Nico & Vinz's "Am I Wrong?" has taken the country by storm this year. The Norwegian duo has come a long way, and through their hard work and talent, have made their dreams come true. And that, they tell us, is actually the inspiration for their hit song.
The guys tell iHeartRadio, "We always had huge dreams, but we're from a very small country. It's not normal, it's not usual for people from very small countries to blow up in the world or be global artists. We've always had that dream. We had that vision, we want our music, we want our songs, our lyrics to reach out to as many people as possible. Coming from Norway, people might doubt you a little bit, of course, so we sat down and thought 'Are we wrong? Is it wrong of us to believe in this? Can we make this happen? Why can't we make this happen? Why can't we be on billboards like Rihanna and Katy Perry?' We wrote the lyrics, 'Am I wrong for thinking we can be something for real? Am I tripping for having a vision, my prediction, I'm going to be on top of the world'.
They continue, "I hope that can inspire people all over the world to see that everything is possible. Everything is possible."
Well, fans should definitely keep their ears out for Nico & Vinz, because "Am I Wrong?" is only the beginning. The guys have been working on their album Black Star Elephant over the last year-and-a-half.
"This album is so personal to us. We feel like we found a sound that is very unique and very new. It's personal, it's us." The guys add, "We have a lot of messages where we have this vision with our music that we hope that our songs and our music can have a positive impact on your life somehow."
By the way, Black Star Elephant represents both Nico and Vinz. The black star represents Vinz because of his Ghana roots - the country's soccer team calls themselves "the black stars." And the elephant represents Nico and his Ivory Coast background. Their national soccer team's nickname is "the elephants."
Nico & Vinz stopped by the iHeartRadio Studios recently to talk to us about their smash hit "Am I Wrong?" and everything else BUT the music.
Check out OffBEAT with Nico & Vinz below:
What have you been wrong about?
Nico: When I was younger I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I could say that I was wrong because it didn't work out. I tried, it just didn't work.
Vinz: At some point I wanted to be a skier coming from Oslo, Norway. I was like 5 or 6, though. Skier. Like downhill. That wasn't really my thing after all.
What happened to Envy?
Nico: Envy died out. Envy died out because there were too many Envys out there. We always had this vision of being unique, being original. I think that our name had to be original, too. There were too many corporations, DJs, bands, groups called Envy, so we figured we needed something original. We need something that's us. And that is Nico & Vinz!
What inspires you?
Vinz: People that set out to do something and then do it. More than anything. That could be in any field. We even look at our parents coming from villages in the west of Africa. Nico's father is from the Ivory Coast. My parents are from Ghana. Seeing them come from nothing all the way over to Norway building a foundation, having a family, and then seeing their sons traveling the world and playing music and talking to people. I think that whole thing, just coming from nothing to build something. That. Even that just inspires us a whole lot. I think that mentality has stuck with us growing up.
If you guys were a South African animal, which one would you be?
Nico: Wow! I've always loved the giraffe. I don’t know why I like the giraffe, but I think it's really majestic and beautiful. I think, I'm not sure, but I feel like it's not really threatened by other animals.
Vinz: Me too. Although, actually I would say elephant, but elephant is a little slow, though. I like fast. Maybe like a cheetah. Fast. I like that.
What Norwegian stereotypes are you tired of hearing?
Vinz: All Norwegians are white.
Nico: Blond hair and blue eyes. They're more than that in Norway. Norway has one of the best salmons, actually. And then they ask us about everything that has to do with winter. They think it's freezing over there all the time, everybody's cold. When we come here people are like "you guys must never have experienced heat!" We're like "it's pretty warm during the summer." We like to teach people things about our country. Bring our culture over here and show what we are and where we come from.
If you guys had a time machine, where and when would you travel to?
Vinz: I would say, actually, I wouldn't trade this moment for anything. Everything we came, have done, up until now, I wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't go back or forward in time because this is it. Everything we've gone through has made us who we are and now we're actually living our dreams. This is the moment. The future is the future, so whatever the future holds, we'll get to that when that comes.
Nico: I know I would definitely not go into the future. I would go back. I wouldn't want to see what's going to happen for us or for me. We're working towards, and we have this imagination, and that's what's driving us. I would definitely go back, if anything. Maybe I would go back to when my dad was a kid because I don’t have ... He grew up in Africa and I don't have any pictures of him as a kid. I don't know what he looked like. I have one picture of him as a baby. I've always wanted to see what his family, what my uncles were like when they were young. How they lived back in the Ivory Coast. I have a lot of family in the Ivory Coast and I have some that's come over to Norway.
Nico, if you didn't get into music, do you think you would've tried to go out for soccer professionally?
Nico: Definitely, I would have tried as long as I could, as hard as I could. It was a transition when I stopped playing soccer that I still can't explain to people why I stopped. I loved it so much, it was my first love. It was everything I thought I was going to do in life, but it just gradually went over into music. Actually, the guy who is our manager to date, he's the one who inspired me to start with music. We used to play together in soccer and he was also into music, so he inspired me. I just felt like I had a talent there as well, so I might as well try it. I always loved music as well, but like I said, soccer was my first love and something I always thought I was going to do.
Vinz, what was the first rapper or rap song that you heard that really got you into that music?
Vinz: I was really into Xzibit. X to the Z, Xzibit. Of course, Dre, Snoop, and Eminem as well. West Coast. Those four, and Tupac. I bought the Up In Smoke Tour when I was 10 or 11. 12. I saw them on stage. I was like "yo this is crazy!"
Nico: I was more into the East Coast rappers. I was into the East Coast. New York rap reminded me of what we had at home. In the videos you see people go through snow and stuff, right? We have a lot of snow at home as well. To see the videos of them with their headphones on and their baggy pants and walking around and rapping. It connected with us because we were doing the same at home. I was into New York rappers. Nas, Jay-Z, everything from the OC to Pete Rock and CL Smooth, and all of that.
Get to know the guys even better when iHeartRadio's Paul The Web Guy chats with the duo!
Photos: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio