Aidin Vaziri | Lukas Graham’s first taste of success was bittersweet. He wrote the ballad “7 Years,” nearing 50 million views on YouTube, as a reaction to his father’s death, channeling his grief into a tune that offers a candid glimpse into his turbulent life. The 27-year-old Denmark native, who grew up in the self-governing commune Christiania, went into a tailspin when the song initially became a hit across Europe but tells us he is approaching America in a better state of mind just as things are about to ramp up again.
Q: You’re already a major star in Europe. How does it feel to come to America and have to start over?
A: That makes it easier. Because we blew up so fast in Denmark, we didn’t have a chance to feel it and be happy for ourselves.
Q: You also went off the rails after your father died. So you get to do it with a clear head.
A: When my father died, I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t keep going. I completely cracked in 2013. I was drinking and smoking and eating too much. I was spending too much money. I was just being an idiot. Now me and my bandmates are reminding each other how few people get to do this and how lucky we are.
Q: At the same time, you have lived with “7 Years” for a long time. How has your relationship with the song changed?
A: Mostly, I found that “7 Years” is a cathartic song. It’s a story. Some of it is my life. It’s also about anybody’s life. I wanted it to be personal and impersonal so anybody could relate to it. It went quadruple platinum in Denmark, which is quite substantial. It’s like 5 percent of the nation buying a single. You have to decide what parts of your life you are comfortable sharing with everyone forever. It’s empowering. People know my dad is dead. People know I smoke weed. People know I go to strip clubs. It lets people know who I am.