Anne Lilia Berge Strand, better known as Norwegian Singer / Songwriter / DJ / Label Owner and all round Pop Queen “Annie” has always been obsessed with Pop.
Not put off by her initial experience with her disastrous first school band “Suitcase”, Annie first came to the world’s attention with her 2000 anthem “Greatest Hit”. Breaking out of an underground scene of boyish Techno and dull Dance, it’s Madonna sampling fantasy-disco-vibes were then out of sync with the world but offered the perfect antidote.
Moving from the Norwegian Telle label, based in her hometown of Bergen, she signed to 679 Records to release her debut album – “Anniemal”. Featuring the singles “Chewing Gum” (UK Top 20) and “Heartbeat” (Pitchfork’s No.1 Single of the year) Annie set out her stall for what she describes as “Pop With Strange Edges”. Catchy, melodic, fun and euphoric but with that slightly off kilter feel, a dash of melancholy or a little sprinkle of WTF.
Then onto a bigger UK label, Island Records for the next phase. Work started on the “Don’t Stop” album alongside previous collaborator producer Richard X, Brian Higgins and the Xenomania production team (Girls Aloud/Sugababes) and Paul Epworth (Adele). Annie even called in Girls Aloud for backing vocal duties… now that’s stylish.
Singles “I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me” and “My Love Is Better” were classic Annie-pop, and her music appeared on everything from “CSI” to “The Sims” game to movie “Sex And The City 2” – but changes at the label left her in a difficult position and it took until 2009 for Annie to finally get back the album to release. A time of frustration but also a reminder that you could do things yourself
“TOO MANY CHEFS AND TOO MUCH MESS. I GOT BIT TIRED OF THE WHOLE
RECORD INDUSTRY FOR A TIME SO IT WAS ACTUALLY A RELIEF TO BE ON MY OWN AND FOCUS ON WHAT I LOVE TO DO AGAIN…MAKING MUSIC”
The “strange edges” appeared again, Annie released “Anthonio” – the ultimate pop single exploration of the doomed holiday romance, and co- wrote the UK Top 10 hit “I Left My Heart In Tokyo” by Mini Viva
Three years ago, leaving hometown Bergen to move to East Berlin, Annie started writing again. “Tube Stops And Broken Hearts” appeared on her own Totally Records imprint, a darker take on the Annie sound. Back with old friends Röyksøpp (who produced her “Heartbeat” single) she appeared on their track with Ralph Myerz “Take A Look At The World” whilst also finding time to sing with with the Finnish Motorhead- Space-Trance band “K-X-P”, and also write the music for the film “The Night Within”
In 2013 came the 1990’s influenced “A&R” EP, recorded with Richard X in London, appearing on his Pleasure Masters label. Featuring the Little Boots collaboration “Back Together”, the EP also again hit that darker note with the grinding “Invisible”, becoming Pitchfork’s “Best New Track” and receiving great critical acclaim from around the globe.
2014 saw Annie appear as a guest judge on Norwegian Pop Idol, and in complete contrast also the release of Putin-baiting “Russian Kiss”, a modern day protest song and video created with renowned artist Bjarne Melgaard highlighting the anti-gay attitudes souring the Russian Olympics that year.
“CREATING ́RUSSIAN KISS ́ WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST PROJECTS I ́VE BEEN INVOLVED IN, SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR ME. BJARNE MELGAARD AND I HAD TALKED ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER FOR A WHILE, ,HE ALWAYS PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES SO I WAS REALLY HAPPY THAT HE WANTED TO
BE INVOLVED IN RUSSIAN KISS. FOR ME THE IDEA OF THE RUSSIAN KISS PROJECT IS STILL SOMETHING I’m EXPLORING”
DJ’ing and mixing has always been a big part of Annie’s life. The last couple of years has seen Annie play all over the world – with her eclectic mix of pure chart pop, disco, dance and occasionally the deepest and heaviest techno. It’s her love of mixing, and the memory of making tapes for her holidays that have informed the new “Endless Vacation” EP. Four tracks of shimmering Eurodance conjuring up memories of the holiday parks of Romania, through to the beach bars of Rhodos and the chilled Easter breaks in the Norwegian mountains.
This year Annie’s music has infiltrated Zac Efron’s new movie “We Are Your Friends” and featured as the epic showstopper in the finale of Adam Wingard’s celebrated movie “The Guest”.
More Annie Music Due in 2016