Very few Norwegian acts have accomplished such great success in Japan as Aleksander With. Not only did he top the charts, he also experienced touring with legends like Steely Dan and Babyface. In his home country Norway, his earlier success had paved the way for the Asian push.
He won Idol 2006 by a landslide, and went double platinum with his first single “A Little Too Perfect”, more than indicating he was an artist to be reckoned with in the future. After taking time to further develop as a songwriter, he is back on the Norwegian airwaves. Since summer 2009 his first single ”What’s the Story”, and the duet with international pop star Lene Marlin, ”Worth It” have been in heavy rotation across the board. His much anticipated second album, ”Still Awake”, is penned for release March 8th 2010.
Aleksander Denstad With was born 30th of June in 1987. He grew up in a place named after the god Heimdall in Norse mythology. The area has been continuously inhabited at least since the Iron Age, and is rich in archaeological sites. Maybe it is his Viking ancestry that gave him the desire to travel the world. Aleksander grew up surrounded with music. He used to sing in a choir, played guitar, drums and piano since he was a child. He played in several bands, took piano lessons and studied music at Heimdal Upper Secondary School.
But playing gigs in a band at local bars, as well as recording numerous demos did not seem to open any doors at the time. Not surprisingly, that all changed after winning Idol 2006 with the song ”A Little Too Perfect”. The single ruled the charts the following week, continued to do so for four consecutive weeks, and was later nominated for “Hit of the Year” at the Norwegian Grammy Awards. Aleksander also earned himself two nominations in the European MTV Music Awards for “New sounds of Europe” and in “Norwegian act of the year”.
During these altogether new circumstances, he was occupied with recording his debut album, “Coming Home”. Aleksander took a hands-on approach to all parts of the production process, also contributing with his songwriting and playing the piano, while having the pleasure of collaborating with some of Norway’s top producers. The release date October 23rd was neatly tattoed on Aleksander’s wrist, and it was a mature nineteen-year-old with a definite flair for pop melodies debuting. Aleksander carried both an Idol tour and a tour on his own with full live band that year.
The single “Other Side” then proved to be a hit in the land of the rising sun. It was dubbed “The World’s Best Pop Song” in September 2007 by Japan’s biggest radio channel.
Aleksander explains the difference in being a pop artist in Japan compared to Norway:
-Back home in Norway I could stroll freely around the streets without being run down by fans and autograph seekers, but in Japan I’m being followed by men in suits with ear plugs. I have to have my own bodyguards!, he grins.
-I learned a lot from the trips to Japan, and I got to see some of the world outside Scandinavia. It definitively broadened my perspective on many things.
Back in the more familiar surroundings of his home town, he started writing material for the new album. “Still Awake” is recorded by producers Bernt Rune Stray (Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Whitney Houston) and Bjorn Erik Pedersen, the album yet again unveils Aleksander as a true songwriter pianist and a brilliant singer. Aleksander doesn’t have to look far for inspiration:
– The red thread of the album is probably the lack of a common thread in my life. Every song is a separate little story from my pretty chaotic life, where a lot has happened the past three years, Aleksander says.
The album “Still Awake” contains the two aforementioned singles, the title track Still Awake (third single), the immensely beautiful duet “My Home Is Where You Are” (Which is used in Norwegian TV ad for the Genèva radios), and six other songs.