Late millennials and Generation Z are proof that having queer and diverse pop references to grow up with not only creates bright new stars to look up to, but also passes the torch to notable figures. Metteson is one of them. He quit his day job during the pandemic and bet on the winning horse when he decided to dedicate himself fully to music to become Norway's breakout queer pop star. For Metteson being on stage is as essential as connecting to the crowds; they are actually the ones fuelling the energy of his new single and inspiring the upcoming summer of love.
Confidence, freedom, beauty, and devotion are the core values of Metteson, Sverre Breivik's art project. Earlier this year, Metteson shared Come, Cry, a song bathed in pop escapism and with an anthem-like call to action: be a shoulder to cry on for those who need you in these difficult times. Described as a creator of "symphonies of devotion", Metteson forged a career at the prestigious National Theatre in Oslo before realising his true gift for songwriting, with a deep-rooted passion for performing art and music.

So, after touring Norway, he has been delighting fans across the UK with a powerful show that not only peaked at a memorable sold-out Brixton Academy show as the opening act for Aurora, but also inspired the song Never Let Me Go, which is released today. "I was so elated by the reaction I got from performing this song that I just had to release it. There's a total release and strength in the form, like the ultimate evolution of a Pokémon.”
Metteson forged a career at the prestigious National Theatre in Oslo before realising his true gift for songwriting, with a deep-rooted passion for performing art and music. And that translates very well into his musical output: the series of singles Come, Cry, Under Your Shirt and Second Heart (filmed in a seductive location: Det Gamle Biblioteke (The Old Library), it’s remarkable. But we could see that coming since his debut EP, Convince Me, was released including exquisite songs such as the brilliant Hold Me Like You Hold Your Favourite Book. Metteson takes a 360-degree approach to his craft, bringing in diverse elements of composition, dance and theatre. His work is like a disco in a theatre, a song that is a play, and a melody that is his voice. His songs are "camp and fun and elegant" (his own words) and resemble the heights of musicians like Rufus Wainwright, Years and Years or Owen Pallet. Their sonic imagery is notable for its appealing pop world of escapism that lives beyond the boundaries of reality; Metteson's new reality.

“Music supplies the perfect alibi: you can sing the truth about yourself as many times as you like, but it’ll stay in the realm of the imaginary […] The voice makes reality, even if that reality evaporates, like a dream the second the tape stops rolling”. These words come from Whining is Gender Neutral, the chapter about punk’s adolescent escapism in Sasha Geffen’s queer pop bible Glitter Up The Dark (University of Texas Press, 2020).

There is hope for the new generation. Queer intersectionality seems to be an unfinished business of true visibility and respect. So, inevitably, characters like Metteson are the linchpins of the new future; the ones who bring true inclusivity with all its nuances. A strong advocate and member of the LGBTQ+ music community, for Metteson, inspiring the next generation of artists of all backgrounds, genders and sexualities is a clear goal. And this is why it matters, because the realm of his imaginary is the one so many of us identify with, the one that we need to cling on to positive and vibrant queer narratives.

