Annie (singer)

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Annie performing in 2009
Annie performing in 2009
Background information
Birth nameAnne Lilia Berge Strand
Born (1977-11-21) 21 November 1977 (age 45)
Trondheim, Norway
OriginBergen, Norway
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • DJ
Years active1993–present

Anne Lilia Berge Strand (born 21 November 1977),[4][5] known professionally as Annie, is a Norwegian singer, songwriter, record producer and DJ. She began her recording career in 1999 with the underground hit single "The Greatest Hit" and gained international acclaim, particularly from music bloggers, for her debut album Anniemal (2004).

After completing secondary school, Annie started DJing in Bergen, where she met house producer and soon-to-be boyfriend Tore Kroknes. In 1999, Annie and Kroknes released the single "The Greatest Hit", which sold out in two days and became popular in Norwegian and British nightclubs. Before Annie and Kroknes could release an album, Kroknes died from a congenital heart defect in 2001. Annie went on to sign a record deal with Britain's 679 Recordings in 2003, releasing her debut album Anniemal in 2004, for which she received widespread critical acclaim and several Norwegian music awards. She released her second studio album, Don't Stop, on the Smalltown Supersound label in 2009. Annie lives in Berlin.

Annie has been described as "a pop singer with credibility, an indie artist with one eye on the dancefloor"[6] and as "the Norwegian Kylie".[7] Annie describes her music as "pop with strange edges".[6]

Early life[edit]

Annie was born in Trondheim, Norway, and was raised in the coastal town of Kristiansand.[8] Annie's father, a church organist, died of cancer when Annie was 7. After a series of moves, Annie and her mother, a teacher of English and religion, moved to Norway's second largest city Bergen when Annie was 13.[7] By this time, Annie sang in choirs.[9]

At age 16, Annie and a group of friends formed Suitcase, an indie rock band. Suitcase only performed once, before a panel of judges for a music competition where they did not reach the finals.[10] A few years after Suitcase's inception, Annie left the band because "the other members wanted to make trip hop."[11]

Annie attended secondary school until around 1997, when she began to DJ around Bergen, getting acquainted with members of the Bergen music scene. During this time she met producer Mikal Tellé, owner of the Bergen-based Tellé record label, and Norwegian house producer Tore Andreas Kroknes, known professionally as DJ Erot.

Music career[edit]

1999–2002: "Greatest Hit"[edit]

Annie and Kroknes became romantically involved, and began to collaborate musically. Annie's talent for writing melodies and vocals worked well with Kroknes's production skills.[12] Annie launched her solo singing career in 1999 with the single "Greatest Hit". The song was recorded after Annie played Madonna's song "Everybody" for Kroknes, who was experiencing a creative block at the time. Kroknes sampled the song, and Annie started to sing a melody to it. They recorded and released the song under the Tellé label. The song saw a limited release of 500 7-inch singles, which sold out in two days. "Greatest Hit" became an underground club hit in Norway and the United Kingdom, and Annie received offers for record contracts.[13] Annie reflects that she and Kroknes had recorded the song "for fun", but with the success of the single, Annie says, "I realized that I could actually make a living out of this."[12]

Annie and Kroknes made plans to release an album and began recording "I Will Get On" in 2000. However, Kroknes, who was born with a degenerative heart condition, fell ill near the end of 2000 and was hospitalized repeatedly. In April 2001, Kroknes died of complications from his heart condition at the age of 23.[9][14] Annie told Clubbing Magazine:

"After that, I was so depressed I just wasn't able to do anything. I stayed at home, away from everyone, completely in my own world. I wanted to make the album with Tore—that was the plan. After he died I just didn't think I had the heart. But then I thought, 'Right, you're really depressed now but you have to make this album. Tore would be quite pissed off if you just stopped doing anything.'"[1]

After a hiatus from music, Annie returned to DJing and songwriting in late 2001, running a club night called Pop Till You Drop at the Agora nightclub in Bergen with DJ friend Fröken Blytt. Among the music acts booked for Pop Till You Drop were Peaches, DJ Adam Mac, and Finnish DJ Timo Kaukolampi of Op:l Bastards.[15] Annie later DJed at Kaukolampi's own nightclub in Helsinki and lent her vocals to some Op:l Bastards tracks.[9]

