INTERVIEW: Danish Singer MADS LANGER Illuminates On New Single, “Lightning.” Talks Organizing & Playing The World’s First Ever Drive In Concert, Becoming A Dad & MORE.
Growing up in the countryside near the small town of Skive, singer, songwriter and musician Mads Langer grew up always knowing he’d be in music. From singing songs at the age of 18 months in his own language to his latest release, “Lightning,” the new dad has been pursuing the dream for a long time now. Through honest, original and disruptive music the Danish singer has been able to be reborn time and time again through his music and continues that creativity as he looks to the release of his upcoming EP, Where Oceans Meet. The boundary pushing message of love is love in “Lightning” serves as a taste of the upcoming EP and contributes to the already 38 million streams and 506k monthly listeners he’s amassed across his career. He takes a break from his world domination to answer some questions with All Access. Check out the full interview below to learn more about the latest release, “Lightning,” how becoming a dad has changed his perspective on life, how he rebounded from getting dropped by his girlfriend and label around the same time and much more.
ALL ACCESS: Looking at the beginning of your career – what was it about music that inspired you to pursue a career in it?
MADS LANGER: Expressing myself through music has been a fundamental part of my language for as long as I remember. My parents have recordings of me singing my own songs in my own language when I was 18 months old. I always knew that music was going to be my path in life. It wasn’t a decision that I made at a certain time. It was more a realization that I was not gonna be able to pursue any other career even though I’ve always had plenty of other interests. I could have been in politics, in sports, in science and many other things. I could have been a teacher as my parents, my grandparents and my great grandparents were. And then again, none of these career paths were ever up for grabs. Music was and always will be my thing.
AA: You got signed and had an album that you ended up describing as “flopped” and had to start over and spent time busking all over Europe. How did you come to the decision to busk in the wake of “starting over?” What did you do to keep your internal mental conversation strong through the hardships that I assume came with traveling around?
ML: I got signed when I had just turned 18. I went straight from living in my parents house, in the countryside of Denmark, to living a life full of pressure and expectations in New York City. That was quite a shocking change of scenery to be honest. Looking back, I was definitely too young at that time. When a major label first wants you it’s the end of the innocence. I had to grow up overnight and try to keep up with that big machine that started dictating how I was gonna live my life. When my first record didn’t succeed commercially and I got dropped I think I saw it as an opportunity to do some of the stuff that most of my friends had done after finishing high school. But most of all that whole 6 months of busking in my old van all over Europe was an escape from heartbreak. My first girlfriend had dropped me around the same time that my label dropped me. She fell in love with a really cool guy in Paris who was older than me and he could grow a very impressive beard, hahaha…
As far as keeping my internal mental conversation strong, that’s has never been problem at all and as you can imagine I had plenty of stuff to think about, write about and then finally sing about in the streets of all of these beautiful cities that I got to visit on that trip.
AA: “Lightning” is the latest release and gives fans the first taste of your upcoming album Where Oceans Meet which is due out October 1st. How did you decide to release this one as the lead single? What was the inspiration behind it?
ML: In many ways, I think “Lightning” is a song that represents that certain place where the oceans meet on my album. “Lightning” is a song about recognition. When I wrote this song, I thought about all those moments in my life where I really felt recognized on a deeper level. When I met my wife. When I looked my newborn daughter in the eyes for the first time. In concerts when my music meets the audience and it feels like we’re all getting struck by the same lightning. Those kinds of moments.
AA: Speaking of the upcoming album – what’s the meaning behind the album title? How many songs? Any collabs? Is there a song on the album you’re nervous about releasing out to the world?
ML: Where Oceans Meet is a metaphor. The entire album circles around the different contrasts that we all face in our lives. The light, the dark. The head, the heart. Hopes and fears. It’s about loving and longing at the same time. Where Oceans Meet represents the idea of the place where all these contrasts meet and embrace each other.
AA: “Lightning” follows up “Hanging With You” which peaked at #1 in Denmark radio. What’s the story behind when you first heard one of your songs on the radio? Does it ever get old?
ML: It never gets old. Every time I listen to the radio, I must admit that I hope that they will play my song. It’s the best feeling ever. This might be a little far-fetched, but it’s kind of like when you give someone you really care for a present for their birthday. And it’s not just any kind of present. It’s a present that you put all your time, thoughts and heart into. And then one day you randomly turn on the TV. Look who’s there. Is that special person that you gave the present to. She’s actually wearing that sweater that you spent five years learning how to knit. After endless attempts, you finally managed to knit a sweater that you would give her without being scared that she would think it was a joke. She’s not wearing it because she feels like she has to, because you’re on a date with her. She’s wearing it because she likes it. And she just put it on that day that she randomly got stopped by the tv-station and interviewed in the streets of your hometown. That is close to the feeling I get when I hear my songs on the radio. And no, I have no clue how to knit a sweater, but I like the image.
The past year in the pandemic had a lot of its own challenges but it also had some beautiful moments like the drive-in concert you organized in Denmark last May. Why did you feel it necessary to put something like this together during that time? Being the first one to do so, how did you figure out logistics, etc. for the entire event? Anything you would’ve changed about it looking back?
ML: I had just started touring when the pandemic hit us all. I had spent months preparing the show and I was extremely disappointed when I had to turn around the tour bus and go back home after only playing 10 out of 100 shows. I had a couple of weeks where I was feeling really depressed. But then I decided to see if I could turn this whole thing into some sort of an adventure. I made a list of stuff I wanted to do. On that list I had drive-in concerts for some reason. I know a couple guys who are really good at putting together big events that include live music, so we talked about how we could make this happen. All credit to them for putting logistics together. I just played the shows. I had no idea that I would be the first one in the world to do a drive in concert. But it was really fun and I would not change a thing. In my shows, everyone was on the same video conference call. I loved that because I could talk to the people in the cars in between the songs. The people in their cars requested what songs of mine that they wanted to hear. And often they had really personal stories to the songs that I never heard before. So that was something that I will never forget.
AA: The past year also brought about a new baby for you – congrats! What’s been the most surprising thing about having a baby that you might not have known before?
ML: Thank you so much. Yeah, that’s truly a life changing event. My little daughter is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m so grateful that I got to receive a little soul with my wife. Even though it has happened billions and billions of times already it still feels like a miracle. I think the biggest surprise is the fact that your whole perspective changes in the blink of an eye. She is now the single most important thing in my life. I thought that would be something that would happen gradually, but for me it really happened at the moment that she was born.
AA: What do you hope to accomplish with your music in the future that you may feel you have not done already? Have any of those goals or aspirations shifted with the new addition to the family?
ML: I really hope that people will recognize themselves in my songs. Obviously, the goal is that my songs will travel and become part of people’s lives in new territories. I have spent so much time in the US since I moved away from home. I lived in New York City and in Los Angeles and I spend at least three or four months a year in the US working with all the talented people that I have met over the years. Building an audience in the US is a huge dream of mine. Hopefully this album will help introducing me to people all over America.
AA: If you could only listen to (5) artists for the rest of your life, who would they be?
AA: What’s the rest of 2021 and beyond look like for Mads Langer?
ML: My album comes out in October. That is obviously a huge event in my life, and it looks like I’m going to be very busy talking about the album and singing the songs from it in many different places all over the world. Apart from that I will be changing diapers on my newborn daughter. Kissing my wife. Learning Chinese and writing my first score for a movie that comes out in 2022.
A HUGE shout-out to the talented Mads Langer for hanging. Keep up to date with everything he has going on by following the links below and be sure to be on the look out for his latest EP, Where Oceans Meet due out October 1st.