Movies

Aurora Explains How She Became the 'Voice of the Mountains' For 'Frozen 2's 'Into the Unknown'

Aurora
Michael Hili

Aurora

Welcome to Emerging Artists Spotlight, the Billboard series where we highlight a musician who has recently made his or her debut on the Emerging Artists chart. Whether they are new to the industry, or have been around for a while but are just starting to have a chart impact, the intention is to showcase where they are here and now. This week’s pick is Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora, who debuted at No. 8 on the chart dated Dec. 7 thanks to her song "Into The Unknown" with Idina Menzel from the Frozen 2 soundtrack.


"Ah-ah, oh-oh."

That’s part of Aurora’s contribution to the juggernaut that is Frozen 2, and it’s an important one. The Norwegian artist is responsible for the ethereal siren call that appears throughout the film, beckoning Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) to return to her home.

Aurora’s credit on “Into The Unknown” alongside Menzel -- and her simultaneous initiation into the massive Disney family -- has quickly opened doors for the singer. While she’s previously appeared on the Billboard 200, Alternative Albums and Alternative Songs charts, "Into The Unknown” debuted at No. 55 on the Hot 100 the week of Dec. 7, and likewise propelled Aurora onto the Emerging Artists chart.

“It makes me very happy!” Aurora, 22, tells Billboard of her achievement by email, adding that she always loves to see when “a song that carries a strong message” reaches the Hot 100.

Born Aurora Aksnes and hailing from Bergen, Norway, the singer explains that agreeing to be part of Frozen 2 was a no-brainer. “It made me feel very excited. Frozen carries such a magical, powerful story," she says. "So I knew it would feel right.”

Aurora recorded her vocals in an old church in England, calling it a “lovely” experience. “The room was beautiful, round, and it carried my voice to infinity and beyond without any extra reverb,” she says, explaining how the stunning setting influenced what would eventually become the “voice of the mountains.”

Both Frozen movies largely drew from Nordic culture as inspiration, which makes Aurora’s involvement all the more fitting. “The nature scenes are very real,” she confirms, adding that the landscape in scenes like the one where Elsa & Co. travel to the Enchanted Forest are appropriately “dramatic, beautiful and dangerous.”

In that, singing in a movie so close to home “felt natural,” Aurora says, and she appreciates the creators’ attention to detail. “I think it’s wonderful how Disney let different cultures inspire them. It’s very important.”

Frozen 2 is now playing everywhere. Learn more about Aurora below.

Recommended Song(s): “I have a lot of different types of songs, as I struggle to only stay within one genre! If you like the Nordic vibe, I would say songs like ‘Runaway’ and ‘Home’ are good for you -- they’re both influenced by Nordic folk music. If you would like to be head-bang to an anthem for Mother Earth, then ‘The Seed’ is the one. If you are afraid of crying, listen to ‘Murder Song (Acoustic)’ or ‘The River,’ because crying is a beautiful process.”

Outside Of the Music: "I think the world is in a very critical and hopeful and hopeless place at the moment. Very interesting. I care a lot about the environment, and everything living that comes from it. (I’ve never liked pigeons that much. But they are all over the place, so I try to enjoy them as much as I can.) Being an environmentalist at heart, I enjoy seeing people join forces on Mother Earth's side in 'the battle against humanity.' I love watching the world go by. It’s all very inspiring."

What’s Next: "Everything. The world is so small and so big. I want to dance on it. And write about it. Scream to it and hug all the people in it. Music is such a wonderful thing. I just want to release as much music as I can. Puke it all out on all the lovely people. It’s going to be magnificent."


Past Emerging Artists Spotlights: (Sandy) Alex G | Knocked Loose | Charly Bliss | Tank and the Bangas | Bear's Den | J.S. Ondara | Delain | Mabel | Kiana Lede | Sleep On It | I Am They | Temples