2003–2005: Anniemal[edit]

Annie was signed to British label 679 Recordings in March 2003. Annie recorded the track "Kiss Me" with Kaukolampi, and was approached by Richard X to record vocals for the track "Just Friends" on Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1, released in August 2003. In return, he and Hannah Robinson co-wrote "Chewing Gum" and "Me Plus One" for Annie.[16] Annie and Richard X continued to work together, releasing the single "Chewing Gum" in Annie's name in September 2004. The track was named single of the week by NME soon after its release,[17] and charted in the UK at number 25.

Annie performing at BIT Teatergarasjen for Bergenfest in May 2005

Later that year, Annie released her debut CD Anniemal, collaborating with Timo Kaukolampi, Richard X, and fellow Norwegians Röyksopp. The album featured "The Greatest Hit", "Chewing Gum", and the album's second single "Heartbeat". The song, produced by Röyksopp, was voted number one on Pitchfork's Top 50 Singles of 2004 list, before the song was officially released. "Chewing Gum" held the number-eleven spot on that same list.[18] "Heartbeat" was remixed by Canadian electronic duo MSTRKRFT in 2005.

In 2005, Annie won several awards for her work, including Best Pop Album and Best Newcomer at the Norwegian Alarm Awards. "Chewing Gum" had also been nominated for Song of the Year. In addition, Annie won the Best Newcomer award at the prestigious Spellemannprisen. Annie's 5 February performance at the Alarm Awards was one of the first live performances of her solo career.[19]

Annie toured around the world in 2005 to promote Anniemal, including a brief stint opening for Saint Etienne,[20] to whom she had sent a demo tape while still in Suitcase in 1996. Annie performed at sold out club venues in the United States in 2005, and returned to the US later that year.

In 2005, Annie released a DJ mix album as part of !K7's DJ-Kicks series. Around this time, she began a record label called Totally, with Timo Kaukolampi, and planned to release a 12-inch single with Datarock.[21] She also provided vocals for the Teddybears track "Yours to Keep"[22] as well as the Ercola track "Follow Me",[23] and re-recorded her songs "Chewing Gum" and "Heartbeat" in Simlish for The Sims 2: Nightlife's Danish and Norwegian versions.

2006–2010: Don't Stop[edit]

In January 2007, Annie signed an international deal with Island Records, owned by Universal Music Group. She had planned to release her second album, Don't Stop, in September 2008, preceded by the Richard X-produced single "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me", after she finished touring on the Popjustice Wonky Pop Tour.[24][25] In November 2008, Annie announced that due to internal problems within the label, she had decided to part ways with Island Records;[26] in interviews following the eventual release of Don't Stop, Annie explained that her original A&R agent at the label, Nick Gatfield, left to join EMI UK, and Annie left the label because her new agent was not enthusiastic about her work.[2] Although this left her second album's future uncertain, she retained legal control over the songs she recorded during her contracted period with the label.[27] Verdens Gang suggested that the split with the label was precipitated by the poor chart performance of "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me",[28] which charted at number 54 in the UK. Don't Stop leaked in its original incarnation in 2008.[citation needed]

After her departure from Island Records, Annie released a new single, "Anthonio", via producer Richard X's Pleasure Masters label in May 2009. The song tells the story of a holiday affair between Annie and the title character; Annie described the song as "the ultimate summer track".[29]

In August 2009, Pitchfork announced that Don't Stop would be released via independent label Smalltown Supersound and Annie's own label Totally Records.[30] It came out in the UK on 19 October 2009 and in the US on 17 November.[30][31] Don't Stop includes collaborations with former collaborators Richard X and Timo Kaukolampi, as well as British producers Xenomania and Paul Epworth. The album's release was preceded by two digital singles: "Songs Remind Me of You", a Richard X production,[32] and "My Love Is Better", which was produced by Xenomania and features guitar from Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand.[33] The latter initially featured backing vocals by British pop group Girls Aloud, but their record label intervened.[34][35]

Annie co-wrote Mini Viva's debut single "Left My Heart in Tokyo", released in September 2009 and produced by Xenomania.

