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The First Time: Lukas Graham Singer Talks Michael Jackson, Clashes With Cops

Danish songwriter Lukas Forchhammer on his anarchist upbringing and what it’s like to hear your song in the grocery store

Danish soul-pop trio Lukas Graham may be the toast of Top 40 radio, but in his latest interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Lukas Forchhammer comes off as down-to-earth as ever. The 30-year-old singer-songwriter and his band first catapulted to global fame with their 2015 smash single, “7 Years” — which not only peaked at Number Two on the Hot 100, but earned them three Grammy nominations in 2017. The trio bounded back up the charts this year with their new LP, 3 (The Purple Album), a collection of no-frills, heartrending songs that touch upon themes of parenthood, grief and healing. “[I hear my songs] in a grocery store in America,” Forchhammer says, reflecting on his band’s reach. “When you hear a song outside of your own country, it means more, suddenly!”

As tender as he sounds in hits like “Love Someone,” Forchhammer endured a uniquely gritty upbringing in the Copenhagen anarchist community known as Christiania. “I was born in a neighborhood with no street lights, no police force,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I was taught [that] if you see the police, walk the other way.”

“I got almost strip-searched when I was 10,” he continues. “It was the first time I  remember being manhandled by the law and order. From 14 to 15 on, it was a weekly thing, clashing with the cops. Once I grew up… I got other things to do!”

In this edition of The First Time, Forchhammer talks candidly about performing at the Grammys, his Irish heritage and some of the first records he bought, including albums by Michael Jackson, Nirvana and Amy Winehouse.

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