Arts, Culture & Media

The guy who sings that 'once I was 7 years old' song has a crazy life story

Lukas Graham.jpg

Danish musician Lukas Forchhammer has a string of international hit songs, but he knows what it's like to grow up with little.

Danish musician Lukas Forchhammer knows what it's like to live with little.

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He even sings about it in the hit song "Mama Said" by his band, Lukas Graham. 

"I grew up in Christiania. And you could say, in a lot of ways it's a marginalized community," he says. 

The Christiania Lukas talks about is in the center of Copenhagen. It's a semi-autonomous area founded by squatters in the '70s. When Lukas was growing up there in the '90s, there were no cars or streetlights. A toilet and running water were considered luxuries.  

But to Lukas and his friends, Christiania was more of a "free spirited place." The "utopian vibe" shaped him.

"We realized early on that we were different. Other kids' parents would look at us with disgust because we were more dirty children. ... I think it just inspired me to do something great. I wanted to show the whole world that you could come from an impoverished and marginalized neighborhood and still do something with your life. That you could cross boundaries. And you can crush every critic that says kids like that don't make it in a world like this."

His group has proved critics wrong with hits like this one.

Lukas no longer lives in Christiania, but he still has family and friends there. And it will always be home. 

"We were 15 boys that went to the same kindergarten, that still have a Christmas lunch together. And we have a friendship that goes beyond profession and education. We have a friendship that is rooted in love and understanding. But for the rest of the country, we were the dirty little kids from the gutter. And I'm sure that it's the street kid in me that made sure that I don't do things I don't want to do, you know what I mean?"

And one recent stand he took was to pull the plug last week on Lukas Graham's Australian tour. His girlfriend, his publicist says, is expecting their first child. 

So for now, he's back in Copenhagen — and visiting friends in Christiania.

But this fall, he'll be back on the road again for a US tour.