2010–2020: The A&R EP / Endless Vacation EP[edit]

In October 2010, Xenomania's News Blog reported that Annie was back in the studio recording her follow-up to 2009's "Don't Stop". Annie started recording in August 2010 with Brian Higgins at Xenomania's studios in Kent, England.[36] During 2010, she also contributed vocals to the song "Crazy for You" by New York electro duo Designer Drugs (who remixed her track "Anthonio") for their debut album Hardcore/Softcore, released in February 2011 and to "Alien Summer" by French producer The Toxic Avenger, for their album Angst released on 18 May 2011. By the second half of 2011, Annie began working on The Night Within Us!, an EP that was slated for an early 2012 release. The Skatebård-produced title track and soon-to-be single "The Night Within", is the theme song for an homonymous short film by Hildegunn Waerness and part of an interdisciplinary project by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard. The installation and set of paintings, exhibited on the Guido W. Baudach gallery in Berlin from 26 November 2011 to 25 February 2012, are based on the lyrics and theme of the song, which "deal with love and loss", and capture "the existential need for human tenderness, trust and partnership on one hand, and the painful realisation of lies, deceit and abandonment", all of which have been somewhat present on Melgaard's work. A video has been done for the song, based almost entirely on the exhibition.[37]

Annie released the single "Tubestops and Lonely Hearts" on 26 April 2013.[38] The track is a "song for the dance floor", and is "inspired by the rave scene in Bergen".[39]

The A&R EP was released on 29 July 2013, and features the single "Back Together".

On 7 February 2014, Annie released "Russian Kiss", a song with Bjarne Melgaard and Richard X, which condemns Russia's anti-gay laws.[40]

On 20 and 21 August 2014, Annie was a guest member of the jury on Idol Norway.[41]

On 16 October 2015, Annie released an EP entitled Endless Vacation.[42]

2020–present: Dark Hearts and Neon Nights[edit]

On 19 June 2020, Annie announced her third studio album and first new LP in 11 years, Dark Hearts. Describing the ambiance of the album, Annie said the LP is "the soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist."[43] The first single from the album, "American Cars", was released on the same day. Dark Hearts was produced by Stefan Storm of the Swedish synth-pop duo the Sound of Arrows, and was self-released through Annie's Anniemelody label on 16 October 2020. The second single from the album, "The Bomb", was released on 17 July 2020.

In July 2021, Annie announced the release of the EP Neon Nights featuring the already released titled track and a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's song "Just Like Honey".[44]

Personal life[edit]

Annie lives in Berlin,[45] where she moved after being evicted from the apartment in Bergen she was living in because it was going to be turned into a hotel.[46] She owned a cat named Joey, whom she named after both Joey Ramone and Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block.[9] Joey died on 29 January 2010.[47] Annie is an avid reader and follows global politics. She is friends with musician Peaches. Her musical influences include Madonna, Saint Etienne, the Pet Shop Boys, and Kate Bush.[35] She has a green belt in karate.[48]



