Biography

Hilde Louise Asbjørnsen is a Norwegian jazz singer, songwriter, author and actor, often compared to legends such as Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe. She has released 10 critically acclaimed albums, starred in numerous award winning musicals and shows, most importantly her own solo cabaret on finance and temptation; «The Lulu Show - Life on the never-never». With her fabulous jazz band, she gives sparkling shows with an entertaining mix of songs from her large repertoar. Hilde Louise’s 11. Album; «Red Lips, Knuckles and Bones» is to be released on Ozella Music on May 3rd. The National Jazz stage in Norway describes her as «The great performer known for her finely balanced humor and darkness, wit and energy»

«Red Lips, Knuckles and Bones» presents 12 tracks of modern, groovy, playful vocal jazz. The lyrics spin around the times we live in; feminine rebellion in "Red Lips", people on the run in "Don't Fight The Undertow" and the loss of contemporary artist and friend Hariton Pushwagner in "Pink Push Wagon». The featured track, "Make Some Shine» is, according to Hilde Louise: - A battle song for those of us who have chosen a narrow path and need a small push to keep on going.

«Hilde Louise Orchestra» in 2019 consists of Anders Aarum on keys, Jens Fossum on double bass, Svein Erik Martinsen on guitar and Hermund Nygård on drums. Hilde Louise also performs with her swinging quartet of piano, bass and guitar or in more intimate settings in a duo with Anders Aarum, where they approach the songs with a unique presens that enhances the lyrics and the stories.

Hilde Louise’s cabaret on finance and world debt; «The Lulu Show»(2015-2017), played several theaters in Norway to top reviews. It quickly became a box office hit and she was rewarded the Norwegian Comedy Award as «Female stage comedian of the year». In 2017, she performed «The Lulu Show" for 23 nights during «Edinburgh Fringe Festival» and received 5/5 stars from BroadwayBaby.com.

On the musical theater scene she has done the part of «Emcee» in «Cabaret» at Oslo Nye in 2017 (first time the part was played by a woman in a Norway), «Roxie Hart» in «Chicago» and «Ms Adelaide» in «Guys and Dolls» to mention some. She won the Norwegian Comedy Award for her interpretation of «Ulla» in «The Producers - Springtime for Hitler» in 2011.

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Press quotes:

Aftenposten: "It is as if a part of Billie Holiday has taken residence in her. She is the seducer who pushes you a little longer than reason dictates.

VG: "A true jazz diva, with a sparkling combination of musicality and the precise art acting.»

Skoot Larsson, skootsjazz.com: »Hilde Louise Asbjørnsen is a rare and wonderful combination, equal parts musician, poet and storyteller. This enjoyable Scandinavian lady is hailed by Norwegian press as "three parts Monroe and one part Holiday". Hilde Louise's poetry is hypnotic. Her instrumental arrangements are like dark, expencive chocolate - rich, sweet-tasting, and very satisfying, while leaving you wanting more!»

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The Full Story

Born in the small town of Sykkylven on the Northwest coast of Norway, Hilde Louise took piano lessons and sang in the local church choir, the only possible stage activities for children at that time and place. From the age of 16 she started performing with a model agency in Ålesund who offered fashion shows with dancing and entertainment (Piaf Modeller). When she moved to Oslo, at the age of 19, she dived in to studying Theatre Science at the University of Oslo, where she got her bachelor degree. In 1998 she enrolled in the student theatre, where she met her soon to be stage partner and close friend, Lene Kongsvik Johansen. Together, the girls formed the cabaret duo; Asbjørnsen & Joh. (referring to the well known folk story writers Asbjørnsen & Moe) With their satiric and comic cabarets Asbjørnsen & Joh. received stunning reviews, awards and a great audience, and performed together on stage, TV and radio for app. 9 years.Their first show, Noraprisen, premiered in 2000. Their last, so far, in 2008.

Parallell to writing for the cabaret stage, Hilde Louise began writing songs of her own in English. Having grown up with a mother cherishing the great jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole, this had influenced her mind more than she was aware of. Until she started writing..

