Norwegian artist Trevis tells Notion about becoming an LA native, fresh starts, and finding his sound.
Returning to the music scene this year with his stellar single “All Night”, R&B artist Trevis is tipped to be one of the industry’s new major players.
Born and raised in Norway, Trevis never planned for a career in music. He initially fell in love with football in his early childhood and was set to join the Manchester United football school as a teenager. But, shortly before he could, a life-changing injury left him unable to continue working towards a sports career. In desperate need of a new beginning, his mother helped relocate him from Norway to California – a move that would transform his life.
After finding his feet in the States, Trevis began rubbing shoulders with super-producer Harmony Samuels, whose camp taught him everything there is to know about music and production. Now, Trevis is creating hypnotically catchy R&B tunes that have already gained attention from the likes of Radio 1 and tens of thousands of fans online.
Collaborating with UK producers Sons of Sonix on his latest track, which garnered recognition from Wretch 32 and Nigerian artist Oxlade on Instagram, Trevis is set for a big year. “The whole flow of it just felt right,” he says of “All Night”, which is soon to be followed by his next single “Company for Now”.
We sat down with Trevis to chat all about his upcoming EP, his sources of inspiration, and what else we can expect to see from him this year.
“All Night” has recently been played on BBC Radio 1Xtra – how did it feel to hear your song live on the radio for the first time?
The UK love was instant! The first time they played it, I didn’t know. No one told me; not even my team knew about it. And the next day, I woke up here in LA, and I was getting text messages and calls from friends in London saying that they heard the song on the radio, and this is before the song was even out. This was on the Tuesday. It was 2am and I was on the phone, my manager. Someone recorded it and sent it to us. I probably played it like four or five, six times, just over and over again. That was the moment it hit me that wow, we’re really doing this. Because I haven’t put out music for a while now and this is my first fresh start back to the game. I was like, wow, we’re back. It was amazing.
You said this was a fresh start. What inspired that?
I put my first song out – I call them ‘internet street singles’ in late 2017. Straight out of high school. I was trying a lot of things musically, I was still young, I was growing, I was experimenting with different sounds, and that’s why I kind of call them ‘internet street singles’. The debut was more pop, the second record was more leaning on the R&B side, and the third single was up-tempo. So I was just trying different things and finding my sound. And then funny enough, during COVID lockdowns, studios were closing down, no one wanted to work and people were scared to get back in. I remember thinking I can’t just sit around and wait. I had all this creative energy, and I wanted to put music out so I had to figure something out, and the best way for me to do that was to start learning how to produce music and write more and record my own vocals. So those two years of COVID really inspired me to dive in and self-reflect and start doing this on my own. Two years later, we have so many songs, probably about three or four EPs worth of material that we want to put out. I’m more confident than ever that I found my sound. I know who I want to be as an artist and “All Night” is the first record that represents that
Some of those new songs are going to be on your debut EP ‘Floor Plan’. What can we expect?
R&B is the perfect representation of that first single, and I’m coming with a new single, very soon this month as well. We’re gonna put out a few singles when the EP drops, in late summer. It is definitely where my mind is at and where my kind of Creative Sound is at the moment. It’s a lot more R&B, it’s a lot rawer. It’s not so over cooked and over-produced. It’s just very straight to the core of music and R&B. And with a little pop twist as well. I’m from Norway, and I grew up in a lot of folk music and pop music so I’ve got my Norwegian touch as well.
Can you tell us about the new single coming out?
This is exciting because it’s the first time I’m talking about the single, and I’m very excited it’s with you guys. The song’s called “Company for Now”, and it’s about this girl that approached me and asked if I wanted to be her “company for now”. Her confidence and approach blew my mind, and I had to write a song about her. She was doing her thing and I was doing my thing and we didn’t have time to really fall in love and get into the whole the romance thing. Obviously, in the song, I’m playing it off like it was my idea and I was a G, but she approached me like that haha. We just decided to play it off as friends and be each other’s company for now.
I’ve spent so much time locked in the studio over the past two to three years, that now being able to have music come out frequently and have my records played on the radio and be able to perform the songs this summer is such a surreal feeling. It’s been a long time coming. I’m very happy to be here.
