Though born and raised in Norway, Daniel Borge has long been living the American dream.
Borge's early days mirrored that of a southern upbringing. As the son of a preacher man, Borge was raised in the Christian church, a formative place where he learned to sing and play guitar at the mere age of five, performing classic hymns that reminded him of old-school country songs by legends like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, who are synonymous with country music across the pond. "That's how the Norwegians think about country," Borge remarks of the icons, along with modern legends George Strait and Alan Jackson. As a self-described "miracle kid" who was playing an instrument larger than he was at the time, Borge admits that the journey to pursuing music professionally was a slow burn. As a teen, he drifted away from the craft, but found his way back to music when he married his wife at the age of 20 and purchased a studio that was like a sanctuary where he'd write songs and play music. "I've always been singing, but I never had the courage do it full time," he confesses. "I didn't have self-esteem. I didn't believe in myself enough to actually do something with the music."
It wasn't until fate interceded in 2018 that Borge would realize his destiny. While in Nashville on vacation with family and friends, Borge and crew were hoping to catch fellow rising star Kinsey Rose's set at Legends Corner on the famed Broadway when their flight to New York intercepted their plans. But as luck would have it, their flight was delayed due to bad weather in New York City, leading them back to Legends Corner where Rose surprised Borge with an invitation to join her on stage for a performance, one that not only won over the songwriter Tony Olson and veteran producer Dave Demay, who approached Borge after the set with a life-changing offer to collaborate.
But before some of Nashville's finest were gracing the Norway native with their material, Borge had been using songwriting as a form of expression throughout his life. As a songwriter, Borge aims for depth, using his lyrics to create an immersive image in the listener's mind. "I like the deep lyrics," he professes, citing a review that described his songs as "cinematic." "I'm trying to paint a picture of what I'm trying to tell you, because I think things that you see is easier to remember than things you hear. So if you can see it in your mind, I think I did something right."
This ability to capture his surroundings also shines through in his single "There I Was." Written by Dave Thomson (Lady A) and produced by Brad Hill (Maren Morris, Brett)
Young, Brothers Osborne), the song captures what Nashville looks like in Borge's eyes with such lyrics as "in that minute/We were standing all alone in the middle of the room/It hit me out of nowhere/There I was/Falling in love," the slick production and contemporary style songwriting introducing his hometown audience to present day Music City, smashing through the perception of the old western town they believe it to be. "I was really looking for a song that really took in the new elements of the modern country music and also a little bit of the old," he says, describing the tune as "not the idea of Nashville, but how it actually is," pointing to the song's opening line "a little bit of blue neon was bouncing off the side of that Bud Light bottle" as a prime example. "I feel like if I wanted to show anybody what country music is today in the U.S., that's the song I would show them."
"There I Was" is one of the many bridges Borge is building between America and his native land, hoping to break down the sonic barriers that separate traditional country from the current style with his elite Nashville-based production accenting his hometown roots. It's a tall order, but one he is certainly capable of filling with his honeyed voice that naturally fits in to today's country scene. "I want my music to sound like Nashville," he remarks."That's why I think I have a thing that can bring the new country music, the modern country music, into Europe."
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Borge has been writing virtually with songwriters in Nashville with hopes of creating an album that features a handful of new songs alongside the already released material, produced by Hill and Davis Branch with an anticipated release in 2021. He's also released a new Christmas song, "Labor of Love," penned by Andrew Peterson. As Borge continues to hone his craft, he does so with the altruistic goal of being one of the people. As a self-described "outgoing" helper and one who leads with kindness, Borge hopes these qualities translate into who he is as an artist, the kind who can share a beer with fans after performing at a bar on Broadway – much like the camaraderie he experienced during his fateful first trip to Nashville that set his flourishing career in motion. "I would love to be that kind of artist that connects with the fans. I want to be honest in my lyrics and how I live my life and how people see me. I want to reflect as an artist that people can look at me and feel like they know me," he vows. "I would like to connect with the people as far as that's possible."