Shikoswe’s ‘Two Heads in a Room’ Is Everything

We spoke with this beautifully blooming Norwegian artist about the story behind her latest tune, the writing process and what's coming up next.

Just in time for a post-Valentine’s Day toast, Norwegian indiepop up-and-comer, Shiksowe, also known as Nora Shikoswe Hougsnæ, has released her new single “Two Heads in a Room”. The song is a melancholy yet somehow refreshing ode to relationships and embracing the conflicting emotions that you feel at any given time.

The year 2018 was significant for Shiksowe, having released two equally satisfying singles, “To the Dogs”, and “Back in the Tall Grass”. All in all, these add up to your unapologetic teenage self sojourning through the world in your jeans and saving your “sorries” for when you’re older and wiser. Overall, the tone of her music feels very authentic and calls upon the throwback vibe of eighties and early nineties coming-of-age films.

We spoke with this anthemic indie artist about the story behind her latest tune, her writing process and what’s coming up next.

How did you first get into music? Was it always one of your passions, or how did that develop?
Music has always been a part of my every day, and it’s the creative space that I intuitively felt closest to growing up. I began making my own when I was a teenager, and since then it’s been a kind of meditative output for any type of restlessness that’s been taking a hold of me more and more.

I feel like your music brings a melancholy vibe but it’s also super gentle. How do you achieve that? What’s your main “goal” when you’re making music?
Thanks! I rarely set out with a particular goal when I make music and I’m not conscious about what I’m going for when a song begins to form, so it’s very much about just following the ideas that come to mind. But I would definitely say that what’s going on in my life at the time gets mirrored in the ideas I choose to follow, and generally I try to look for both darkness and light in whatever’s taking up space in my head.

What are some of your musical inspirations? Or who are you listening to right now – male or female?
I’ve been discovering so much good music these past months. Big Thief is a band that totally stands out for me, ’cause I find both their records so pure and timeless. The same enthusiasm goes for Japanese Breakfast.

This past year has been great with two awesome singles, “To the Dogs” and “Back in the Tall Grass”. Would you say that your musical direction has shifted at all? If so, where are you headed?
I wouldn’t say it has shifted, but I’d say it’s expanded. I never imagined myself playing with a band when I was a kid, but so much of my biggest inspiration comes from listening to bands. Music played by a group of people always brought out a kind of longing in me, and I guess that’s being reflected in the direction my current sound is going.

What about your latest release “Two Heads in a Room”? Can you share the inspiration behind that track?
In my mind, it used to be a sad love song, about letting go of someone you care about when you feel emptied of love, and how scary that can be. But these days I think it’s also about acknowledging an absence of self love.

I love the straight-forward and relatable feel to your lyrics. What is the writing process like for you? Is it always different?
Hmm… it’s hard to pin down, but writing lyrics, to me, is mainly urge-driven. I get an itch to put something into words, but I’m definitely interested in saying it in a way that feels natural to me, and sort of stripped down to the necessities.

When do you feel most inspired in making music?
When my mind stops wandering and I’m present. It gives me a happiness that makes me wanna keep on making more.

Any advice to girls or women looking to get involved with music or songwriting?
Don’t judge yourself harshly. If you do what you can to enjoy the process, then I think the music really benefits from it.

And what’s next for you??
I’m releasing another song this spring, and a record before the summer kicks off. Other than that, what’s next is always striving to do more of what gives me calm, making music and hopefully being able to see new places and play it for people.

Amazing. Thanks, love!