The song is called “Am I Wrong.” Chances are you have heard it, and there might also be a good chance that you thought, or think, that it is sung by Akon. In reality, the track vying for the coveted “Song of the Summer” is the product of Nico and Vinz, a Norwegian duo that released the song overseas over a year ago.
“That song has just gradually built its way all over the world,” Nico, nee Nico Sereba, told me on “Ralphie Tonight” recently. “We’re super happy with the fact that it is happening (in the U.S.) because this is like, the ultimate goal. America is like the ultimate goal.”
The song has climbed the Billboard Hot 100 and radio airplay charts but has also topped the list of “Most Shazamed Songs.” Shazam is a phone app that uses a device’s microphone to identify a song playing; the track’s information is then displayed on screen.
“It’s not like just hearing it on the radio,” Nico said of the honor. “They’ve heard it somewhere, and they want it. That to me means almost even more.”
Nico and Vinz first recorded under the moniker Envy before switching to the current name. Nico is paired with Vincent Dery; the two have worked together since 2009. The two have seen their share of ups and downs in the music industry – but the last down was right before “Am I Wrong” was released.
“When the song was done, we were sitting there listening to it and we were like, ‘I don’t know if this is the song that we want to go out with,’” Nico recalled. “I remember me telling my friends and stuff that if it doesn’t work this time with this song, then maybe I need to get a job on the side.”
Vinz was in the same situation, although both admit they did not have a backup plan. They would not need one. “Am I Wrong” went Top 10 in 19 different countries, peaking on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 4. Now the duo is putting the final touches on “Black Star Elephant,” an album due out this fall. Nico says they even have a good idea of what the second single might be.
And if it gets compared again to Akon, they won’t mind.
“It’s a compliment, man,” Nico remarked, with Vinz adding, “We’ve always liked Akon.”
They’ve never met him, but did see him at a party once. The significance is that for Nico and Vinz, it was their first big celebrity party in the States. It also happened to be Ne-Yo’s birthday party and was held at the “Closer” singer’s residence.
“I don’t even know how we got in there, man,” Vinz said. “At that point, we were like nobody, just at a party with a bunch of stars.”
A bunch of stars who, at the moment at least, are probably sitting in the group’s rear-view mirror on the charts.
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