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Lukas Graham wears his heart on his sleeve at all times, so it’s entirely fitting that “7 Years,”
where he candidly summarizes his life, his losses and his future hopes and dreams, would take
the Danish singer—already an acclaimed star in his home country—to the next, stratospheric
level. Released at the tail-end of 2015 and lifted from his self-titled global debut, “7 Years”
snowballed throughout 2016, racking up over 20 million units in worldwide consumption, hitting
number one in 13 different countries, and ultimately garnering three Grammy nominations. But
Lukas Graham is far from content with such accolades: He’s restless and ready and wants to be
known as an artist that supersedes any smash he may have past or present. With his new full-
length, 3 (The Purple Album), the singer looks set to do just that.
Thirty years ago his mother gave birth to Lukas on their couch in Christiania, an impoverished
enclave of Copenhagen—a commune established in 1971, famed for its cannabis trade and
ultra-liberal ethos. As Lukas tells it, he grew up in a progressive community that to this day lies
at odds with the rest of the Danish capital; as a teenager hanging with his friends, strip searches
and police brutality were the norm. It’s these formative, resonant experiences that Lukas
explores on the album opener “Not a Damn Thing Changed.”  
“I still live two blocks away from where I grew up, I still hang out with the same guys, I still go
home to visit a friend and, oh, he’s not home because he just got arrested,” Lukas explains.
"The song is also a tribute to one of the guys I grew up with who hung himself in January. He
was three months older than me and we walked through life together. He was going to be the
first of our friends to turn 30.”
It sounds like a bleak opener, but it’s also defiant, his lyrics underpinned with love for his
community and bearing the same steely determination he’s always had to make something of
himself, except now, thanks to his international success, the goal posts have shifted: “I got a few
records to break,” he sings. In truth, as much as “NADTC” sets up a same-as-it-ever-was
scenario, the song serves as a critical bridge, because in the past few years Lukas has gone
through a personal evolution as immense as his record sales. Most notably, in 2016 he
proposed to his long-term girlfriend Rillo Schwartz (they’ve been friends since they were 18),
and they’re now proud parents of a little girl, Viola.


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