Silje Nergaard (born June 19, 1966 in Steinkjer, Norway) is a Norwegian pop and jazz vocalist based in Oslo. While her music early in her career (e.g. Si det, si det from 1985) may have had a distinct pop feel, she has since moved on, and virtually all of her later releases consist of jazz-oriented tunes.
Nergaard's musical journey began early. At age 16, she stepped on stage joining a jam session at Moldejazz, Norway’s international jazz festival, with a band comprised of musicians from the band of the late jazz bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius. The country's jazz journalists applauded the young talent. Since that day, she has steadily developed as a composer and become popular for her unique voice and talent for songwriting.
Since her 1990 inaugural jazz album, Tell Me Where You're Going, produced by jazz guitar maestro Pat Metheny, Nergaard has become one among very few Norwegian artists to have had commercial releases in major music markets around the globe - including Brazil, Germany, the U.S., and the United Kingdom - and doing so with great success.
Her later albums, Port of Call (2000), At First Light (2001), and Nightwatch (2003), have all proved resounding commercial successes and received rapturous critical praise. With Nightwatch she also made history: no other jazz artist before her had shot straight into the Norwegian sales charts twice to reach #1 within the first week of release. In 2004 she received a Norwegian music award for Musician of the Year.
With the 2007 release of her critically-acclaimed Darkness Out of Blue, Nergaard finally realized her dream of working with Grammy Award winner and renowned arranger Vince Mendoza, (Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock), who contributed string arrangements to two songs in the album, Paper Boats and Let Me Be Troubled, with his beautiful sound and touch.
A year or two earlier, Nergaard had already decided to make a change in her music, which meant having to change some of her musicians, who had been touring with her for the past several years. As much as the style and 'voice' they had developed together were important to her, she came to realize that "you come to a point where you know you need to have a new challenge."
On October 4, 2007, it was officially announced in the Netherlands that Darkness Out of Blue had garnered Nergaard the Edison Award, the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy. The prize was presented to her by the Norwegian ambassador to the Netherlands at the Edison Music Awards Gala on November 6 in Eindhoven, during which Nergaard also performed the two songs from the album that Mendoza had arranged, backed by The Metropole Orchestra.
The new and promising musical collaboration between them in Darkness led inevitably to Mendoza's involvement once again in Nergaard's latest studio project, A Thousand True Stories, which was released in Norway on February 9, 2009, and will be available internationally in the autumn. The songs from the album were written the previous year and recorded in August 2008 with The Metropole Orchestra from the Netherlands, and arranged by its conductor Mendoza.
Here's a press kit video of A Thousand True Stories, with all interviews in English.