  1. ^ a b Almind, Christian (October 2004). "Annie – The Chewing Gum Girl". Clubbing Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Annie on Her Second Album, Don't Stop". Elle. 25 November 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  3. ^ Hyclak, Anna (28 October 2010). "Terrific Twitter Trio of the Week". Spin. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. ^ Skogrand, Merete (6 May 2010). "Låta til norske Annie spilles i «Sex and the City 2»" [The song by Norwegian Annie is played in 'Sex and the City 2']. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  5. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Annie". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b "'Chewing Gum' girl Annie is oh so cool". Yorkshire Evening Post. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 15 July 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  7. ^ a b West, Naomi (3 March 2005). "A fjord fiesta with the Norwegian Kylie". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  8. ^ Gjersøe, Jørn (4 January 2006). "Annie på Rolling Stone-liste" [Annie on the Rolling Stone list] (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d Ely, Suzanne (1 June 2005). "Anniemal Magnetism". Baltimore City Paper. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Annie". SFburning. 2005. Archived from the original on 29 July 2005. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
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  12. ^ a b "Anne Lilia Bergen-Strand – Annie" (PDF). Scandinavian Press. Fall 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  13. ^ Rosen, Jody (1 May 2005). "Much Ado About Annie". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  14. ^ Flynn, Paul (23 January 2005). "Flash-forward". The Observer. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  15. ^ Slomowicz, Ron. "Annie Interview". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
  16. ^ Draper, Jimmy (29 June – 4 July 2005). "Norwegian would". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
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  18. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (30 December 2004). "Top 50 Singles of 2004". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  19. ^ Pettersen, Tomas (3 February 2005). "Annie's heartbeat". MIC Norway. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  20. ^ Pettersen, Tomas (26 May 2005). "Annie Announces US DJ Tour". MIC Norway. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
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  22. ^ Raposa, David (14 July 2006). "Teddybears: "Yours to Keep [ft. Neneh Cherry and Annie]"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 27 August 2006. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
  23. ^ "Ercola ft. Daniella: Follow Me". Hyperactive. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  24. ^ "Annie gets Girls, Franz". Teletext Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  25. ^ Pedersen, Bernt (27 December 2007). "Annie kommer tilbake" [Annie is coming back]. Dagsavisen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  26. ^ Annie (26 November 2008). "Snow/elephantman& off the island". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2009 – via Myspace.
  27. ^ Thiessen, Brock (6 January 2009). "Annie explains release delay, toys with possible double album". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  28. ^ Talseth, Thomas (4 October 2008). "Hetser Norge i svensk presse" [Norway is hot in the Swedish press]. Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  29. ^ Balls, David (7 May 2009). "What's going on with Annie then?". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  30. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (12 August 2009). "Annie's Don't Stop finally coming out". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  31. ^ Annie (17 August 2009). "SonGS REMIND ME OF YOU..." Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2009 – via Myspace.
  32. ^ "Annie: Songs Remind Me of You available on iTunes". Smalltown Supersound. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 17 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  33. ^ Mackenzie, Malcolm (7 July 2008). "Annie is the latest Scandinavian star giving Robyn a run for her Kroner". The London Paper. Retrieved 26 July 2008.[dead link]
  34. ^ Robinson, Peter (1 May 2008). "Annie's new album: it's extraordinarily good". Popjustice. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  35. ^ a b Pedder, Alan (13 August 2009). "words in edgeways with annie". Wears the Trousers. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  36. ^ "New Annie album in 2011; new single out soon". Xenomania News. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  37. ^ "The Night Within Us!". Galerie Guido W. Baudach. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  38. ^ "Annie – Tube Stops and Lonely Hearts". Pretty Much Amazing. 29 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  39. ^ "Annie Videos". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  40. ^ Battan, Carrie (7 February 2014). "Video: Annie's Anti-Putin/Pro-Gay Rights Protest Song "Russian Kiss"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014.
  41. ^ "Annie in the Idol Norway jury". 20 August 2014. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Annie – 'Cara Mia'". Popjustice. 29 September 2015. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  43. ^ Yoo, Noah (19 June 2020). "Annie Announces First New Album in 11 Years, Shares New Song "American Cars": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  44. ^ Neale, Matthew (11 July 2021). "Listen to Annie's pop take on The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey"". NME Australia. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  45. ^ Brinton, Jessica (17 August 2008). "The new wave of female pop artists: Santogold, Lykke Li and Camille". The Times. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  46. ^ Daw, Robbie (17 November 2009). "The Idolator Interview: Annie". Idolator. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  47. ^ Annie [@annieponannie] (29 January 2010). "is sad. My lovely cat JOEY passed away today. She felt asleep in my arms at the doctors. she was suffering from a tumour in the lungs." (Tweet). Retrieved 21 February 2013 – via Twitter.
  48. ^ Williams, Andrew (14 July 2008). "Annie talks about suicide track". Metro. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2009.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Recipient of the Newcomer Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by