Here is a crazy thing I pulled off so I could come to America.

Ben -scream -shades croppedI thought my time had come and gone. And it wasn’t too bad: I had a EMI publishing deal, record deal, radio hits, two albums and one ep that I was proud of under my belt – sure, done deal! But Norway is a small country on the outskirts of everything, and a career in music is only for the very, very few.

Then one day I get a phone call; a friend of a friend of a friend wanted me to perform at her inauguration party as CEO of 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. So of course, I said yes.

I get to the airport at 7am and my plane leaves at 10. Plenty of time right? I get to the security check, but it turns out my passport is not an updated one, necessary to travel to the U.S. Changes were made after 9/11, but this particular one had slipped me by. I can’t go! So 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. I hear a voice…whatever you wanna call it. It tells me to rent a car, drive to the city, call the police on the way in and get a new passport. It’s crazy. It’ll never work. It is money and time and effort thrown out the window. But then again, that 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. Office doesn’t open until eight. But again, this feeling… It’s ringing. A woman answers.

– Hello? We are not open yet…

– 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, it’s printed at a different place, I can’t promise that they’ll print yours first…

– Can you pull some strings for me…?

Pause

– Let me see what I can do.

I show up at the police station, take the photos, sign the papers, she makes a call, and sends me in the right direction. As I turn up at the printer building, another woman is waiting on the pavement, passport in hand. I roll up, grab the passport through my car window, throw the car back on the road, and drive WAY above the speed limit back to the airport, hoping not to get caught. As I’m driving I reschedule my flight for an hour later, this way I will still make my gig.

The rest is history… 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 at my door and refused to go away. Maybe I can be given some credit for 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. Here’s to hope that you are part of that journey.

PS: My new album “America” is out now and you can get it here: “America”

Talk soon,

Ben