GUIDE: 15 Acts You Need to Catch at by:Larm Festival 2021

The Norwegian showcase festival by:Larm is back and so is a great opportunity to discover new music. Here are 15 picks from the lineup that we wouldn’t wanna miss this year!

Priya Ragu playing at by:Larm Festival 2021
Priya Ragu by Matilda Jenkins

We probably don’t need to say that we’re overwhelmed and excited about the fact that we’re attending an actual festival this week. Damn we’ve missed it!

This year, by:Larm Festival in Oslo, Norway takes place from the 30th of September till October 2nd. It’s a combined showcase festival and music business conference gathering a great part of the Scandinavian music industry as well as delegates from around the world in what always turns out as a magical couple of days with inspiring talks, meeting new people, roaming the streets of Oslo, and of course experiencing new music through memorable concerts in sweaty venues!

Acts like Maggie Rogers, MØ, Lykke Li, Robyn and Billie Eilish have previously played at the festival and the excitement of potentially discovering the next big name is a big part of making festivals like these so special.

However, it’s a huge lineup and even if you tried your best, you simply wouldn’t be able to catch every single name on the poster. But don’t worry about it! We’ve studied this year’s lineup closely and pointed out 15 killer artists that you don’t wanna miss if you’re heading over to by:Larm Festival this year. Here we go!

Ash Olsen (NO)

When: Thursday at 10pm & Saturday at 8.30pm
Where: Sentrum Scene & BLÅ

If you follow and listen to our Best New Music playlist on Spotify, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard the voice of this bright new rap talent. Hailing from Fredrikstad, Norway, 20-year-old Ash Olsen released a dream of a debut single with the pulsating “KITKAT” back in august 2020. Since then, we’ve got strong follow-ups like “WILDIN’”, “TUTTIFRUTTI” and the latest single “VIBE KIlLER”. It feels pretty safe to say that we’re in for a true hip hop treat when her upcoming EP arrives.

Bianca (NO)

When: Friday at 11pm & Saturday at 11pm
Where: Ingensteds & Sentrum Scene

Boring adults would probably say quitting school to pursue a career in music isn’t a good idea but when you make bangers like Bianca, there’s nothing to be worried about. The 18-year-old rising pop star previously made music under the moniker Raw B where she reached the prestigious finals of NRK’s music competition NRK Urørt. But in June she unleashed her first EP as Bianca and it’s a hard-hitting collection of infectious pop tunes. We wouldn’t miss out on catching one of Norway’s most exciting new acts this year!

Cham Léon (NO)

When: Thursday at 9.30pm & Friday at 10pm
Where: BLÅ & Kulturkirken Jakob

With musical and visual inspiration drawn from artists like Billie Eilish, Sia, Labrinth and the HBO hit show Euphoria, Sondre Kittelsen Paalgard aka Cham Léon has created an inclusive room free of societal norms and stigma and the result is catchy as f*ck. The 24-year-old artist express themselves in a musical style that’s rooted in pop but reaches far beyond just one genre with touches of jazz and R&B and lyrics worth for everyone to pay attention to. 

Dopha (DK)

When: Thursday at 10pm & Friday at 10.30pm
Where: Pokalen & Vulkan Arena

In September 2019 something happened in the Danish pop scene. A new artist called Dopha released a single called “September Till June” and it quickly got people talking. With following singles like “Happy For Me” and “The Game”, Dopha’s enormous songwriter talent was clear for everyone to see and with accomplishments like performing for the Danish Royal family and being nominated for several national awards, she’s become a household name in the Danish music sphere. We strongly believe she has the potential to make it big outside of the Danish borders as well, so don’t miss out if you’re looking for the next new thing. 

We paid visit to Dopha in her Copenhagen apartment last year to talk about being a basic bitch – see how that turned out in this video.

Erika de Casier (DK)

When: Thursday at 10.30pm
Where: BLÅ

Back in May the Copenhagen-based futuristic R&B act Erika de Casier released her second record Sensational through legendary indie label 4AD and just recently, she received a prestigious acknowledgement from the Danish Royal Crown prince and princess for her “innovative approach to music and for daring seeking her own ways”. In other words, things are going alright for one of the most talked-about names in the Danish as well as international upcoming music scene. With a voice soft as silk and laidback beats that make your head bob, she’s ready to melt your heart at by:Larm this year. 

Hudkreft (NO)

When: Friday at 9.30pm & Saturday at 9pm
Where: Strimteltet & by:Larm UNG Popsenteret (under 18)

Statistics show that few women in music play alternative music and that few women in music play in bands, but the women in Hudkreft are not part of those stats. The punk band have been active for five years but just recently released their first album Nevemagnet (Norwegian for “Fist Magnet”.) The quartet are calling out all the a**holes out there like Norwegian terrorists, politicians, and the punk elite. We approve of that mission and their way of delivering it through the voices of young women done dealing with all the bulls*t out there. 

IMERIKA (NO)

When: Friday at 11.30pm & Saturday at 10pm
Where: Rockefeller & Kulturkirken Jakob

Pop music is often popular for a reason, and IMERIKAs banging songs are proof of just that. She got known across Norway when she participated in the Melodi Grand Prix (national version of the Eurovision Song Contest) but we have a feeling she can reach beyond the Norwegian borders as well. With heartfelt pop songs and a voice like her’s the future looks promising for the 25-year-old singer and songwriter.

