The Norwegian artist Wiese’s (Trygve Wiese) EDM cover of «The Lion Sleeps Tonight» is trending with millions of Spotify plays.
We spoke to him about this, the crazy music video and his passion for Norwegian football!
T.H.E – Hey Trygve! Welcome to T.H.E – Music Essentials. How’s it going, and what have you been up to?
Wiese – Hey guys, thanks for having me! I’ve had a great summer working on music, travelling and of course enjoying those long-awaited summer nights. As you probably know, I’ve also spent some time with a lion costume, but I’ll guess we’ll come back to that later.
T.H.E – What made you release an EDM cover version of «The Lion Sleeps Tonight»? It’s meant as a tribute to The Lion King and its 25th anniversary, correct?
Wiese – I’ve always loved the song and felt the timing was right to give it a push. Most people associate it with The Lion King, but actually it dates back to 1939 when it was first released in South Africa under the title «Mbube». So, I made my version as a tribute to The Lion King, but I also made it as a tribute to its African origin, which has its 80th anniversary this year.
T.H.E – What are your earliest memories of The Lion King? Is it something you have always been fond of?
Wiese – Something that has really burned into my memory was when I, as a nine-year-old, went on stage in front of the whole elementary school and performed «Can You Feel The Love Tonight» on a recorder fipple flute. Have you heard those things? Let’s just hope none of my innocent school friends got lasting damage from it.
T.H.E – Did you get a chance to see it this year?
Wiese – Of course! I was like a little kid at the premiere, with expectations just as big as the popcorn box in my lap. And I must say, I think they’ve done an incredible job with the remake. They’ve definitely added some new dimensions, but at the same time they’ve done things in a respectful way that retained the mood and nostalgia from the original. I’m rolling the dice to ten for this one!
T.H.E – Why did you decide on EDM as the genre for the cover? Working on it must have been pretty special?
Wiese – Well, the song has such a catchy and powerful melody, but you rarely hear DJs or radios play it anymore. The sound production is quite outdated, so I wanted to freshen it up and give it a modern expression that fit today’s pop music. To be honest, working on it was pretty special due to the reasons mentioned before. People have such a nostalgic relationship to these classics, so you really need to put in your best, try to retain the good vibe and let everything you do be respectful to the original.
T.H.E – The video is so funny! What is the thought behind it? Having a lion roam, and have fun in the city?
Wiese – Thanks, I really appreciate all the good feedback! Actually, we planned nothing more than to borrow a lion costume and a camera and see what we could possibly do in a day in Oslo. Then one thing led to the other and suddenly we were on a plane to Barcelona wearing this one-piece and oversized lion head. As you can see in the video, things just kept escalating and we ended up having the time of our lives making it.
T.H.E – The track itself is doing massively well, especially on Spotify where it got millions of streams already in the first few weeks of its release. That must have felt awesome?
Wiese – Yeah, what can I say? For a simple guy like myself, it’s difficult to get a grasp on the dimensions of these numbers. Obviously, I’m grateful for every single person who listens to the song, put it in their playlist and even shares it with others. This is not something I take for granted, so I just try to stay humble and enjoy every second of it.
T.H.E – You also do performances at football stadiums. Describe that experience for us.
Wiese – You’ve clearly done your research, huh? That’s actually how it all started back in 2004, when I released “Me e Viking” – a tribute to the Norwegian football club Viking FK. Ever since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of representing my team, but with limited football talent, I had to turn to music to fulfill this dream. Doing my first performance in front of 15,000 people at the opening ceremony of the new stadium was an incredible and emotional moment for a young guy. Since then I’ve played several times at this sold-out stadium and it’s still as special as the first time.
T.H.E – You’ve recently released a remake of your own 15-year-old football song as well?
Wiese – That’s right! A few months ago, I made a remake of it for many of the same reasons I made the remake of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – freshen it up and make it timelier. For some reason, it’s become the most-streamed football song in Norway ever, with millions of streams. Still wondering why, maybe the great players and supporters of Viking Oslo and Vikinghordene just put it on repeat and forgot they did?
T.H.E – Lastly, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
Wiese – I just want to keep doing things that feel right and gives energy. For me, this means having the flexibility to be impulsive. Obviously, I have some thoughts and ideas but that may change tomorrow, so let’s just see what happens. No worries or “Hakuna Matata” as Timon and Pumbaa would say. Just keep an eye on @iamwiese and I’ll keep you updated!