Are you planning to play any live shows this year? You’ve got these two singles then the EP coming – that’s a lot of content I’m sure you’ll want to be sharing with the world on a stage.
Of course! I do a lot of club appearances. Especially because a lot of my sound is for the clubs and for people having a good time, partying and stuff. Especially out here in the US, and I reckon I’ll be doing that as well in Europe. I’m just trying to get out as much as possible. I have a lot of friends in the industry as well, fellow artists and musicians. They’ll call me up kind of last minute and have me guest appear at their show or their festival and stuff like that. We’re expecting a lot of shows, I’ve been practising for this and waiting for this moment. We’re ready.
You relocated to California after an injury, but what led you to pursue music specifically? Was it the fact that LA is a massive music hub or did you find your way to music via a different path?
When I first came out here, I was 15/16 years old. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t know anyone but the family friend that I was staying with. They kind of took me in, but I didn’t know anyone. My manager who’s from West London would come out every two months, and when he was in town, he would bring me round to Harmony Samuels, who’s an extremely talented British music producer. He’s worked with a lot of the greats from Ariana Grande to Chris Brown to Maroon 5. I didn’t know much about the creative studio process yet or how it worked. When I was there, it was just a vibe and such a creative zone. I would sit in the back of the studios and watch them do their thing. I would watch top tier musicians create music from scratch and bounce ideas back and forth. They’d be in the booth recording. My mind was blown. From that point on, every weekend, I would be at the studio in the back. Two years later, I was finally able to start doing my own thing in there as well. I started working with Harmony and JV The Producer and we probably got like 20 records with his camp. When I came home from the studio, I would start trying to write a little bit and try to freestyle some stuff. And then the next time at the studio, I would ask, ‘what do you think about this?’ They really took me in and helped me grow as an artist and I fell in love with it. Then when I graduated high school, all I wanted to do was music. That was it. I just knew that this was my thing.
I was still in a very dark place when I first came to the US. Music really took me out of that. It’s scary being 16 years old, jumping from a small town in Norway to LA of all places. It can be a dangerous place you know, being in this environment as well. People get side-tracked easily, I see it all the time. But for me, I was so twirled up in this life of music that there was really nothing else for me at that point.
We ended up releasing a lot of the music we made, which was the first phase of me diving headfirst into music back in 2017. It worked well in my home country, but now I’m really at that space where I can say; this is me, this is who I am. This is Trevis and this is my sound. I’m ready to start building and growing
Who were your biggest musical inspirations when you were younger? Are they the same now?
The music in Norway is very indie, guitar, folky, but also EDM and pop-y. So growing up, there was a lot of that. My dad also plays guitar, so a lot of Norwegian folk records.
I met my manager before we started working together – when I was 11 years old. We’ve known each other for 13 years. He was in Norway, working with some artists at the time. He introduced me to people like [hip-hop group] Cocaine 80s’ lead singer James Fauntleroy. He’s one of my favourite songwriters ever. He put me onto music that I’d never heard before. It was so different from what I was used to.
I started hearing these different sounds from Musiq Soulchild to a lot of afrobeat records from very early on, especially him being British-Nigerian. And then being in LA, everything was very Trap, R&B, and hip-hop influenced. I was inspired by everything and you can hear that on some of the records from the EP. I’ve kind of contributed that folky guitar sound that I grew up on from my dad and mixed it with LA trap and hip-hop beats. One of my favourite records on the EP called “Avenue”, has that mix of both worlds. For me, that’s a full-circle moment because it shows my roots as a singer-songwriter listener growing up in Norway, mixed with my teenage years in LA with the harder trap beats. I’m still young and I’m still inspired by little bits and pieces of what I hear every day, wherever I am, and it motivates me to create more music. It’s extremely motivating, especially now that I’m producing as well
What are you manifesting for 2022?
My words for 2022 are growth and to build. All I want to do is get my records out and really make an impact. I want to build my fanbase in the UK and just put more music out. The target right now is building. This is yet another step; another milestone.