Norwegian jazz pianist and Lillehammer native Maren Selvaag started playing the piano at age 7 and honed her musical skills in college, receiving a master’s degree in jazz piano performance from the Norwegian Academy of Music. Last year, Selvaag released her debut album, “Close to Shore.” Check out Viking magazine’s interview with the talented musician in the August issue and read more below.

What made you want to start playing the piano and composing?

I didn’t really want to start playing the piano, but my mother wanted me to. When I was a teenager, I joined a gospel choir, which gave me more access to music. My interest exploded, and I started playing all day. I have always been very creative, and when I discovered improvisation and composing jazz music, I immediately felt at home.

How did you get into jazz music, specifically? 

I attended a music workshop with my friends at the local jazz festival in Lillehammer where I grew up. We got a free pass to the concerts, and we went to all of them. I didn’t understand the music, but I was tremendously fascinated. The people on stage seemed alive.

What were the most rewarding parts of making your first album, “Close to Shore”?

One was the overwhelming feeling of completing a process that took 13 years from when I started dreaming of making a record. Also, it’s inspiring to continue to make music. I am blown away by some of the amazing feedback. One fan reached out and said he had to pull over while driving and just listen to the radio because the music moved him so much. Another person said the music made him feel like he had a new friend.

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?

I grew up with the Lillehammer Olympics, and I am a great fan of winter sports. Cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, mountain climbing and just roaming around outside are my favorite activities.

Sons of Norway members can learn more by checking out the August 2017 issue of Viking magazine. Not a member? Join today!