazilian music (such as Bossa Nova) and thus formed the foundation of Lerche's vast array of complex melodies and chords throughout his music today. At age fourteen, Lerche penned his first song titled, "Locust Girl." Lerche performed acoustic gigs at the club where his sister worked while he was still under age, and was ‘discovered' by Norwegian producer H.P. Gundersen. Under Gundersen's mentorship, Lerche was exposed to diverse music genres, including psychedelia, 1960s pop, and mainstream Brazilian music, broadening his appreciation for eclectic music styles. Around this time Lerche also met up with Oslo-based manager Tatiana Penzo, leading up to a deal with Virgin Norway. His popularity in his home country increased steadily, and in 2000 he recorded his debut album, Faces Down.

Faces Down was a hit in Norway and received critical praise in Norway and the United StatesRolling Stone Magazine placed it in their top 50 albums of 2002. He toured in America and Europe. The songs from Faces Down had been completed before winter 2000 but postponed for release until Lerche fulfilled several academic requirements. In the interim, he was named Best New Act at the Norwegian Grammys (Spellemannprisen) and performed locally in support of major acts such as Beth Orton. Faces Down was officially released in Norway in September 2001 and gradually throughout all of Europe. Lerche toured with various acts, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the stage with his long-time idols, a-ha, in Oslo. Autumn 2002 saw the release of Faces Down in America and Lerche's first major tour of the United States.[1] He released the live/studio collection Don't Be Shallow EP the following year. In 2003, he toured with another one of his musical heroes, Elvis Costello (they toured together once again in 2005).

In 2004 his second album was released, Two Way Monologue, also produced by Gundersen. The album displayed more of Lerche's ability to span many different styles—from pop-like and upbeat tracks to more mellow or melodic tunes. It was very well received, with positive reviews in Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. Devon Powers of Popmatters praised Sondre's "contagious musical sensibilities, exhilarating vigor and downright stupefying songcraft," and noted that "Lerche manages to both push himself and maintain an allegiance to his ways -- something artists twice his age have trouble doing.".[2]

On 27 February 2006, Duper Sessions was released. It is a jazz album recorded in the fall of 2005 with his band the Faces Down and pianist Erik Halvorsen at Duper Studios in Bergen.

His February 2007 release, Phantom Punch, is a rock album with a more aggressive sound than his previous work. Lerche and the Faces Down recorded and mixed the album in Los Angeles in April and May 2006, with producer Tony Hoffer. He also composed the musical score of the movie Dan in Real Life.

In September 2009, Sondre released Heartbeat Radio, to critical acclaim. While it maintained the studio polish of his groundbreaking debut, there was also a sense of musical adventure that mixed acoustic guitars with grand gestures of orchestral pop, elements of 1950s Jazz, 1960s and 1970s Brazilian psych-folk, and state-of-the-art 1980s pop masters such as Prefab Sprout, Scritti Politti and Fleetwood Mac. In his review, Mikael Wood of the L.A. Times wrote, "No matter what genre he’s working in — fuzzy garage rock, breezy vocal jazz, acoustic folk-pop — this young Norwegian singer-songwriter crafts catchier choruses than many musicians who’ve been working twice as long as he has." Allmusic Guide's Tim Sendra called Heartbeat Radio Sondre's "best work to date."

In June 2011, Sondre released the self-titled Sondre Lerche, on his own Mona Records. Praised by Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Stereogum, Filter, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly among others for its experimentation with contrasting musical sounds, this eponymous album contains Sondre’s most interesting arrangements and catchy songwriting to date, but also some of his most somber and introspective. But for this sixth album, Sondre’s prolific curiosity didn’t lead him to a new genre so much as introduce a new level of candidness in his work. From the gripping cut-to-the-chase opener “Ricochet” to the uber-catchy “Private Caller,” from the naked drama of “Red Flags,” the tribal-pop of “Go Right Ahead” and the sly folk of “Living Dangerously,” the self-titled album captures a raw, spontaneous, instinctive and heartfelt sound that results in a confident artistic statement.

In the studio, Sondre wanted to explore his new creative alliances in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood where he’s lived on and off for the last six years. “Getting to work with my new friends was one of the highlights of this whole process,” says Sondre. The album was recorded – live in the studio – and mixed in a short but intense time period of three-weeks. The sessions included fellow musicians – Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith, longtime producer/collaborator Kato Ådland, Dave Heilman, drummer for Lerche-collaborator Regina Spektor, and co-producer, mixer and owner of Rare Book Room Studio, Nicolas Verhnes (Spoon, Animal Collective). “We recorded a lot of it to tape, forcing ourselves to either commit or burn bridges and move on. We were killing darlings left and right. It was truly liberating.”

Personal life

In July 2005, Lerche married Norwegian model, actress and director Mona Fastvold.[3] They divorced in 2013. [4]

Sondre Lerche is the cousin of Norwegian rapper Lars Vaular. In 2012, they collaborated on the single "Øynene Lukket" [5]



Appears in



  • "All Luck Ran Out" (2001)
  • "Rosebud/Sleep on Needles" (2001)
  • "Sleep on Needles" (2002)
  • "Days That Are Over" (2004)
  • "Minor Detail" (2006)
  • "Say it All" (2006)
  • "Phantom Punch" (2006)
  • "Phantom Punch"/"Europa & The Pirate Twins" (2007)
  • "The Tape"/"Face the Blood" (2007)
  • "Heartbeat Radio" (2009)
  • "Private Caller" (2011)
  • "Domino" (2011)
  • "It's Never Meant to Be"/"Countdown" (2012)
  • "The Plague" (2013)
  • "Public Hi-Fi Sessions 01" (2013)
  • "Bad Law" (2014)


  1. Blanford, Roxanne. "Sondre Lerche Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Powers, Devon (March 26, 2004). "Sondre Lerche: Two Way Monologue". Popmatters
  3. Wittlif, Caitlin (2007-02-20). "Sound Bites". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 2008-03-14. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "SONDRE LERCHE". Retrieved 18 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Talseth, Thomas (4 May 2012). "Lars Vaular og Sondre Lerche: "Øynene lukket"". VG. Retrieved 7 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by
Recipient of the Newcomer Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by