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Gary Clark Jr.
Norwegian pop star Thomas Dybdahl uses L.A. as his lab
Norwegian pop star Thomas Dybdahl uses L.A. as his lab

Thomas Dybdahl remembers the moment he knew his new album was going to be something special. A real-deal pop star in his native Norway, the 35-year-old singer had come to Los Angeles to do what all real-deal pop stars eventually do: experiment with his working method. Instead of assembling his songs piece by piece, playing many of the sounds himself in a home-studio setting, he was collaborating with a name producer, Larry Klein, and Klein's posse of first-call session players. "I didn't want to make another jigsaw record," Dybdahl said, referring to the patched-together process that nonetheless yielded a string of radio hits and No. 1 albums at home. "On those...

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