Mads Langer's 'Behold' , his first international album, officially started in November 2009 when the Danish singer/songwriter had moved to London. After two albums, a Danish radio station asked if he wanted to record a cover for their Best of 90s theme. "It was Olive's You're Not Alone. I did a bit of work on the arrangements, flew over to the studio in Denmark, got what I wanted in just a few takes and went back to London without giving it a second thought". A year later, Mads Langer's emotionally charged version of You're Not Alone found its way to the top of the charts around Europe and gave Mads the opportunity to perform in front of over 100,000 people.
Recently, his song The River Has Run Wild was featured in The Vampire Diaries, so when Behold is released later this year, Mads' new songs will be eagerly anticipated. That's the official story. The one we know. But the process that eventually became the intense, romantic, fragile, melancholic Behold, begins much earlier than that.
Born to parents who were both teachers who shared a love for music, Mads began piano lessons at the age of three. There's an old photo of Mads where, as a toddler, he can't even reach the keys of a piano, but is standing on his tip-toes trying to play. And in a way, Behold may have begun right there. Along with his musical skills, over time Mads has developed a genuine, deep knowledge of everything from classical to jazz and punk.
At the age of 15, Mads decided that one day he was going to move to New York and become a rock star. A few years later, a talent scout took Mads out for a beer after a local audition in Skive and suggested he take his songs and jump on a train to Copenhagen. It seemed very much like everything was going to begin when Mads Langer, only just 20, had arrived in the Danish capital with a few homemade demos and was quickly perceived as the new big star of Danish pop. He was labeled as 'the' young artist to look out for , the media loved him, and the whole industry was convinced he was going to make it big. His debut single did become a hit, but the album that followed was little more than a flicker in the dark.
Mads, at the age of 22, did inevitably find himself in New York and on the cusp of achieving the rock star dreams he had envisioned seven years earlier. Again, he was told that he was an enormous talent, a star, a name for the future. This time around the dream really was going to come true. But by then, the words rang empty and Mads Langer was tired of other people's visions. Even Mads himself didn't fully believe in them - nor in his own music. Homesick and at a crossroads, Mads returned home to Skive.
"My first album contained eleven songs that could all have been radio singles - eleven potential hits. But they just weren't me. They were what I thought others wanted from me. What I really needed to do was to stop leading a rock star life and start focusing on the music again. So I went back to Skive, bought an old car, and went off on tour".
On that tour of intimate gigs at small venues is where Mads really began to find himself again and in less than a year, he had thousands of new fans- fans who turned up for the music. Fact- Fiction, from Mads Langer's second, eponymous album, was one of those hits that brought even more loyal fans on board. It was written in the US in less than ten minutes and it's filled with the confusion he felt while in the States. A YouTube clip of a live version of the song has notched up more than a million views online, and something in the rawness of that performance is what would eventually be the catalyst for the sound of Behold.
"The album Behold is a reflection of the constant flow of music running through my veins. I observe through my music and ping-pong between lyrics and melodies to capture snapshots of my reality. I'm very inspired of the way Keith Jarrett just lets his hands run out of control and create big poetic moments out of improvisation. The same can be said for other big artists like Ryan Adams and Jeff Buckley. I can relate to all three because they all seem to let their intuition and playful musicality take them to beautiful places. My own music originates in the same way."
From the isolation of writing the first single Microscope, to roaming through London where Mads recorded 3 tracks with producer Martin Terefe (Ron Sexsmith, Jason Mraz), comes an album filled with melodic fragments of poetic visions that run through Mads' mind. Says Martin, "There's a special nordic pop melancholy that rarely translates outside Scandinavia. Like the introvert in an extrovert world. However, when I heard Mads songs I heard that melancholy but lifted up by big epic melodies and words that instantly stuck in my mind. I really think his songs can connect with music lovers anywhere!" Having written more than 250 songs in his life and turning only 27 this year, 2011 marks a new beginning for singer/songwriter Mads. Now, for the first time, he is fully in control. For the first time he has captured the intimate emotions of the live performances he loves doing so much. And for the first time, it's his own vision setting the agenda.