As the Olympics come to a close, nationalistic pride is once again surging throughout individual countries across the world. Americans like myself can’t help but feel that same residual honor carried with some of our nation’s most prolific athletes and the weight of the flag they bore. When reviewing the overall medal count for the competition however, one can’t help but wonder – America, along with 92 other countries, lost to…Norway? You mean that Norse tundra with a population the less than 1/60th the size of the United States? How could that be possible?

Well, turns out the Norwegians can do some extraordinary things. They had the 10th most athlete’s qualify for this year’s Olympic Games with 109 total, they get 98-99% of their electricity from hydroelectric power (via The Economist), and they even introduced sushi to the Japanese (via! Unfortunately for you history buffs, I’m not here to mince Norway’s sociological life story. What I can provide however, is some insight into Norway’s modern culture – more specifically in terms of their emerging alternative music scene.

In a country traditionally defined by progressive metal, a few sprouting alternative artists are now starting to bud from Norway’s tough ground. Along with the likes of Kygo, Highasakite, and Dagny, AURORA is arguably Norway’s most prolific rising star. Her 2016 cover of Oasis’s 1994 song “Half The World Away” was her ticket to worldwide recognition, as the international community reveled in her ability to break down deeply emotional barriers and bring the hardest of hearts to tears. Her profound lyrical deliverance was first noticed in a John Lewis Christmas advertisement that aired in Britain in 2015. At the time, the virtually nameless Norwegian girl tore so heavily on British heartstrings that her soundtrack became an overnight internet sensation. Purists scoffed that the recreation of Oasis’s alternative ballad, but their pessimistic criticism was met with overwhelming support for the sensitivity and marketed empathetic affect that AURORA conveyed. Her rendition of “Half The World Away” still hold water years later, not only in terms of it’s affiliation with long-term relationships, but in our connectivity in times like the Olympics to countries literally or figuratively miles away from our bubble of a society.