Danish pop group Lukas Graham are coming to Dallas at the top of their game. It was announced last month that their earworm of a song, "7 Years," had earned three Grammy nominations: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
The song off their second album, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 last April and was the fourth best-selling song in the U.S. last year, explores how songwriter Lukas Forchhammer's perspective and experiences are different from when he was a child, and imagines how they will continue to change as he ages.
“['7 Years' is about] growing older and realizing that there are bigger things to think about and deal with than just being here,” says Forchhammer, who is also the band's lead vocalist. “My father passed away in 2012, which started a lot of thoughts in me about how I wanted to be a father myself. Did I want to be a father myself? And '7 Years' just flew out."
Morbid though it is, without the death of his Forchhammer's father, Lukas Graham might never have made it big. Two years later, the band released "Happy Home" on the subject — which Forchhammer co-wrote with DJ Hedegaard — and that song made the band a household name in Denmark.
The second song on the topic, "7 Years," then attracted the attention of American executives when it was released by Copenhagen Records in September 2015. "Soon I'll be 60 years old / Will I think the world is cold? / Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me?" the lyrics go. Forchhammer says the song took him three and a half hours to write.
Prior to that, Lukas Graham had mainly been grabbing for attention by posting videos on social media sites such as Facebook, a technique common to young bands today. But while Forchhammer acknowledges social media as an important tool for musicians, he discounts the role it played in the success of his own band, which formed in 2011.
“I think social media had more impact on the way we can connect with people who like our music," he says. "When you have social media platforms, then you can circumvent more traditional outlets, like tabloids or newspapers, radio. In that way, social media is very important."
According to Forchhammer, he went to a record label in 2011 and told them if they didn’t want to sign him and his band, they would try to release the record on their own. “From there, we hustled on.” In 2012, the band received a publishing deal in America and then in 2013, a record deal with Warner Bros. Records.
Their success is particularly meaningful because they're from Denmark, a country that hasn't had a huge presence on the international charts. "7 Years" made the band the highest-charting Danish act in America since 1961. But despite that track record, Forchhammer says he wasn’t surprised by the success of "7 Years," nor does he worry about his ability to follow up the smash single.
“I think a lot of people want there to be pressure," he says. "I haven’t felt the pressure before, so why start now?”
Lukas Graham will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Tickets are $25 to $40 at livenation.com.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.