You can hear that hip-hop impact on “7 Years,” the soul-pop single from his band, Lukas Graham. The track, which can be No. 2 during printing on Billboard’s Hot 100 and has now earned 277 million Spotify streams, was inspired by his unconventional and hard upbringing, marked through the 2012 death of his dad. “I just started singing, ‘Once I was seven years…’ when I heard the melody,” says Forchhammer, who wrote it which has a crew of his friends. “Like, eight people appeared drinking wine and writing together for many hours.”
That communal vibe is perhaps all over his group’s self-titled debut (out now). EW recently swept up with the charismatic frontman to debate his unique childhood, touring the planet, and why success won’t change him.
“7 Years” is often a massive success. How do you pick which memories to share with you? There’s one from seven years of age, 11, and after that future dreams from 30 and 60. LUKAS GRAHAM FORCHHAMMER: Everyone was pitching in. People could well be like, “What when you did this whenever you turned that?” After three hours we'd a 10-minute song [laughs]. But my pops died at 61. That’s why I sing, “Daddy got 61/ Remember life and your life turns into a better one.” I just can’t see myself being old—it’s really f–king strange. The furthest I can see is me being 60.
Your father’s death is a lot of other places around the album, like “You’re Not There” and “Funeral.” Writing is quite cathartic to me. I discuss what happens within my life—and my dad’s passing became a huge blow in my experience. He was my biggest fan and biggest motivational force. He never pushed me into doing music, he just supported my choices. He was the supportive, cool dad and it’s really challenging be a half-orphan. Check Lukas Graham 7 Years sheet music page.
My mom may be the coolest mom, but she’s equally as proud of my two sisters as jane is of me. And a component of me understands why a parent is equally pleased with all her children, but that son inside me just wants my mom to state, aloud but even just in my opinion, “I’m slightly prouder people.”
Rap would be a big influence for you personally early on, what attracted one to the genre? In early ’90s, my cousin filled me with a Snoop Dogg cassette tape along with the rawness from the lyrics were something new in my experience. I spent my childhood years in a neighborhood that didn’t have police and was type of rough. When I first heard rap, I understood that somebody else was angry and afraid.
Lukas Graham '7 Years'Official Video
There are communities around the earth that are never free, given that they don’t own their unique bodies and there can be a system holding them down. That’s what went down in Christiania. As a 10-year-old I would should stop and empty my school bag out to the street—[police] didn’t care I was only 10, they desired to patronize us if you are from that neighborhood. So you have this fear that becomes anger that becomes frustration and also you can’t really express it. Rap music was a real beautiful outlet.
What do you think will be the biggest lesson your upbringing afforded you? The difference between kids inside our neighborhood and marginalized kids from the outside in the suburbs is always that I didn’t know we spent my childhood years poor until I was a grownup. Christiania carries a lot of strong, nuclear families. It gave us feeling of empowerment and belonging and richness. We had much love; we had arrived never uncertain that there we were wanted nowadays. What we realized, instead, is the fact there are certain those who don’t want us on earth, and that which you end up doing is saying, “F–k those guys.”
It may come off as arrogance, but it’s given me the cabability to not give you a s–t. This feels weird to convey, but I don’t supply a s–t of you or my lovely publicist. I spent my childhood years with nothing and I realize that I don’t need almost anything to be happy. We were wearing second-hand clothing and eating leftovers and I am happy. Five-star hotels and personal pick-ups hasn’t changed that.
Something that isn’t about the new album is usually a traditional pop-love song. Haven’t you heard “What Happened to Perfect?” [Laughs] I don’t know why but I don’t fancy writing love songs; I have never. And you don’t need another album brimming with them! Adele has three albums, there are many!