Her first studio session happened in Bergen, 2002, with Harald Dahlstrøm(piano), Yngve Moe(bass) and Steinar Krogstad(drums), which resulted in her first demo tape. Back in Oslo, she contacted Norwegian pianist Per Husby, and in December 2002 she played her first gig at "Fryd" in Oslo with Per Husby(pi), Kåre Nymark jr. (trumpet), Totto Hansen(drums) and Ole Marius Melhus (bass). In March 2004 Bonnier Amigo Music released her first album "Eleven Nights and Two Early Mornings" on the Amigo label.

"Eleven Nights" was very well received by the music press, and lead to a number of gigs in jazz clubs and festivals in Norway. The line-up changed on the way. Drummer Klaus Robert Blomvik (BWM Trio)  and pianist Tomas Heggdal joined in 2002 and bass player Roger Williamsen (BWM Trio) in 2004. In 2005 Hilde Louise asked pianist Anders Aarum to take over, and this lead to a long and extended collaboration. Aarum is featured on her second album "Birdie Blues" (UpNorth Discs 2005) where he also wrote the brass arrangments. "Birdie Blues" was co-produced by Karin Krog, and also features Georg Wadenius(guitar) and Atle Hammer(trumpet). Watch the music video: "All he needs to know"

In 2005 the Swedish guitarist Georg "Jojje" Wadenius asked Hilde Louise to do a tribute to the late Monice Zetterlund, who diseased in October the same year. Hilde Louise asked author Edvard Hoem to translate the lyrics into her own language, and it resulted in a collection of new poetry on this tribute to one of Hilde Louise’s greatest inspirations.  In June 2006 they recorded the album "No vil eg vake med deg" at Musikkloftet Studio, Oslo with Arild Andersen (bass), Pete Abbot (drums), Jan Lundgren (piano), Jan Allan (trumpet) and George Wadenius (guitar).

Hilde Louise joined the Swedish jazz/electronica duo KOOP on their tour of Asia, USA and Europe in 2007 and 2008. She co-wrote the lyrics to their song «Strange Love», released on Atlantic Records in 2008. Watch them perform it live here.

In 2008 Hilde Louise recorded new songs in Oceansound Recordings, Giske. "Sound Your Horn"(Sweet Morning Music 2008), went straight into the Norwegian Charts Top 40 and stayed there for 6 weeks. Watch the music video: "It Ain't Friday" . It featured Kåre Nymark jr on trumpet, Atle Nymo on saxophone and Jørgen Gjerde on trombone, a horn section that Hilde Louise keeps for years. For that same album guitar player and composer Jan Martin Smørdal and bass player Jens Fossum joined the band, (Smørdal co-produced with Aarum), and put their signatures on both "Sound Your Horn" and the next "Never Ever Going Back"(Sweet Morning Music 2010). Watch  the music video: "When Your Are Gone" (also produced by Aarum/Smørdal)

Autumn 2010 Asbjørnsen recorded her first live album, "Divin' At The Oceansound", featuring a new guitar player; Svein Erik Martinsen. This album put Hilde Louise on the front page of the Norwegian Jazz Nytt, and has also become a best seller in Norway. Watch "Tell Me Tomorrow".

Hilde Louise's 7th album, "Månesjuk", was released on Sweet Morning Music/Grappa in 2012. Her first with lyrics in her own Norwegian dialect. Watch "Gjer det igjen".

In 2013 she gathered the band; Anders Aarum, Jens Fossum, Svein Erik Martinsen, the horn section from «Sound your Horn» and a new drummer: Hermund Nygård. Together, they selected, arranged and recorded 13 swinging Christmas songs on the album «‘Round About Christmas» (Sweet Morning Music AS), including Hilde Louise’s own composition «Christmas Is A Lullaby», which she sings in a duet with Ane Brun. The album was announced Christmas album of the Year in Norways largest newspaper; VG and sold out the first edition quickly. Every Christmas season the band performs a variety of concerts with this material.

2014 marked Hilde Louise’s 10th anniversary as a recording artist, and Grappa Musikkforlag released the collection «Sweet Morning Music», released in Norway and Germany.

On «Don’t Stay For Breakfast» (Grappa Musikkforlag 2015), she continued working with the band from «‘Round About Christmas», and brought in Georg Wadenius to co-produce with Aarum. 12 brand new songs were recorded in Ocean Sound Recordings, and the cover front was designed by late and great contemporary artist Harrison Pushwagner. This album was released in Norway, Germany, UK and France. Watch the music video: "Don't Stay For Breakfast"