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Denmark's Lukas Graham is making its mark in the U.S.
The Lukas Graham team goes way back -- to high school in Copenhagen, in fact.
Just not together.
"We weren't all friends back in school, but at the end of i tall, when the band was fully formed three years ago, everyone had gone to the same bleedin' high school," frontman and group namesake Lukas Graham Forchhammer says by phone from St. Louis. "Everyone in school had music at least on B level, and most of us had it on A level. There was a lot of musical talent there, and I think you could say the cream of that musical talent was the producers and the guys who play in the band."
Forchhammer, 27, was no slouch either as a member of the Copenhagen Boys' choir and a child actor best known for the "Krummerne" series and also as a voice in the Danish language version of "Toy Story 2." But Forchhammer wasn't just a choir boy; growing up in what he calls "a marginalized neighborhood" -- i.e. a ghetto -- he talks of being "an angry teenager, having riots with the police and escapades with girls."
Much of that informs songs on Lukas Graham's self-titled sophomore album (aka "The Blue Album"), including tracks such as "Mama Said" and "Better Than Yourself," which was inspired by a friend who "got shot to pieces in a car" and then was jailed after being released from the hospital.
"I had a chance to choose music over selling weed with my boys," Forchhammer explains. "You get to a point where the success is good and you're happy and you're singing in front of people. I never wanted to be famous; I just always wanted to perform. So the happiness exceeds your anger and your fears -- but they're still with me."
It's easier to the Lukas Graham collective be happy these days, of course. The album debuted at No. 1 in Denmark, where it's gone five-times platinum, and at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The single "7 Years" also hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100,and Forchhammer says he and his bandmates are basking in its success during their first full-scale tour on this side of the pond.
"I'm pretty gobsmacked to be honest with you," he says. "The biggest thing is how people are singing along to our stuff. They're belting out every song from start to finish. It's been amazing. It's the dream, right? It's a little strange when you work towards something and then you get it, but it sure feels good."
Lukas Graham and Daye Jack
Friday, April 22. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are $15.
Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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