When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
Very early, I think I was 11, I wrote my first songs on the piano we had in the living room. I don’t know why I did it. We didn’t have a lot of music in my childhood home. I just felt intuitively guided or drawn to write and delve into the music.
The songs were dramatic. They were questioning money, how we as a society treat each other, and how to remember the light and even Jesus. And, oh, they were dramatic and about heartbreaks and failed romances. I remember one song goes something like: “As she left me I took a long sharp knife, but then the life spirit came back to me”.
I guess I wrote 10-20 songs in the following years. But I was no Mozart. I wasn’t particularly skilled. If you heard me back then you would say “that’s a very average kid just playing around”.
Then I took a long break till my early twenties. Then I was ready to pick up playing and songwriting again. And that was a relief to remember my love for music. Since then, I have devoted most of my time to writing, singing, and producing.
I am unstoppable in the sense that I feel a deep notion that this is what this life is for; my music is my contribution to a tired world, and it wants to remind people of inner silence and hope that there’s something in all of us that doesn’t die and that is always whole and complete. It has stopped being so personal to me.
This is simply my gift to the world. And it’s not for everyone, I know that. So many blocks and excuses have been flushed out, and I am just going wholeheartedly into what I see as my function.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
My biggest influencers and inspiration must be old masters like Beethoven and Mahler. Among living musicians that had an effect on me and my music, I count Sleeping At Last, Bon Iver, Nils Frahm, and Phillip Glass. And sooo many others. I often see my music as a hybrid between all these great artists, my human emotions, and the inspiration I get from the inner realms.
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
Some years ago, I was introduced to Ben Bushilll’s work. That just amazed me how profoundly an impact his weaving of words had on me. It was like Tolkien, just in a more spiritual, “hippie” version. His words and his crisp, deep, fragile voice are a very miraculous combo.
So it was only natural for me to reach out to him and invite him to do a project with me. I was very surprised to learn that he knew of my music already and that my invitation was immediately accepted. So that was it, and I have gotta say that this collaboration has been effortlessly flowing and graceful.
I would give him a few headlines, to begin with, and the day after or so, he would send me the poem – even recorded in his home studio. Ben keeps saying that I am the one who spent the most time on this project, as his poems just pour out of him. That is true. But his words brought a dimension to the album that is quite breathtaking to me.
The other day while speaking to a friend, tears flooded my eyes, realizing the depth and the healing his poems have brought – not just to my music, but to my life. He is a true master with words and it’s an honor to be doing this with him. A fun fact is that Ben is the most ordinary man you could think of. So down to earth and kind. And he builds houses for a living!
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
I think that finding the balance between listening and creating – relaxing and doing – that’s the hardest balance to master. I guess in life in general, but certainly also when it comes to music-making. I was told early on that whenever I am struggling with the music, it’s a good time to stop.
Just for a moment, do something else. Making music should be delightful and inspiring and fun. When there is a struggle, the ego is at play, and I don’t really want to let the ego interfere with the music. Music that should open hearts and inspire letting go of egoic thinking.
My greatest attribute must be that I am stubborn. I refuse to let my thoughts and insecurities stop me. My purpose is bigger than my personal feelings. I will complete what I started when it feels deep, true, and purposeful. Period. And I am not afraid of being rejected.
This is how every artist should go about their craft. Your art is important and you must believe that RIGHT NOW there is an audience waiting for your special gift. There is just no doubt. So work on your inner blocks, one at a time. Rise up, share your magnificent art and go home. There is nothing more to it.
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
Yes. I am the best. Well, in fact, the only one, when it comes to my special gift, my sound, and expression. For sure. That’s the point. There is no one else who can do it. It’s on my shoulder. And there is no failure either.
Everything works according to plan. You can’t mess it up. So I smile and emerge myself in the music that is, in the highest understanding, simply a gift to myself. Phew. Did you feel the relief there?
What are your plans for the near future?
After ‘Quiet Majesty’ has come out, I am gonna work on other projects. Lots of exciting collaborations in the pipeline. I am so indescribably lucky to work with artists such as Shaina Noll, Liv Austen, Kristian Thorsager, Chelan Harkin, and Maya Luna.
Also, I am back in the studio with Belgian Lilo Aurora whom I did my latest album (‘Where Angels Gently Sing’). So you can expect releases alongside these wonderful hearts throughout 2022. I am very excited. But more than that, I am forever grateful!
How can fans find you?
I am on the most popular streaming platforms. Would also love to connect with people thru my Facebook page: Facebook.com/jacobhaugemusic
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Get on with it! Don’t just sit and wait for people to approve of your music or for some fancy label to find you. That won’t happen. I am not even sure that would happen to Elvis if he was to try all over again in 2022.
There is so much great music being published every single day. The world is not in need of more music. Get on with your music, record it, get it published, enjoy it while it lasts – moves on. And have an inner focus: Appreciate the music that comes through you, and don’t worry so much if people will like it, or how many.
When that being said, there will be a passionate audience waiting for you. But don’t count listeners. Count the joyful moments you get from expressing yourself! We are already complete and have everything, so let music rather be a demonstration of that.