Kaizers Orchestra – vocalist about the hard work going from the street to the stage

Photo Credit: Ole Haug
Photo Credit: Ole Haug


Photo Credit: Kim Erlandsen
Photo Credit: Kim Erlandsen

He went from playing for coins on the street to preform on stage in front of almost 50,000 people at the Roskilde festival in Denmark. This is the vocalist in one of Norway’s biggest rock band’s advice to musicians who are now in their starting phase.

Ottesen took over his dad’s organ when he was about three years old and got his first acoustic guitar when he was 15. “I’ve played in different band constellations since I was about eight.”

As he was growing up, he only wanted to become a football player. “I did not end up as a pro at 19 years old, so I travelled and did studies.”
At 23 he started putting a band together and at 26 they released their debut album. “I believed in the possibility to make it as an artist from around 25. The year before the debut”, the artist says.

Hard work
“I spent my last money on the pump organ and had no choice. I had to make some money to survive and the easiest was to play on the street.”

He thinks that the best thing about going from playing on the street and to become such a huge success is knowing for real how much work it took to go from the start to goal. “You never forget that this is hard work, not a job where you sit around waiting for something fantastic to happen to me”, he says.

Photo Credit: Håkon Thingstad
Photo Credit: Håkon Thingstad
Photo Credit: Katrine Opdahl
Photo Credit: Katrine Opdahl

Accomplished a lot
Kaizers Orchestra has released eight studio albums and won several Norwegian music awards. In 2001 the band released their debut album “Ompa til du dør” to great feedback, and in 2011 they played at Roskilde festival in Denmark in front of around 45,000 people in the audience. This is just some of what the band managed to achieve. Also in 2011 a musical called “Sonny”, based on the lyrics of their first three albums premiered.

He did not expect to reach as far as they actually did. “Things went far better than I thought was possible at the time.”

The Journey – some FAQs

What is your advice for people who are now in their starting phase and are dreaming about living of music?
“My first is always to wait another year or two before you do anything about your debut. It`s because you will definitively develop more and be better prepared in a year or two even if you feel very ready now. It`s a general fact.”

Did you get your parents full support concerning your untraditional plans, or did they advice you to choose differently?
“No support actually. And they suggested other plans for me.”

If you could go back in time, is there something you would have done differently?
“Not much. My career has been very good so I wouldn`t change much of it. If you change one bit, than the rest might not happen.”

On a scale from one to ten, how much does music mean to you on a daily basis?

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Indefinite Break
In 2012 Kaizers Orchestra fans got the sad news that the band was going to take a indefinite break after their 2013 tour with the album «Violeta Violeta III».

Although his band is on a break, Ottesen composes music himself. ”I compose a lot all the time. For theatres, movies and other artists. But my three main projects are a full symphony for a silent theatre piece, a musical based on the Violeta trilogy and my own new music. This keeps me pretty busy”, he says.



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