Lene Nystrøm Biography
Lene Nystrøm is a Norwegian musician, singer, and songwriter who is the lead vocalist of the Danish eurodance group Aqua. Passionate about music since she was a teen, Lene joined the Aqua band as the lead vocalist, after she was spotted by a member of the group. The group’s most popular and controversial song ‘Barbie Girl’, which was released when bubblegum pop was on its peak, was in the top 10 on major charts around the world. Although the song made the group popular worldwide, it had received much censure as well, with Rolling Stone readers calling it “the most annoying song of the 1990s” in a 2011 poll. But 20 years down the lane, Nystrøm does not mind that people think their songs are tacky. The group’s debut album ‘Aquarium’ also made them popular instantly as they sold 14 million copies worldwide. However, Nystrøm attributes their being a global phenomenon in the late 1990s to timing. She feels it was just the right time with the likes of Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys having great success with their pop music as well.
- Lene Nystrøm was born on October 2, 1973 in Tønsberg, Norway, to mother Berit Nystrøm and father Tore Nystrøm, who was a supervisor for Elf in the North Sea. She has a sister Emilie. Passionate about music from an early age, she became interested in performing when she was a teen.
- Before starting a career in music, Lene Nystrøm did modeling for some time, and also worked as a bartender. She even worked as a television anchorwoman. From 1990-93, she was featured in the Norwegian game show ‘Casino’.
- In 1994, when she was working as a singer on the Norwegian cruise ship MS Peter Wessel, musician René Dif spotted her, and recruited her as the lead singer of the music group Joyspeed, which was later renamed as ‘Aqua’. Besides Nystrøm, the group consisted of vocalists Dif along with Søren Rasted and Claus Norreen.
- In 1994, a Swedish record label signed them, and their first single ‘Itzy Bitzy Spider’ was released in Sweden, which failed to become popular. The group was disappointed and quit the record label.
- The group then began to develop their famous bubblegum pop sound. Soon they attracted the attention of Universal Music Denmark, and accepted its recording contract in 1996. Their first release under the name ‘Aqua’ was ‘Roses Are Red’, a dance song with a unique pop sound. The song was released in Denmark in September 1996. Their follow-up single ‘My Oh My’ was released in February 1997.
- In March 1997, Aqua released its debut album ‘Aquarium’ in Denmark. The album consisted of 11 tracks, including their upcoming single ‘Barbie Girl’. By now Universal Music Group had decided that the group should not just focus on the Danish market, but instead on the general European market.
- Aqua’s third single ‘Barbie Girl’ was released in May 1997. The song caused some controversy: initially it was thought to be about the popular children's doll Barbie, but it turned out to be an adult song. Despite the controversy, or partly due to it, it sold well and was number one in many charts.
- Through MCA Records, Aqua released two singles: ‘Doctor Jones’ in Australia, Canada and the UK, and ‘Lollipop (Candyman)’ in the US. After the release of ‘Good Morning Sunshine’, the group released their second album ‘Aquarius' in February 2000. The album instantly became popular, despite some changes to their sound style.
- The group’s next single ‘Around the World’ was released in June 2000. It reached the top spot in Denmark. Aqua released ‘Bumble Bees’ as a single in Scandinavia, Europe and Australia, achieving reasonable success.
- In December 2000, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MCA Records, claiming that ‘Barbie Girl’ had damaged the reputation of the Barbie brand. The lawsuit finally came to an end in 2002 in favor of MCA.
- Aqua spent the first few months of 2001 touring around the world, working on material for their third album. However, later the same year, Aqua decided to split as the members felt that they lost the spark.
- After Aqua split up, Lene Nystrøm started a career as a soloist. In September 2003, her first album ‘Play with Me’ was released. It marked a change in her musical style—from the bubblegum sound of Aqua to a more R&B-influenced style. The album’s single ‘Virgin Superstar’ received some radio airplay, but did get a chart position.
- In 2004, she released her second single ‘Pretty Young Thing’, which did not get a chart position. She released her third and fourth singles as limited vinyl promos of a cover version of ‘Here We Go’, which had been originally performed by Moonbaby.
- She recorded and co-wrote the song ‘We Wanna Party’ with Xenomania for Girls Aloud's album ‘Out of Control’. She and Xenomania co-wrote two more songs for Girls Aloud—the tracks ‘No Good Advice’ and ‘You Freak Me Out’, which were included in the Girls Aloud album ‘Sound of the Underground’.
- In 2005, she contributed to the LazyB single ‘I Love N.Y.’ as a guest vocalist. She also participated as a guest singer in ‘Hvor små vi er’, a Danish charity single performed by a group of Danish artists under the name Giv Til Asien.
- In October 2007, Lene Nystrøm reunited with Aqua members, and the group announced a reunion tour in Denmark, Canada, the US, and the UK, and the release of a compilation album with new material. Eventually, they did an eight-concert tour in Denmark as part of the 2008 Grøn Koncert festival.
- After the big success of their concert, Nystrøm along with the other Aqua members released the track, ‘Back to the 80's’ in May 2009. In June, they also released an album with their greatest hits, which featured the track ‘Back to the 80's’, along with 16 re-mastered tracks and three new songs—‘My Mamma Said’, ‘Spin Me a Christmas’ and ‘Live Fast, Die Young’.
- In September 2009, the group released a CD with their greatest hits in North America and many European countries. In the same year, Nystrøm was featured in a film ‘Deliver Us from Evil’. She also appeared in ‘Betrayal’, where she sang three exclusive songs in German, which are yet unreleased. She did the film ‘G-Force’ in 2009 as well.
- Aqua released their third album ‘Megalomania’ on October 3, 2011, which enjoyed a moderate chart success in Denmark. The album did not chart in the US.
- After a long hiatus, in September 2016, Aqua announced that they would perform at ten concerts as part of the ‘We Love the 90's’ music festival. The group also announced that Claus Norreen would not return to the group.
- The Aqua single ‘Roses Are Red’ stayed in the national charts for over two months and was certified platinum. The single ‘My Oh My’ broke all Danish sales records, and was certified gold within six days. It peaked at number one in Denmark.
- The song ’Barbie Girl’ was also highly successful, becoming the number one single in Denmark, the UK, and Australia, and reaching the top 10 of Billboard Hot 100.The single ‘Doctor Jones’ peaked at number one in several countries, including the UK, and Australia.
- ‘It's Your Duty’, Nystrøm’s debut single, peaked at number three on Denmark's Hitlisten chart, and number 9 on Norway's VG-lista chart. The single ‘No Good Advice,’ which she recorded and co-wrote with the band Xenomania for the Girls Aloud debut album ‘Sound of the Underground’ became a breakout hit for the group.
- In August 2001, Lene Nystrøm married Søren Rasted in Las Vegas. They have a daughter, India, who was born on November 6, 2004. Their son Billy was born in 2006. The couple split in April 2017.
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