“Runaway” by Aurora has become the latest song to climb the charts thanks to TikTok. In just 24 hours, the track brought in over a million streams on both Youtube and Spotify. As somebody who has been listening to Aurora since her debut album in 2015, I can’t help but smile when I see consecutive videos featuring her song on my feed; Aurora is finally getting the recognition that she deserves. But who is Aurora, the singer behind the viral hit?
The 24-year-old singer from Norway has had several other big hits. You may recognise her cover of Oasis’ “Half The World Away” from the John Lewis Christmas Advert in 2015; Aurora puts her own ethereal twist on the classic song, completely reinventing it. Not only that, but she featured on “Into The Unknown”, the lead song from Frozen 2’s soundtrack, with her mysterious and enchanting vocals elevating the song. It was then that she started to gain more recognition. However, she was simply known as “that singer from Frozen”, since her own work was not as well-known.
Now though, “Runaway”, already one of her most successful songs, is making its way into millions of people’s playlists. “Runaway” is one of Aurora’s earliest singles, released in 2015, and its lyrics describe a time in which Aurora was trying to escape her problems and reality, but realised that she couldn’t do this forever. With a pretty universal yet touching message, it’s no wonder that so many people have been impacted by this song, including Billie Eilish, who stated that “Runaway” inspired her to pursue a career in music. “Runaway” was originally the lead single from Aurora’s debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, which she described as an album about accepting the “dark places” of yourself (although not all the songs draw from her own personal experiences). Some of my personal favourites from this album are: “Lucky”, which shares an empowering message of overcoming mental struggles; “Black Water Lilies”, an extremely captivating song with beautiful natural imagery; and “Running With The Wolves”, a song which explores the animal instinct in humans which society has repressed.
Aurora’s next two albums are two steps in the same “era”. Infections Of A Different Kind is my personal favourite; even though the eight songs cover a wide range of topics, the sound of the album is very cohesive. The opening track, “Queendom”, is an upbeat anthem of empowerment, with Aurora singing about how she fights for the underdogs of the world, and will not stop “till Queendom come”. The closing and title track “Infections Of A Different Kind” is Aurora’s self-proclaimed most important and personal song, with a poignant message to humanity that we need to act for each other, not just ourselves. (This short description cannot do justice to Aurora’s beautiful songwriting in this track; if you listen to any song after reading this, I ask that it be “Infections Of A Different Kind”.)
Her third and latest album, A Different Kind Of Human, contains eleven vastly different songs, covering topics from climate change, in “The Seed”; stigma surrounding mental health, in “The River”; and even alien abduction in the title track, “A Different Kind Of Human”. Alien abduction is a rather obscure topic to write a song about, but it is through this song that we learn a great deal about Aurora as a person, and her place in the world. The songs details aliens coming to Aurora, and taking her from this world to the next; as “this world [she] live[s] in is not a place for someone like [her]”, for she is too pure and fragile (indeed, “a different kind of human”), she hopes to be “taken” to a world more suited to her nature. This song also features words in a language that Aurora created herself, which only she can speak, thus leaving meaning completely open to listeners’ intuition. The album then closes with “Mothership”, a primarily instrumental track which continues the story of “A Different Kind Of Human”; the song is supposedly representative of Aurora now that she is in the “next world”, with very cosmic instrumentals. Aurora’s creativity and beautifully constructed metaphors are present in almost every song of hers, which is why I enjoy her music so much.
Since her last album, Aurora has released several singles, including her own version of “Into The Unknown” (which, in my opinion, is much better than the original), a collaboration with Norwegian producer Askjell (“To Be Loved”), and her first song in Norwegian (“Stjernestøv”). During the pandemic, Aurora has also released 5 EPs grouping her previously released songs, including FOR HUMANS WHO TAKE LONG WALKS IN THE FOREST, which, as the title would suggest, consists of her songs which are ideal for taking long walks in the forest. With the release of each of these EPs, Aurora very candidly chatted with fans on a Youtube live stream, and also performed some of the songs on the released EP.
As Aurora’s music is becoming increasingly recognised, more people are realising the beautiful artistry behind every one of her songs. Her music offers an emotional connection that is rare to find in modern music, and I cannot recommend her to you enough!