AURORA and Moyka: Underrated Norwegian Pop Artists
BY ANNA LI '26
Ever been sick of listening to the same recycled rhythm and lyrics? This article is for the daydreamers with fiery passion coursing through their veins, the introverted and wistful, and the free souls who dance alone in their room. These artists’ music start out gentle and somewhat elusive, but don’t click away—they will enthrall you into a whole new world that you never dreamed could exist in this generation.
While AURORA and Moyka are lesser known than industry dominators such as Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, they are both standalone queens that have introduced new outlooks on alternative pop, indie pop, and art pop. If you appreciate unadulterated vocal prowess paired with poignant melodies, or poetic takes on personal issues, AURORA and Moyka are the perfect choices for you.
Aurora Aksnes (born 1996) has been a vocal and artistic powerhouse since the start of her career, becoming one of the most prominent and original Norwegian musicians of her time. Many might recognize her from the viral TikTok trend made with her song “Runaway,” but there is much more to her than just one song.
Aurora has been compared to other singers like Lorde, Bjork, Grimes, and Sia, but her creative vision and unique style distinguish her from other artists. Her soprano vocal range alone is impressively versatile; she is capable of transitioning from deeper, resonating tones to high, ethereal falsettos—a mode of breathier singing that is done typically higher than a singer’s normal range.
Aurora is equally famous for her lyrical composition. She has a deep mastery of writing songs that makes people feel something: whether it be the feeling of being alive, being empowered, or just an honest-to-goodness vibe. Aurora bridges the gap between musicality and themes, producing songs with instrumentals and lyrical content that fit together like puzzle pieces—a difficult task for most artists. An excellent demonstration of her cumulative style is her song “All Is Soft Inside,” an alternative electropop number. A ghostly yet bouncy exotic-sounding beat is paired with a soft, crying chorus, complementing lines such as “All that I know / lies within emotion / words remain unspoken / lead me through the dark” and “I carry more than you see / my dreams are bigger than me.” The song peaks at the bridge’s hauntingly high vocal run—the highest note reaching A5, which has extremely high hertz and is rarely seen vocally in music. Aurora commented that “All Is Soft Inside” was written “for the emotional people,” which she expresses prominently in this song. Her music produces an indescribable, beautiful feel—like when someone translates your thoughts into words you could have never imagined thinking. As understanding emotions is a timeless struggle, it’s comforting to listen to music that embodies the things you want to say.
Music often offers a personal connection for many. Personally, my preference only contains two variables: untouched quality vocals and unique lyrics that convey a significant message. While many mainstream artists and groups produce famous hits, they are known for using auto tune and pitch correction to enhance their style. Thus, it is quite refreshing to be able to listen to other artists who do not incorporate artificial elements into their voice, choosing to have them in their background instrumental instead— which leads us to Moyka.
Moyka, or Monika Engeseth (born 1997), is a self-described “Norwegian pop witch.” Inspired by underground-club music and Norwegian bands such as Royksopp, Moyka’s artistry is composed of alternative electronic landscapes, dancey synth pop beats, and deep lyrics. I would describe Moyka’s music as “empowering beats to vibe and/or dance along to while having maybe a not-so-good day”.
Moyka can switch her voice interchangeably between liltingly musical and richly powerful. With sweet yet edgy vocals, complex electropop, and accusatory lyrics, Moyka’s songs evoke “dancing in the middle of a field while having a good cry.” Her songs mainly convey the mixed reactions that arise after experiencing a breakup. Moyka writes candidly about these struggles, although these incorporations are subtle when intertwined with the upbeat tempo. Her songs tell universal stories passed on for generations, but through a sparkling, heavy-handed perspective that sends you reeling. For example, in “All The Things We Forgot,” she sings, “All I ever do is dream / nothing is what it may seem / Feels like I am found and lost / Like all the things that we forgot.” While the song’s instrumentation is dark and metallic, its lyrics are more wistful. As humans, we strive to achieve an inner satisfaction, and hating constant change is rooted within us; Moyka captures this in the perpetual dreaming and longing for the past through her music. Piercing melodies bring these touching lyrics to life, allowing her music to be ingrained into your head.
The beauty and empathy of AURORA and Moyka’s music truly set them apart from the rest of the music industry. Eliciting emotions that showcase deep maturity, their musical choices can really make a difference in one’s day-to-day life. They certainly have changed mine.