Buy a Great Hall of the Vikings show ticket (Wed-Sat) and receive FREE general admission for all-day festival access! Come early and enjoy the festival!
Growing up in Mosjøen, Norway, just two hours south of the arctic circle, O.J. Hanssen inherited a love for American country music from his parents, who filled their house with the sounds of Buck Owens, Tammy Wynette, Gene Watson, Bobby Bare, and Jim Reeves. His own personal collection soon eclipsed that of his parents, as he ordered numerous country music albums from the U.S. and Britain, eventually amassing over 3,500. Hanssen began performing and entered a talent contest, attracting the attention of a producer who offered him a record deal. As a result, his first album, You Made My Life a Song, was released in Norway.
Hanssen continued to sing on the weekends while pursuing a career as a deputy sheriff in his hometown. He built up a following in Scandinavia and eventually released six albums. He decided that the next step lie in Nashville and relocated there in 1999. He began recording his American debut, What't It Gonna Take, in the summer of 2000 and released it a year later.