Bernhoft might not be a recognizable name in the U.S. yet, but he’s a veritable star in his native Norway. The 37-year-old singer has fronted a number of successful bands since bursting on the scene in the mid-’90s. Chief among these was SPAN, a hard-rock four-piece that released two major-label albums before calling it quits in 2005.
But his outlook on music was changed with a single album. “This friend of mine gave me a Sly & The Family Stone album, and I couldn’t really come down off that wall; I was nailed to it,” Bernhoft told NPR. “So it was a profound need to try and do something in that vein.” The previous comparisons to Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters melted away by the time he released his solo debut in 2008. Slinky bass lines and danceable rhythms replaced power chords, and soon Bernhoft was topping the Norwegian pop charts yet again.
Now the singer is starting to make his presence known on our shores. He performed at this past summer’s Bonnaroo and has also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Conan. Bernhoft recently stopped by KUTX’s Studio 1A for an unusual live session. Using a looping pedal, he combined snippets of guitar, voice, and handclaps into a pop orchestra that was equal parts doo-wop and Prince. Set to appear on his third solo album, “Wind You Up” will make a believer out of any music fan.