Sissel Kyrkjebo was born in 1969 in Bergen, gateway to the fjords on the Norwegian west coast. The Norwegian countryside is my inspiration .¨ Sissel has performed in front of royalties and heads of state, shared the stage with superstars of several different musical genre ‐ classical, punks, folk, pop and rap.
Sissel's rich and varied career has spanned over 30 years. She has performed in front of royalties and heads of state, shared the stage with superstars of several different musical genre ‐ classical, punk, pop and rap. Highlights include singing the Olympic hymn at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, representing Norway at the Nobel Peace Prize Gala Concert, and performing at the first Christmas concert in Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union, invited by the great tenors Placido Domingo and José Carreras. However, this was not the first time they performed together.
Sissel and Domingo first met during the Olympic Games at Lillehammer where they recorded the Olympic Theme song together. As a result of that collaboration, Sissel was invited to Domingo's “Christmas in Vienna” together with Charles Aznavour.
Later in 2002, they recorded 'Ave Maria' from Intermezzo by Mascagni (and « Bist du bei mir » by J.S.Bach). A year later she recorded another Ave Maria, this time by Schubert, with Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.
Sissel has shared the stage with superstars including Celine Dion, Sting, Moby, Angelic Kidjo, Willie Nelson - she’s toured and sung at Carnegie Hall with The Chieftains and appeared twice on David Letterman’s talk show in New York, and performed on Good Morning America both alone and with Placido Domingo.
Other collaborators have included pop legend Neil Sedaka, jazz star Diana Krall, Jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater and crossover favourite Josh Groban, as well as duets with Danish punk band Sort Sol (Black Sun), Oslo Gopsel Choir and rapper Warren G ‐ the latter producing a hit single across Europe.
Sissel’s music has touched millions. With a recording repertoire ranging from Schubert and Chopin to Lloyd-Webber and Morricone, Händel and Bach to ABBA and Lord Lord of rockers Deep Purple), Sissel was a crossover artist long before marketing men invented the term.
Sissel Kyrkjebo was born in 1969 in Bergen, gateway to the fjords on Norway’s west coast. “The Norwegian countryside is my inspiration. I am very proud of Norway and its fantastic nature. Only 9 years old Sissel joined a children’s choir under a New Zealand-born conductor, Felicity Laurence, and stayed with the choir for seven years. “That was where I got my musical education. We sang everything ‐ classical and jazz, folk and even Maori songs. People said we sounded like an angel choir because we had this very clean pure sound, almost like an English boys’ choir.”
At 14, a year after her television debut in a youth program, she joined in another choir on a ‘sing along’ program, and went on to become a popular TV performer. Sissel’s breakthrough came at the age of 16 when she was invited to sing during the intermission of the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest staged in her hometown of Bergen. Her first album was released the same year and made her a national star overnight. She is now a national institution in Norway and has sung all over the world, selling over six million solo albums since her recording debut.
In 1997, Sissel was asked by composer James Horner to contribute the haunting, ethereal vocal tracks for his soundtrack to ‘Titanic’. About that meeting she said, “I remember the first time I heard the simple lines when James played them for me on the piano. I got goose bumps. I loved it and felt that this music spoke directly to my heart”. That album went on to become the largest selling movie soundtrack in history.
Other movies that feature the voice of Sissel include the soundtracks of “The Adventures of Pinocchio” (1996), including a duet with Brian May, the Irish drama “Evelyn” (2002), and “Vanity Fair” (2004). She has sung all over the world in Howard Shore’s “Lord of the Rings” Symphony concert tour. Mr. Shore wrote a special piece for her at the very last recording session of the extended version of the trilogy (2005).
When Norway celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence in 2005, Sissel was invited to represent Norway on the longest running program in history “Music and the Spoken Word” recorded with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at the Temple Square. The latter invited her in 2006 as special guest to their annual Christmas show “The Spirit of the Season”. The recorded result was the concert CD, Spirit of the Season which raced up the Billboard Classical Charts to #1 within 5 weeks of its release. The concert was aired nationwide on PBS right before Christmas 2007 and released as a DVD.
Sissel's album “Northern Lights” (released Nov 6th 2007), is a live concert recording from Bergstaden Ziir, a church from the 17th century in Røros, Norway. This spectacular concert is inspired by the Norwegian winter and the ‘Blue Hour’ (an enchanting winter twilight) and the mystical ‘Northern Lights’ - Aurora Borealis. As special guest star, the tenor José Carreras, makes this concert an even more tremendous evening. This concert was a collaboration with the PBS and aired at different PBS stations throughout USA.
In 2008 Sissel went into a collaboration with the popular Norwegian Folksinger and composer Odd Nordstoga. Their meeting turned into the Christmas album « Strålande Jul » which became a huge success in Norway.
The year after (2009) the album « …til deg…. » (« ….to you…. ») with Norwegian, Swedish and English lyrics was released. The music universe was more into the easy listening with a touch of country - Nashville meets Scandinavia.
After « …til deg … » tour in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, Sissel had a 3 years break with focus on her family, however, she did perform a few live concerts and making some recordings in between. In 2013 she appeared as a special guest on Bryn Terfels album recorded with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at the Temple Square entitled « The patriot ».
In 2014 a concert recording of ”Christmas in Moscow” with Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Sissel was released. This had earlier only been broadcast as a television program back in 2002.
Over the last few years, Sissel has toured with her Christmas concerts in Norway and Sweden. This year (2016), ”Sissels Jul” will tour Denmark, Norway and Iceland from November 22nd until December 17th.
Sissel has always been fond of mixing and melting together different music styles and cultures like Scandinavian Christmas Charols and English/ American seasonal song and soul.
In October 2016 Sissel will tour with ”Songs of Love” in concert halls throughout Sweden - a more intimate concept than the Christmas concerts with songs that tells of love and all it’s facets. Something borrowed , something new, something old and something new.