We had time to chat with him exclusively about his new song, his debut album, why his new song Never Let Me Go takes centre stage, and surprising things like how he's fascinated by the great Frou Frou, combining pop with theatre, and his own underwear. We're ready to jump into the summer of love with him.
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Hi Metteson, how are you doing?
Honestly, I’ve never been better. I’m looking forward to this summer like no summer before, I’m hanging out in London for a week, and I’ve just discovered a really good album by Frou Frou from back in 2002… Check it out!
Congratulations on your new single, Never Let Me Go. It’s really big; the vocals, that chorus, the progression, everything! It feels the most optimistic and contagious single yet. What is the inspiration behind it?
Never Let Me Go has been in the works for quite a while. I first started writing on it a couple of years back - I wanted to make a very dramatic, pleading, almost desperate sounding pop song. After playing it live for a while though, it turned into something else - the song has a more optimistic and hopeful outlook on love, and I like that! It’s changed with my views on love, you could say.
“I was crying all alone. Both those songs have stuck with me. They’re emotional triggers and I wallow in them. I just love when music really pushes experiences to another level.” I read this statement on your Artist's Way profile and it got me thinking about the release of Come, Cry. It was a beautiful way to start this year with a song about community and coming together when we have to deal with difficult times, like the pandemic. What was the process of developing the song like, and how has the pandemic affected your musical plans?
The pandemic really changed my outlook on life - routines, art, relationships - everything shifted slightly. I don’t think the pandemic just affected my musical plans - it catapulted my whole journey. I wouldn’t have had the guts to quit my day job and dive into music and Metteson if it hadn’t been for those years- experiencing how fragile our day-to-day life is… I felt like it was time to make the most out of my art, really.
And yes, Come, Cry was my little contribution, hoping to comfort my friends, listeners and perhaps myself. I usually like to make music in a more conceptual way, slightly distanced from my life, feelings, and surroundings - but at that time, that felt impossible.
It's very well written in your press release that your music is for the dancefloor, if the dancefloor focuses on Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette juxtaposed with Berghain. But I also think it sounds fresh and clean. It's quite a combination. I love it, how have you developed your live show, is that something you have in mind when creating your music?
Performing is everything for me. Releasing music, social media, the whole works is really just a tool to be able to connect with an audience in a live setting. That’s what motivates me. I love to hear that people connect to the music wherever they are, but if we’re all in the same room at a show then it’s something we can share and we can feed off each other’s experience and create community in a way - I just live for that feeling.
You’ve worked with acclaimed producers such as Matias Tellez and Vetle Junker. You’ve been recently touring and opening for Aurora and Sigrid. How did you enjoy these experiences? And what artists from both the past and the present have influenced your work?
It’s such a joy to discover that people you look up to in the music industry are generous and  caring. Aurora and Sigrid have been exceptional in that sense - and also so freaking good at their job carrying massive productions on their shoulders. It’s been so inspiring getting to share a stage with them, and their audience is the best, truly. I don’t listen to them actively that much at the moment, but Freddy Mercury and Abba will always be a backdrop to things I do, because of my childhood and upbringing. When it comes to Metteson though, I think Frank Ocean, Robyn and Christine and the Queens have been most formative for me.
Second Heart is actually a very theatrical single not only because of its piano production but also because the vocal performance lead us to imagine you singing it loud in a play, as if it were the Heartstoppers soundtrack or something like that. What are the roles or plays that have influence your singing style, and also your performance? How important is theatre to your musical outcome?
The theatre stage has been a home for me for so, so many years. I’ll always carry the theatricality with me, I guess. It’s a comfort. The floor on a stage is the same whether it’s a play or a concert, and It gives me comfort to know that I’ve commanded that floor from a very young age. I’ve also done musicals and thought for some years that that would be my way in life (laughs(. Luckily, I’ve found another path, but yes, Second Heart is my musical torch song - like an end of a first act before the curtain closes for intermission. It’s fun to play with people’s expectations and the tropes of theatre and pop.
You studied theatre at the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo. Later, you were cast as the leading role in the Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at The National Stage, in Bergen. It deals with the situation surrounding the hard situation homosexual people had to face back there in the 80’s regarding the Aids crisis. How were the rehearsals and the process of getting into character?
Angels in America was the last production I did before I decided to jump into music full time. I’m really glad I did. It was a much needed history lesson for me that I’d sort of been dreading to be honest and I also got to revisit some of my own shit from when I was dealing with my own sexuality and anxieties, that I thought I’d worked through completely. I love how borrowing someone else’s fate or experiences can change your own through art and performance.
You have quite the taste when it comes to incredible outfits. You can really pull off dresses in a unique way. Where do you find them? Have you ever faced uncomfortable situations just because of what you were wearing?
I’ve been wearing dresses since kindergarten. I’ve always questioned why women’s clothes so often have much more elaborate details, flow, and nicer, more exciting fabrics I guess. I just feel comfortable with clothing taking up space and having a say - I prefer it really. It’s also nice to showcase designer’s work. I’ve worked a lot with Friedrich Floen, who made the infamous starfish hat. He’s a brilliant costume designer who most often work for opera and theatre. We met when I was studying drama. It’s my favourite accessory for sure. I’m not a big star, but I can wear one.
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As for your merchandise, I think I'm about to order a pair of "harder" briefs, they're great! What influence do you have when it comes to promoting your work?
I love the Harder briefs. I’ve wanted to have slightly cheeky but classic merchandise from the get-go. There are a lot of clothes being thrown around and I’m trying to be a conscious not to make stuff just to make it. It’s got to have some sort of timelessness to it to deserve the right to exist. White briefs are something we can all use and need, and why not throw on a little, proud tramp stamp? It’s camp and fun and stylish - just like Metteson.
It's Pride month. There seems to be more and more visibility everywhere and the conversation around queer people is becoming more and more specific, which is good. But it also seems like it's not enough, especially in certain parts of the world things are getting harder. How are things in Norway for LGTBQ people?
In general, I’d say we got it good, but then again, I’m constantly seeing issues coming up, especially around trans rights. Pride is one of my favourite things, getting friends together, having drinks, dancing, and welcoming summer - it’s fun, but at the same time my experience is that Pride organisers in Norway do a good job with mixing current political discussions and issues in with all festivities - which is great. It’s easy for someone like me to say that things are good - I think the BLM-movement and the past years of the pandemic have opened many eyes to social structures and challenges in Norwegian society. I at least have discovered that I’ve been resting on my laurels, and I’m constantly trying to learn and understand where my voice is needed - and where my ears are needed!
Often "Symphonies of Devotion" is used to refer to your music. It would certainly fit as a great album title. How is the composition of the album going and what can we expect from it?
I’m currently writing like crazy. I’m so inspired. Even though Devotion is a great word to describe my style and music, I’m trying to not be too coloured by my previous releases now that I’m writing for my first album. I’ve sort of wanted to start from scratch. The sounds and words that come to me now feel fresher, more immediate and mature in a way, and I’m beyond excited to share it. But don’t worry, Metteson will always be grand, daring and a treat for anyone who likes a good chorus. If anything, I’m even more devoted now than when I wrote songs like Devotion.
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