Last night Norwegian musical wonder-kid Sondre Lerche performed on The late show with David Letterman on CBS. The occasion was Lerche’s contribution to the Hollywood motion picture "Dan in real life," which premiers in America on October 26th. Lerche has written the film’s soundtrack and also appears in the picture; “prominently” in the background of the closing scene playing with his band while the movie’s stars Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche are dancing in front of the stage.
The late show with David Letterman is habitually viewed by over four million people, so performing on it is kind of a big deal, and something that tends to sell a lot of records. The soundtrack was released in the states a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 2nd) , by Virgin America – a more muscular sibling in the same EMI family as Lerche’s proper American label Atralwerks - with a first printing of fifty thousand. The record features eleven new Lerche compositions, a duet with Regina Spektor, Sondre’s cover of Pete Townsend’s “Let my love open the door”, a Lerche-produced version of “Fever” by A Fine frenzy as well as songs from Lerche’s previous albums that feature in the film. The track list is as follows:
01 Sondre Lerche: "Family Theme Waltz"
02 Sondre Lerche: "To Be Surprised"
03 Sondre Lerche: "I'll Be OK"
04 Sondre Lerche: "Dan and Marie Picking Hum"
05 Sondre Lerche: "My Hands Are Shaking"
06 Sondre Lerche: Dan in Real Life"
07 Sondre Lerche and Regina Spektor: "Hell No"
08 Sondre Lerche: "Family Theme"
09 A Fine Frenzy: "Fever"
10 Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down: "Airport Taxi Reception"
11 Sondre Lerche: "Dan and Marie Melody"
12 Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down Quartet: "Human Hands"
13 Sondre Lerche: "I'll Be OK (Instrumental Reprise)"
14 Sondre Lerche: "Let My Love Open the Door"
15 Sondre Lerche: "Dan and Marie Finale Theme"
16 Sondre Lerche and Lillian Samdal: "Modern Nature"
But the really big deal is of course the movie itself and the prominent role director Peter Hedges has allotted to Lerche. For this was not simply a case of finding some songs that suited the picture, Hedges has expressed that he wanted an artist that could make a true imprint and become integral to the film in the same way that Simon and Garfunkel’s music became so important to the picture “The Graduate”. More than five hundred artists were up for consideration, but when he discovered Lerche, it was the perfect match. He went to Lerche’s Brooklyn apartment and presented his ideas, and Lerche responded by playing a tune on his guitar that he’d composed the night before. Hedges was surprised and further ascertained of his choice by Lerche’s youth (Hedges had imagined an older artist on account of the music he’d heard already ) and his no-fuss attitude.
In the promotion before the film’s premiere Hedges never misses a chance to praise Lerche and his special song-writing talents, and the fact that he is still (unbelievably!) largely unknown to the general American musical audience. This is sure to change now, for even though Lerche has gathered quite a following in the states –touring with Elvis Costello and consistently producing records that cater to the market of connoisseur, high brow pop, he has still been a special artist for the few. With Hedges counting as one of them he has made it his ambition to spread the gospel of this Norwegian pop magician along with his movie.
Lerche is still only 25 years old. Yet he is becoming one of the most internationally established artists Norway has fostered. And with the recent developments he just might be the first (since his heroes A-ha) to step into the true blaze of the international limelight; and get the sort of attention and impact that is reserved for only the really big names.
The match of Hollywood –the subtle, mellow-ironic version of it that "Dan in real life" represents- and Sondre Lerche’s music is a promising match indeed, for Lerche is one of those artists that seem effortlessly mature and youthfully inspired at the same time. His suave, quick-witted sense of melody and intricate song structure is always matched by an immediate likeability. His music is in a way elusive, yet always also “simply there”. –Sophisticated and hopeful at the same time.
In November Lerche embarks on an extensive 19-date solo tour of North America, starting in Vancouver on November 7th and finishing in Hoboken N.J. on the 29th of the same month.