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Becoming Metteson: Interviewing Norway's next pop star

This article was written in partnership with Olavsfest.

Metteson (Photo: Lasse Fløde)

Sverre Breivik (30) is on his way to becoming Norway’s next ‘biggest pop star’ as the artist Metteson. The List caught up with Metteson to talk about music, life, and his dream-fulfilling concert with Susanne Sundfør at Olavsfest in Trondheim this summer.

“My mom likes to say I knew all the words to Toni Braxton’s ‘Un-Break My Heart’ before I could walk,” says Sverre Breivik and laughs. “So yes, music has always been a big passion of mine and I was a huge ‘living room performer’ as a kid, doing big diva songs by artists like Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and the Swedish Carola.”

The Thespian

Despite his young age, Sverre Breivik - a.k.a. Metteson - had a successful career as an actor before turning to music. (Photo: Lassed Fløde)

Despite his lifelong passion for music, Sverre admits he never envisioned becoming a musician. “I always wanted to become an actor and that was my big goal. Perhaps it was because the idea of being a pop star was so foreign to me, especially in Norway at that time. I guess I was quite a rational boy and being an actor felt more achievable,” says Sverre.

Throughout his school years, he was an energetic and creative theatre kid who also took music classes, but only when drama classes weren’t available. He got his break early when he was admitted to the prestigious Oslo National Academy of the Arts and then landed roles at National Theatre in Oslo. Later he was hired at the National Theatre in Bergen and moved to the coastal city – where his artistic career would change forever.

Metteson is born

“When the pandemic hit, all theatres closed down, so I suddenly had all this time on my hands and so much creative energy,” says Sverre. “So I gave myself fully to music.”

He had always been writing poems and songs alongside his acting career and singing in musicals, but it always felt just like an extension of theatre, until he moved to Bergen. “Similar to Trondheim, there’s a small, very tight-knit art community here. Through the theatre, I got to meet producers and musicians here in Bergen who became my friends and encouraged me to develop it further.”

"I gave myself fully to music." — Metteson (Photo: Lasse Fløde)

Sverre put his heart and soul into making music and his debut concert was incredibly well received. “All of a sudden this very bizarre, alien occupation became a free space for my creativity and my main job – which is really exciting!”

He adopted the stage name Metteson, both to honour his mother Mette (he’s a self-proclaimed big momma’s boy) as well as to provide a homage to the old Nordic naming tradition. It also gave him the courage to expose his creativity as it provided additional distance from the creation, just like a theatre project.

“Metteson has always been about the whole package of the theatricality of the performance,” Sverre explains. “When I write songs, I always think of how they’ll be performed on stage and I’m really into the dramaturgy of concerts. I’m always thinking of Metteson and the concert as a whole, especially when I write music.”

For Metteson, music and how it is performed on stage are inseparable. (Photo: Lasse Fløde)

Metteson’s music has been described as ‘kaleidoscopic pop that is unashamedly grand and theatrical’ and you can detect reverberances of his childhood influences – which along with the divas include ABBA, Perfume Genius, George Michael, Christine and the Queens, and Robyn.

“I would simply call it pop music but I don’t want to confine myself to genres. I’m a big chorus fan and my music really centres around a strong structural chorus, which ties in with my childhood influences,” says Sverre.

However, there is one artist in particular who has inspired Metteson.

Taking the stage with Susanne Sundfør

“I remember when I heard her for the first time. I was around 10, sitting in the back of the car when her voice and the lyrics of ‘Walls’ struck me,” says Sverre. “Her voice and songwriting have haunted me ever since and I’ve always been so impressed by her artistry and transformations between albums.”

Susanne Sundfør is an internationally renowned and award-winning singer-songwriter who has collaborated with famous artists such as Röyksopp. This summer, she’s taking to the stage with Metteson at Borggården during Olavsfest, for a double concert.

Metteson is sharing the stage with his long-time hero and music legend Susanne Sundfør at Olavsfest in Trondheim. (Photo: Lasse Fløde)

“It feels surreal that I’m doing a concert with her. She’s a true virtuoso and I admire her so much,” says Sverre. “People say never to meet your idols, but I met her and she’s extremely generous and smart. She’s a pure artist and I really aspire to do what she does with music.”

Susanne Sundfør will come to Trondheim with a full band and play songs spanning her illustrious career, but what can we expect from Metteson at Borggården?

“I had one of my top performances ever in Trondheim last summer. The audience was amazing so I can’t wait to come back and do it even better. This year, almost half the set is new, unreleased music from my debut album, so I’m excited to share it with people.”

You can experience Metteson and Susanne Sundfør live here in Trondheim at Olavsfest on July 31.

This article originally appeared in The List Summer Magazine 2023 and was written in partnership with Olavsfest.


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