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An international tribute

Mira Craig has made every effort to give Norwegians something new to put in their ear, but it has not been easy to understand themselves musically.


- Most people in the music industry are afraid to do something new, or something different. Especially if there is something they do not fully understand. So I have in a way been forced over the years to do everything myself, says Norwegian-American Mira Craig, who made her album debut on Monday with Look look!.

The young girl from St. Hanshaugen in Oslo has been practicing music for almost ten years. She wrote her first song as a 15-year-old, but it wasn't until she started making her own beats that things got swift.

And the music is definitely different. She draws inspiration from a variety of styles such as dancehall, soca Norwegian stev, southern state hip-hop and Japanese folk music, and has already stood out as a very self-taught artist.

She is also fascinated by the Norse myths about huldra, which is expressed in song titles such as "Huldra I" and "Huldra 2". And in "Trouble" she lures into pieces of the folk song "The man and the crow"

Nearly all the songs on the debut album "Mira Mira!" Are produced by the 23-year-old herself, and she is responsible for both music video and design on the album cover. She is very conscious of how she appears as an artist and feels that she simply had no choice:

- I feel that I have to be so aware of how I appear for people to understand what I am trying to do. When I started, I knew what I wanted to do, but I had not developed the sound yet, she says.

- And when I tried to explain to people what I wanted to do, no one understood what I was talking about. Because it is not possible to describe music, you have to hear it in a way. So it was only when I started producing myself that it became clearer what I was trying to do.

Positively surprised

Her music has been both slaughtered and praised, but perfectionist Mira Craig is not afraid of the negative criticism either. As long as it doesn't matter.

- Now I have worked hard, and put all my creative energy into this here, and am also very happy with how it has turned out, she says.

Craig has spent his own money on his career, and every time she has made some money she has used the proceeds to record songs or a music video.

- But I do not think it will be like that in between criticism. What's most important to me is that people are not indifferent – because as long as people are not indifferent, there is always someone who loves music, even though there may be someone who hates it.

Mira Craig herself thinks that the "special and weird" music, as she calls it, is a matter of habit.

- I was very surprised when it went well then, I felt that Norway might not be ready for my music. But I am positively surprised, she says and smiles.

Look look! was recorded in Trinidad, together with people she became acquainted with through a musical exchange program under the auspices of Oslo Municipality.

- The last time they were here and heard "Boogeyman" (Mira's breakthrough hit from this summer, editor's note), I heard that "Hey, you have to come to Trinidad, this is good shit – it's soca, it is the kind of music we make! ». Then I went there and made both a video and a remix of the song.

And since it was cheaper to work in Trinidad than in Norway, she decided just as well to go back and finish the entire album there.

Mira Craig herself is rather unsure of what she would like to call her music.

- Because I have in a way chosen to go beyond other things, or mix other things to create something new, I have tried to find a word to describe my style, my sound. But I have not come up with the perfect word yet, I feel that it is out there somewhere, the word that perfectly describes what I am trying to do, she says thoughtfully.

- But we'll see, maybe someone else will find a word for me, when they hear my album, she laughs.

No control free

However, Mira Craig does not like to be described as out of control.

- It's to take in a little, really. I also think it's a little unfair, because I feel I've been forced to do everything myself – people have not understood what I want to do, and not dare to bet on it.

Although she has gradually also become known for, among other things, minimal attire on stage, she does not fear that the focus will disappear from the music.

- No, because the music is so special, I do not think the focus disappears. And I do not feel that I am crossing the line, I am very careful not to cross the line I have for myself, in a way.

She also refused to set up so-called "eyecandy" in XXL, one of the world's largest hip-hop magazines. This is a fixed column that focuses on pictures of easily dressed girls.

- The "eyecandy" ads are often dedicated to girlfriends for rappers, video models and things like that. That's what they wanted to portray me as, as Fredro Starr's girlfriend in the American hip-hop group Onyx, and not as an independent artist. Then I was only 17 years old, it was a little early, and even then I realized that it is not my thing. And I was already working with music then, even though it was not fully developed. At least I'm not going to be known as the girlfriend of some rapper – I'm going to be known for doing my own thing.

Don't understand racism

Mira's father is a human rights lawyer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her Norwegian mother is a criminologist.

Mira Craig has been active in the African Youth and Anti-Racist Center since she was a teenager, and last year she performed at the Mela Festival on City Hall Square. She herself encounters some racism and xenophobia, but also friends and acquaintances have experienced much worse things than her.

- I feel that things take so long, we can not take away the attitudes. It is definitely better now than it was several years ago, but I think we have a long way to go, she says.

- I do not understand that mentality. When people say racist things, I usually say it right away, but ignore it for my own part. I do not take it seriously at all, because it is so idiotic – it does not make sense to me at all.

She believes the biggest problem for minority youth today is that they are not heard.

- And that they are not taken seriously. You have to get used to the fact that there are other forms of expression and other ways of showing who you are.

- Such as, for example, the Anti-Racist Center which holds writing courses, which I have followed ever since it began. There they will give young people with a minority background a voice, and there they emphasize that there are other forms of expression.

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