Digital Pan Flutes And Marvin Gaye: The Blissed-Out Rise Of Kygo The 24-year-old Norwegian recently set a record on Spotify, exceeding a billion streams faster than any artist before him — and his debut album isn't even out yet.
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Digital Pan Flutes And Marvin Gaye: The Blissed-Out Rise Of Kygo

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Digital Pan Flutes And Marvin Gaye: The Blissed-Out Rise Of Kygo

Digital Pan Flutes And Marvin Gaye: The Blissed-Out Rise Of Kygo

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  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRESTONE")

CONRAD SEWELL: (Singing) My heart's alive. Firestones. When they strike, we feel the love.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Do you know that song? It's called "Firestone" and it has over 200 million plays on YouTube, 40 million plays on SoundCloud and 400 million plays on Spotify. And it was made by this guy.

KYRRE GORVELL-DAHLL: My name is Kyrre Gorvell-Dahll and my artist name is Kygo. It's the two first letters in my first name and two first letters in my last name.

NEARY: Kygo is a 24-year-old music producer from Norway. His debut album isn't even out yet, but his singles like "Firestone" have made him a phenomenon in pop music. Last December, he set a record on Spotify, exceeding a billion streams faster than any artist before him.

(SOUNDBITE OF KYGO SONG, "FIRESTONE")

NEARY: Kygo grew up playing piano and started composing when he was 15 years old. But he didn't start producing music until a few years later, when he was serving in Norway's compulsory military service.

GORVELL-DAHLL: I ended up as a firefighter on a naval base in my hometown. But I had, like, a lot of time off. I had, like, nine 24-hour stays on duty every month, and I had 21 days off. So that was when I started making music.

(SOUNDBITE OF KYGO SONG, "RAGING")

GORVELL-DAHLL: I just learned myself how to produce. And, yeah, it took a lot of time 'cause it's - in the beginning, you just - you have no idea where to start or what to do. So I used YouTube tutorials and I just, like, used all the time I had in the military and just tried to, like, learn how to produce.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RAGING")

KODALINE: (Singing) Standing in the cold in the frozen wind, I'm leaving you behind but it's not the end. No, no, no.

NEARY: As Kygo became more fluent with production, he started making remixes of other people's compositions and posting them online. He took songs by James Blake, Dolly Parton, Marvin Gaye and filtered them through his own sundrenched musical sensibility.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEXUAL HEALING")

MARVIN GAYE: (Singing) Oh, baby, I'm hot just like an oven.

NEARY: And people started listening to those remixes - a lot of people. His remixes became such a big deal that he was signed to his record label without them hearing any of his original music. Since then, he has released original tracks, and many of them reflect what has become his trademark sound, digital instruments that evoke the steel drum or the pan flute, an easy-going Caribbean sounding melody and a mid-tempo beat. Some people call it tropical house.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAY")

MATY NOYES: (Singing) So I stayed, stayed. So I stayed, stayed.

NEARY: Kygo's debut album, "Cloud Nine," is out next week. And while there are tracks that are in keeping with the tropical house sound, there are also songs that aren't.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRAGILE")

LABRINTH: (Singing) After he left you and 10 times 10, could I put you back together again? Yeah.

GORVELL-DAHLL: A lot of the music on the album is kind of different from what I've been producing so far. And it's just, like, me having fun in the studio. And I just want to show people that I have more than just tropical house.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRAGILE")

LABRINTH: (Singing) Come take my heart of glass and give me your love. I hope you'll still be there to pick the pieces up. 'Cause, baby, I'm fragile, fragile, fragile.

NEARY: That was Kygo. And our theme music was composed by B.J. Leiderman.

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