Lukas Graham Forchhammer carries a backstory that’s practically generated for a music biopic. Raised in Copenhagen’s self-governing hippie commune Christiania, where marijuana is openly sold, the singer-songwriter studied classical music being a kid, smoked his first blunt at 12, and was switched on to American hip-hop. “I knew we had been different,” says Forchhammer, now 27. “[But] when I first heard rap, I understood a thief else was angry and afraid.”

You can hear that hip-hop impact on “7 Years,” the soul-pop single from his band, Lukas Graham. The track, that’s No. 2 in the time printing on Billboard’s Hot 100 and contains earned 277 million Spotify streams, was inspired by his unconventional and hard upbringing, marked because of the 2012 death of his dad. “I just started singing, ‘Once I was seven yrs . old…’ when I heard the melody,” says Forchhammer, who wrote it that has a crew of his friends. “Like, eight people appeared drinking wine and writing together all night.”

That communal vibe is over his group’s self-titled debut (out now). EW recently swept up with the charismatic frontman go over his unique childhood, touring the planet, and why success won’t change him.

7 Years” is really a massive success. How have you pick which memories to express? There’s one from seven years of age, 11, and future dreams from 30 and 60.
LUKAS GRAHAM FORCHHAMMER: Everyone was pitching in. People will be like, “What in case you did this whenever you turned that?” After three hours there were a 10-minute song [laughs]. But my dad died at 61. That’s why I sing, “Daddy got 61/ Remember life and your life gets to be a better one.” I just can’t see myself being old—it’s really f–king strange. The furthest I can see is me being 60.

Your father’s death is at a lot of other places for the album, like “You’re Not There” and “Funeral.”
Writing is extremely cathartic in my opinion. I talk about what happens inside my life—and my dad’s passing would be a huge blow in my opinion. He was my biggest fan and biggest motivational force. He never pushed me into doing music, he just supported my choices. He was the supportive, cool dad and it’s really not easy to be a half-orphan.

My mom may be the coolest mom, but she’s just like proud of my two sisters as jane is of me. And a a part of me understands why a mom is equally pleased with all her children, but that young boy inside me just wants my mom to state, aloud but even just in my opinion, “I’m somewhat prouder people.”

Rap was obviously a big influence for you personally early on, what attracted you to definitely the genre?
In the first ’90s, my cousin offered me a Snoop Dogg cassette tape as well as the rawness on the lyrics were something new in my experience. I spent my youth in a neighborhood that didn’t have police and was style of rough. When I first heard rap, I understood a thief else was angry and afraid.

There are communities around the earth that are never free, since they don’t own his or her bodies and there is usually a system holding them down. That’s how it happened in Christiania. As a 10-year-old I would need to stop and empty my school bag out on top of the street—[police] didn’t care I was only 10, they needed to patronize us if you are from that neighborhood. So you have this fear that will become anger that gets to be frustration and also you can’t really express it. Rap music was this sort of beautiful outlet.

What do you think may be the biggest lesson your upbringing afforded you?
The difference between kids inside our neighborhood and marginalized kids from external in the suburbs is always that I didn’t know we were raised poor until I was a grownup. Christiania features a lot of strong, nuclear families. It gave us a feeling of empowerment and belonging and richness. We had a lot love; there we were never unsure that there we were wanted on earth. What we realized, instead, is the fact there are certain individuals who don’t want us nowadays, and everything you end up doing is saying, “F–k those guys.”

It may come off as arrogance, but it’s given me the cabability to not offer a s–t. This feels weird to express, but I don’t provide a s–t in regards to you or my lovely publicist. I spent my childhood years with nothing and I understand that I don’t need everything to be happy. We were wearing second-hand clothing and eating leftovers and I am happy. Five-star hotels and pick-ups hasn’t changed that.

Something that isn’t for the new album is really a traditional pop-love song.
Haven’t you heard “What Happened to Perfect?” [Laughs] I don’t know why but I don’t fancy writing love songs; I didn’t. And you don’t need another album filled with them! Adele has three albums, there are several!

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