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The Scouting Report

Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: Ber

BerPhoto: Nate Ryan, Graphic: Natalia Toledo | MPR

by John Kueppers

April 10, 2024

For Minnesota Music Month, The Current polled the local music industry for April’s edition of The Scouting Report. More than 90 people filled out this year’s Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report ballot, and 253 unique artists were chosen overall. The top 10 artists — well, 11 because of a tie — who received the most support include Ber.

Ber’s love for music and writing came at a very young age. Her family’s Christmas gatherings were a time to show off her chops on songs like “Away in a Manger.” As a seven-year-old, she used GarageBand on her parents' laptop to create her first ever song, titled “In My Head.” Ber (full name Berit Dybing) also recalls writing poetry and short stories all throughout her life, but never thought about translating it into songs until after high school.  

For more on her upbringing in northern Minnesota, there’s this story told in Ber’s own words from early 2022.  

Ber is a nickname that she has had for her entire life. She made videos of her music under this name on TikTok for about a year without ever having the intention of turning it into an artist project, she says. Then, in August of 2021 a snippet of her song “Meant to Be,” a collaboration with Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Charlie Oriain while living abroad, went viral. The top comments express how both beautiful and heartbreaking the song was to them. 

“It was just nuts,” she says. “That song has just transcended everything else I’ve done as of yet, which is an honor.” 

After gaining a strong following on TikTok and having songs like “Meant to Be” reach millions of streams, it was time for her to officially take to the stage for the first time as Ber. Where to start? Smaller venues in the Twin Cities. Heck, a hometown show in Bemidji. What about multiple performances at South by Southwest including an all-female-led showcase where she’s introduced by pop songwriting legend Linda Perry? That worked, too. 

Bigger stages followed, including the North by North Loop Festival in the summer of 2023 (she spoke to Jill Riley ahead of that one), and twice in the First Avenue mainroom this past January – for The Current’s 19th Anniversary Party and Best New Bands of 2023.  

“I think the music scene, especially in Minneapolis, is something that the people who live here love and need and celebrate and want and actively take part in because it provides something,” she says. “And when there's that much fuel and love that's there from the audience, the music that also comes from this place is so good and so cool.”

 She notes that there’s still work to do and she’d like to see more women involved, especially on summer festivals like Basilica Block Party. “I feel like there's just not a scarcity of fantastic female musicians or female artists that work out of here and live here and provide so much to the community,” she says. “So it is always really daunting and crazy to see such male dominated bills that are constantly being put on in the city.” 

Ber was also featured as The Local Show’s Artist of the Month in January. In a conversation with Diane, she covered a lot of ground on her journey through music so far, as well as an upcoming EP, Room for You

Ber’s sold-out show at the Fine Line on Friday, May 3 will be celebrating the release of Room For You, a project she said has felt more “her” than anything else she’s made. The songs feature collaborations with Bradley Hale and KC Rae of local indie rock group Now, Now. 

“The songs feel relatively mature, but very free. I'm not taking anything too seriously this go around. And they just feel really good, and I feel like myself when I listen to it,” Ber says. ”Figuring out your sound is so intimidating. Now that I'm staring down the barrel of ‘oh, I need to write an album.’ I have no idea what that album's gonna sound like, but I love that I've written this EP. It feels like a little piece of me right now, and I'm really enjoying it.”

Related: Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: The top 11 new local artists

Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: The complete ballots

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.