US record label Big Crown Records, whose artists include soul heavyweights such as Lee Fields, Lady Wray and the Finnish King of cool – Bobby Oroza, have unearthed a new Scandinavia soul artist – Les Imprimés.
The A-side of Les Imprimés debut single “I’ll Never Leave” has the sweet, soulful Doo Wop tone to transport you back to the ’60s. Through headphones or speakers, listeners will be embraced by a lush, romantic and dreamy arrangement. The melodies here will cradle you like a baby. The song is a timeless sentiment of love rightly released on “7 vinyl for connoisseur collectors of soul.
While the artist’s name has a french flavour behind the moniker, Les Imprimés is Morten Martensm, born and raised in Norway. The singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist oozes those captivating retro soul vibes that Big Crown Records has become renowned for.
“There was always music in my house growing up” Morten Martensm explained. “My parents played music as a hobby, and I always had a collection of weird instruments to play with.” Though his parents listened to a range of soft rock and pop music from the 1960s and 1970s, some of the recordings from the soul and gospel genres really resonated with him.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, Morten began playing and practising guitar seriously and became completely enamoured with hip-hop and neo-soul – from J.Dilla’s compositions to D’Angelo‘s songwriting to Erykah Badu‘s unique and undulating take on R&B. Before long, he found himself producing beats for local rappers and musicians.
But when it comes to starting and running his solo project, Morten says, “I really wasn’t able to find the time to focus on Les Imprimés until COVID, when things locked down.”
“It was a scary time. But I knew I had to do something with it.” He took the sum of his influences, combined them with his vibe and got busy writing the music, playing the instruments, and singing the songs. “It’s soul music, but I don’t exactly have a soul voice,” Morten explains humbly. “But I do it my own way, in a way that’s mine.”
Norway continues to produce world-class soulful music, artists and bands – D’Sound, Fieh and Charlotte Dos Santos, amongst many others. Les Imprimés has immediately set a marker to be considered among the best.
The queue for his debut album has started and we’re at the front.