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RS Recommends: Norway’s Next Wave of Breakout Acts

From Gabifuego to Metteson to Musti, here are our favourite breakthrough Norwegian acts — unranked.

Combos at Norway's Øya Festival 2022

Combos at Øya Festival 2022

Pål Bellis

Scandinavia has never not been having a moment when it comes to barrier-breaking music destined for a global takeover. Countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden are responsible for exports like Björk, Avicii, Lykke Li, Robyn, MØ, Tove Styrke, The Knife, Röyksopp, Aurora, Sigrid, Little Dragon, Icona Pop… And who could forget A-ha, ABBA and Ace of Base?!

Many of the aforementioned acts have since gone on to win Swedish Grammys, BRITs, International Dance Music Awards, place in the Billboard 200, sell out arenas, and headline Coachella; but not before many performed at the annual Øya Festival, which still sells out every August when it takes over Norway’s culture hub, Oslo.

Øya Festival may be renowned for its big-name international lineups – this year featured Gorillaz, Florence & The Machine and Nick Cave to name a few – but the concentration is refreshingly on local Scandinavian talent. And despite flipping the switch in favour of local acts, it remains one of the most sought-after event ticks since its modest start in 1999.

Here is our (unranked, alphabetically ordered) list of the best of Norway’s next wave of breakout acts.

brenn at oya festival

Øya Festival


As one of the leading stars of Norwegian rock, the band were a Øya Festival highlight thanks to their high-energy live set and their enmeshing of tight rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop and R&B.

RS Recommends: “Keen”

Pål Bellis


Fusing heavy riffs, heart-pounding percussion and an unwavering punk rock ethos, Combos lived up to the hype at Øya, delivering multiple epic live moments and reminding us they’re at their best when onstage and/or on top of the crowd.

RS Recommends: “Boom Shakalaka”

Helge Brekke


Dagny is an undeniable Norwegian pop star. Her music has been streamed over a billion times, she’s been nominated for six Norwegian Grammys (Spellemannprisen), and she’s helped pen tracks for Katy Perry and Ashnikko. Dagny pulled out all the stops for her solo set at Øya: rainbows of smoke, fireworks, pyrotechnics, a song from a small platform in the middle of the crowd… she even brought out fellow Norwegian pop darling Astrid S for a joyful rendition of their track “Pretty”.

RS Recommends: “Somebody”

Anki Grøthe

Emilie Nicolas

As Norway’s most beloved dark pop artist, Emilie Nicolas has the ability to soothe the most tired soul with her mix of romance, joy, despair and healing. Those who caught her set at Øya Festival or onstage with the country’s biggest hip hop duo Karpe were left deeply satisfied by her unique blend of syrupy vocals, jazztronica, and erotic lyrical imagery.

RS Recommends: “Wild One”


Pål Bellis


Norwegian-Chilean Gabriel Nystad Muñoz, aka the guitarist of indie-pop sensation boy pablo, has branched out on his own. Under the moniker Gabifuego, his new reggaeton project has seen him ink a sync deal with FIFA and score a writing credit with Norwegian dance-pop duo Marcus & Martinus. Gabifuego is undoubtedly on the rise and rise.

RS Recommends: “Contigo Tengo” with Astrid S

777 Music

Ira Nor

Taking cues from contemporary pop luminaries like Taylor Swift, Charli XCX and Troye Sivan, Ira Nor has been described as “an electronic-pop therapy session you can dance to”. She backs up the early accolades in a live setting too; her pre-Øya Festival set — which marked one of her very first shows — was an overall highlight.

RS Recommends: “Flashback”

Anna Lerheim Ask


Inspired by the likes of Haim and The 1975 but sounding entirely original, Kamara is one of the most joyful breakout stars to come out of Norway. She makes you impatient for what’s next after every career-highlight single release.

RS Recommends: “Carry You Home”

Pål Bellis


Melodramatic, a theatre kid at heart, and entirely addictive, Metteson must be experienced live in order to take in the full breadth of his grand-pop vision. A highlight at this year’s Øya Festival, Sverre Breivik’s mix of Scandinavian synth and soaring vocal ballads highlight the range of this rising star.

RS Recommends: “Under Your Shirt”

Øya Festival


A sharp wit, wholesome lyrical messaging and a dexterous flow, Somalia-born Norwegian-based rapper Ugbad Musti mixes grime with soulful swag. Musti embraces the multiple cultures she was raised with whilst still searching for own identity. 

RS Recommends:gro harlem brundtland



With the sheer number of lucid bops delivered from the six members of Undergrunn, it’s any wonder they drew one of the biggest Øya Festival crowds this year. The group has been carving out a place for themselves in Norway’s booming hip hop scene since 2018, all thanks to their loose, high-energy live shows and filled-to-the-brim tracks like “Italia”, “Peroni & Perignon” and “Icemobile”.

RS Recommends: “Italia”

Pål Bellis

Witch Club Satan

The black metal outfit amplify the sexual undercurrent of their music with onstage melodrama and blistering guitars. Taking over a dark, sticky club the night before Øya Festival Day One, Witch Club Satan wailed over noise-guitar eruptions and proffered a gloriously sacrilegious display of nudity, fake blood and uncompromising black metal.

RS Recommends: “Hysteria”