Nilsen performing at Ibsenhuset in Skien, 2 March 2010.
|Birth name||Kurt Erik Kleppe Nilsen|
|Also known as||Idol-Kurt|
|Born||September 29, 1978|
|Instruments||Singing, guitar, drums, bass|
Kurt Erik Kleppe Nilsen (born September 29, 1978) is a Norwegian pop/country singer. He won the first season of the Norwegian version of the reality television show Pop Idol, which aired on TV 2 in May 2003. He then won a one-off international version of Pop Idol, called World Idol on January 1, 2004, featuring winners of the various national Idol shows.
Upon leaving school, Nilsen made his living as a plumber. Nilsen became the lead singer in the Norwegian band Fenrik Lane. He is a left-handed musician and plays his guitar with the strings upside down. He appeared on and won Norwegian Idol with 54% of the votes against Gaute Ormåsen. He is one of only seven contestants in the Norwegian Idol history who succeeded in staying out of “bottom three/two” places in weekly votes.
His subsequent single, "She's So High", written by Tal Bachman, went straight to number one in the Norwegian VG-lista singles chart and is among the biggest-selling singles in Norway to date. His debut album was simply called I.
He subsequently won the title for the World Idol on January 1, 2004, singing the hit "Beautiful Day" by U2, beating competitors from ten other nations, including the more famous Idol winners, Britain's Will Young, and favourite Kelly Clarkson of the United States, and scoring the first place in 10 out of 11 countries eligible to vote for him (Norwegian voters being unable to vote for him).
In the show presenting the entries on December 25, Ian Dickson, the Australian (English ex-pat) judge, said: "Kurt, you are a hell of a marketing challenge, because you have the voice of an angel, but you look like a Hobbit."  The comment made Kurt laugh out loud. The crowd seemed to revel in his underdog status as a gap-toothed man, with an astonishingly good voice.
His second CD, A Part Of Me, released in 2004, contains only his own material.
Nilsen performed the duet, It's All Coming Back To Me Now, alongside Norwegian Pop/Alternative Rocker, Marion Raven at the One Call Event. Taking the place of Meat Loaf, with whom Raven recorded the track for the Bat Out Of Hell 3 album
In 2006 he and three other Norwegian artists Askil Holm, Espen Lind and Alejandro Fuentes, all in the same management, joined forces and went on tour in March as what was known by the media as "The New Guitar Buddies".
Initially, they planned a short tour (five to six concerts), but ended up playing for more than 100,000 people during their tour of around 30 concerts. Although they had not planned to, they subsequently released a live album from that tour.
In 2008, in connection with his latest and country flavoured album Rise To The Occasion Kurt teamed up with American music legend Willie Nelson to perform the old country music standard "Lost Highway". The song was an instant hit in his native Norway and helped him top both the single chart, the album chart and the radio chart all at once.
In 2009 "The New Guitar Buddies" was back with a new tour and a new album, including one on May 9, 2009 at Rockefeller Oslo.
Spring 2010 saw Kurt touring Norway with an acoustic concert tour in intimate concert halls. His guest artist was Elin Gaustad, who was a competitor in Norway's first X Factor show in 2009. In late February 2010, Kurt and Elin sang the duet "The Water is Wide" on the TV2 show Senkveld, to great acclaim.
In 2010, Kurt recorded a Christmas song album entitled Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with the Kringkastingsorkester (KORK), the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. It was released on November 15, 2010 in Norway. He performs with this orchestra and some guest artists at Lillestrøm messecenter, near Oslo on 18 December 2010. It was broadcast live on NRK television. The album stayed at the top of the Norwegian Albums Chart for 5 consecutive weeks (48/2010 to 52/2010)
2011 saw Kurt going on the road on a new tour in addition to playing at a number of music festivals and venues.
On September 15, 2012, it was announced on the official Norwegian Idol website that Kurt will be the second of an all-new four-member jury of former Idol contestants to celebrate 10 years since the debut of Idol in Norway. Another judge joining in was season three runner-up Tone Damli Aaberge.
In January 2005, Nilsen broke up with his fiancée, Kristine Jacobsen. They had been together for 11 years and had two children together: Marte (born 1996) and Erik (born 2000). In January 2006, Kurt's new girlfriend Kristin gave birth to her first and Nilsen's third child, Lucas. They married later that year.
The following is a discography of albums and singles released by Norwegian music artist Kurt Nilsen.
|Title and details||Chart positions||Singles|
|A Part of Me
|Rise to the Occasion
|Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
|Inni en god periode
|Kurt Nilsen Live
Collective albums (live)
|Title and details||Chart positions||Singles|
|Hallelujah - Live||1||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Hallelujah - Live Volume 2||1||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003||"She's So High"||1||60||42||9||25||16||38||—||91||25||I|
|2004||"Here She Comes"||12||—||—||53||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"All You Have to Offer"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"My Street"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||A Part of Me|
|"Before You Leave"||—||—||—||52||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006||"When the Stars Go Blue" (featuring Venke Knutson)||14||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Venke Knutson's Places I've Been|
|"Hallelujah" (with Espen Lind, Askil Holm and Alejandro Fuentes)||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Hallelujah - Live|
|"Boys Of Summer" (with Espen Lind, Askil Holm and Alejandro Fuentes)||12||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007||"Push, Push"||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Push Push|
|"Lost Highway" (featuring Willie Nelson)||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Rise to the Occasion|
|"Don't Have What It Takes"||19||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Rise to the Occasion"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||38||—||—|
|2009||"With or Without You" (with Espen Lind, Askil Holm and Alejandro Fuentes)||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Hallelujah - Live Volume 2|
|2010||"Himmel på jord"||9||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas|
|"Engler i sneen" (with Lene Marlin)||7||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||TBA|
- 1998 Shoe (with former band Breed; later Fenrik Lane)
- 2002 Come Down Here (EP) (Norwegian album charts: #2) (with Fenrik Lane)
- 2003 Idol '03 (Norwegian album charts: #1)
- 2011 Mitt lille land, with other artists
#1 Singles in Norway
"Things Are Gonna Change" by Christian Ingebrigtsen
|Norwegian VG-lista number-one single: She's So High
11 June 2003 – 6 August 2003
"Chasing Rainbows" by Gaute Ormåsen
"Floden" by Bjørn Eidsvåg
|Norwegian VG-lista number-one single: Hallelujah w/Lind, Fuentes and Holm
10 January 2007 – 17 January 2007
"Smack That" by Akon featuring Eminem
"Umbrella" by Rihanna
|Norwegian VG-lista number-one single: "Push Push"
4 July 2007 - 11 July 2007
"Umbrella" by Rihanna
"Mercy" by Duffy
|Norwegian VG-lista number-one single: "Lost Highway" w/Willie Nelson
6–13 May 2008
"4 Minutes" by Madonna (second run)
- "Kurt Nilsen: World Idol Comments".
- Trippel listetopp for Kurt Nilsen og Willie Nelson - Farojournalen
- "Nå blir Kurt Nilsen "Idol"-dommer" (in Norwegian). TV2. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
- Se Kurt Nilsens gitar-hytte!, VG
- Kurt Nilsen bygger gitar-hytte, Dagbladet
- Discography Kurt Nilsen. norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
- Kurt Nilsen, Norwegian Bandindex
- Kurt Nilsen, VG-lista
- Fenrik Lane, VG-lista
- Official website .
- Kurt Nilsen at AllMusic
- Kurt Nilsen at the Internet Movie Database
- Kurt Nilsen discography at Discogs