JADA (DK)

When: Friday at 8.30pm & Saturday at 9pm
Where: Vulkan Arena & Sentrum Scene

“Blown away” is a quite common response when you talk to people who’ve experienced one of Denmark’s absolute biggest pop stars, JADA. She has a natural talent for putting words together, a natural talent for crafting good melodies, and a way of performing it that exceeds even your wildest expectations. With several awards, a string of hit singles, critically acclaimed live shows and the emotional 2019 debut record I Cry A Lot under her wings, JADA is ready to start a new international chapter of her career. Catch her in Norway before your neighbor sees her at the GRAMMY. No, seriously…

Mona Masrour (SE)

When: Friday at 8.30pm & Saturday at 7.30pm
Where: Rockefeller & Vulkan Arena

‘Best New Artist’, ‘Soul/R&B of The Year’ and ‘Songwriter of The Year’ – these are the Swedish Grammy nominations, the rising star Mona Masrour has achieved alongside releasing a record and working with some of the biggest names in the Swedish Hip Hop scene. Like a lot of visionary artists right now, Mona Masrour paves the way for the future of Scandinavian R&B and we’re here for it!

Nala Sinephro (UK)

When: Thursday at 10pm
Where: Kafé Hærverk

“The brilliant and unassuming debut from the young UK musician and composer is a benchmark in ambient jazz,” Pitchfork Magazine wrote of the debut album composed, produced, engineered, recorded and mixed by Nala Sinephro herself. Big words from a big magazine to a big Caribbean-Belgian talent hailing from London’s blooming jazz-scene. Few people probably think of music as mathematics and physics when they listen to it, but to this young artist, geometry was actually one of the inspirations when working on her critically acclaimed record Space 1.8. With her skills on modular synthesizer and pedal harp, Sinephro has made a name for herself and if you’re into jazz, you know where to go Thursday at 10pm!

POiSON ANNA (UK)

When: Friday at 10.30pm
Where: St. Edmunds Kirke

Best when you thought you’d heard it all, some artists manage to bring something completely different to the table. We love how genre-blending the music scene is these years and that’s thanks to artists like the London-based singer and rapper POiSON ANNA. She’s previously worked with the likes of A$AP Rocky and Dean Blunt and had her debut mixtape EXCELSiA mixed by Jake Gordon (Skepta, Burna Boy, J Hus), but it’s her stunning voice, dynamic compositions and all-embracing soundscapes that make you lose your breath. There’s no reason not to believe that this is only the beginning of something very, very great. 

PRISMA (DK)

When: Friday at 11pm & Saturday at 10.30pm
Where: John Dee & BLÅ

Atmospheric, big-sounding, and impossible not to fall in love with. The sister-duo PRISMA is making waves in the Danish alternative scene. With alluring and dreamy vocal harmonies and a base of electronic, guitar and bass-driven rock, their music lifts you up and offers a much-needed escape from everyday life. Inspired by acts like Agnes Obel and The Raveonettes, PRISMA’s latest EP Inside Out gives you the perfect blend of cinematic drama and an infectious energy that reaches new heights when performed live. Trust us, we’ve seen it! 

Priya Ragu (CH)

When: Friday at 8pm & Saturday at 11pm
Where: John Dee & Kulturkirken Jakob

You will regret it if you find out that you were at by:Larm Festival and didn’t catch one of the (in our and many others opinion) most exciting new acts to appear in 2021! The Tamil-Swiss singer and songwriter Priya Ragu has found a unique way of blending modern R&B with elements from her Tamil heritage like Krishna mantras, Kollywood samples and lyrics in Tamil. The confidence and coolness of Ragu’s music have left a mark on us through singles like the smooth debut “Good Love 2.0”, the danceable “Chicken Lemon Rice” and the vulnerable “Forgot About”. We can’t wait to hear Priya Ragu bring these three bops as well as the rest of her debut record damnshestamil to live at by:Larm!

Resa Saffa Park (NO)

When: Saturday at 8.30pm
Where: Rockefeller

“You Need a Puppy” and “God Is Drunk” fit as perfectly on statement t-shirts as in song titles. However, It’s the latter that Oslo-based artist Resa Saffa Park offers and we love it! The artist, who’s already a big name in Norway after acting in series like Skam and Ragnarok (Netflix) initially fell in love with jazz and vocalists like Billie Holiday and Chet Baker, but also excels in smooth R&B, heavy beats, up-tempo disco and catchy pop hooks. It’s impossible not to dance when “Borrowed Time” comes on and impossible not to feel shivers down your spine with a track like “Love Ain’t Free”. We can only imagine how these songs unfolds in a live setting.

Veps (NO)

When: Thursday at 8pm & Saturday at 8pm
Where: by:Larm UNG Popsenteret (under 18) & John Dee

If only we were as cool as Norwegian four piece Veps when we were 17 years old, well… we’d be really cool. They have a record deal with NYC label Kanine Records, and a brilliant EP with some of the best new indie pop we’ve heard in a long time. It’s raw, it’s honest and it reflects the ups and downs in the lives of four incredibly talented teenagers on their way to something very big.

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