Here is a crazy thing I pulled off so I could come to America.
I thought my time had come and gone.
Thinking about my achievments it wasn’t too bad: an EMI publishing deal, a record deal, three radio hits, two albums and one EP – all good, done deal! A deep calling to help people led me to spend more and more time as a social worker, and while never giving up music, I thought my future would be spent between music and social work in my home country Norway.
Then one day I get a phone call. A friend of a friend of a friend wanted me to perform at an inauguration party for a new CEO at a live-performance venue in New York City.
This has happened to me before, where I feel as if I am staring destiny straight in the eye, and I can sense that something important is about to happen. Something that will change my life, alter my plans, turn things on it’s head.
So of course, I said yes.
I get to the airport at 7am to catch my plane for New York. Plane leaves at 10 am. Plenty of time right?
I get to the security check, but it turns out my passport is not an updated one, the kind that is necessary to travel to the U.S. Changes were made after 9/11, but this particular change has somehow slipped me by. In other words: “terribly sorry, but you cannot enter the US at this time.”
With a heavy heart I call up the CEO to tell her the news and that she’ll have to make other arrangements. I hang up the phone with the sinking feeling that destiny has slipped through my fingers. I am utterly devastated. As I am scrambling for ideas, battling off my disappointment, I get this “feeling”. A special feeling. A push from deep within. I hear a voice…I sense a presence. Whatever you wanna call it, it feels bigger than me.
It tells me to rent a car, drive to the city, call the police on the way in and get a new passport.
It’ll never work. It is money and time and effort thrown out the window. But then again, throwing money, time and effort out the window is what I do best, so that’s just what I did.
On the way in to the city in my rented car I call the police office that deals with passports. It’s ten to eight. The office doesn’t open until eight. But again, this feeling… It’s ringing. A woman answers.
– Hello? We are closed…!!!
– Yes, I would like a new passport.
– Sure. It’s four hundred kroner ($70). It will take a week.
– I need it now. My plane leaves at ten.
– It is impossible.
– Please, you have to understand. I HAVE to go, this is a once in a life time opportunity for me…
– But even if I did all the paper work, you see… the actual passport is printed at a different place entirely, I can’t promise that they’ll print yours first…
– Can you pull some strings for me…?
– Let me see what I can do.
I show up at the police station, take the photos, sign the papers
The voice on the phone is now sitting in front of me and she is making a call on my behalf
Everything is quiet, the air around me is still, it is as if the entire room is holding it’s breath. This is it
She hangs up. Looks at me. She explains the direction I need to take in order to get my passport. I thank her profusely. My heart feels lifted. I am walking on air. I sprint to my rented car.
As I turn up at the printer building, a woman is waiting on the pavement, passport in hand. She wears a jumper thrown over her shoulder to brave the spring chills this morning. A cigarette in one hand, my passport in the other.
I roll up, grab the passport through my car window, wave at her, thanking her, big smiles on both our faces, and I throw the car back on the road, and drive WAY above the speed limit back to the airport, hoping not to get caught for speeding. While I’m driving too fast I double dip on unlawfulness and use my phone to reschedule my flight.
I am now booked for a flight an hour later. I will still make my gig.
– – –
I’m now working on my music here in the US, married to that same CEO and we have a baby boy.
Destiny was knocking on my door and refused to go away. Maybe I can be given some credit for opening up that door, taking the leap of faith, but it was crazy how at every turn the doors just kept opening up.
Question is: why? Why even bother? Why go through all the trouble? It’s because of YOU! You, the listener, the singer, songwriter, the pro and amateur musician, the concert goer, the concert giver… it’s all of you who are equally smitten by this wonderful bug, drug, saver and engager called MUSIC. You help make all of this matter. So thank you for being there, and for staying on these roads.
I look forward to many more sometimes crazy, sometimes ugly, yet always worthwhile experiences along this musical journey. I salute you and hope that you will be part of that journey.
PS: My new album “King of Bitter Sorrow” is out now and you can get it here: