Ever since he was a young boy, Jonas Mikkelsen has been making music as a way for him to express himself and hopefully change the world for the better. In a world full of uncertainty and questions, Mikkelsen uses his talent to let everyone know that we should be there for each other and that change is possible. A native of Denmark, Mikkelsen is a singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist producing 100% DIY indie and soulfully rendered songs mostly from his bedroom.
Under the name BREGN (pronounced as “brain” in Danish), he empowers people and believes in the magic of being human—understanding our capability to make a difference and take a stand. BREGN is inspired by The Beatles, Velvet Underground, and Elliott Smith.
BREGN began his mission to shed hope, light, and positivity to the world through his songs in 2018. His latest releases “Wind”, “Raw”, and “Be Fine” all deliver a corresponding message that lets fans know that despite the problems, hope will come through. Because of his love for vintage sounds, layered vocals, and tape saturation his works are continuously being recognized and appreciated.
With a heart for music, a passion for talent, and faith in the kindness of humanity, BREGN’s new single “Dreaming” highlights the idea of changing the world for the better in our own way. The song is for someone who experiences nightmares and it’s a dedication to assure them that you are there because you care.
“Dreaming” is a song about taking action, healing from the things you’re afraid of, and lifting one another. It seeks a strong vision of who we can all be in this world.
Below is an in-depth conversation on how BREGN came to be and the success of another new song.
First of all, congratulations on the song! It has a wonderful city life vibe to it, especially with the art. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind both the song and the artwork?
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your positive feedback and thanks for having me in your interview. “Dreaming” is made for a person close to me that has nightmares. With the song I want to say that I care and I am here to help. In the song I try to encourage focusing on having good dreams. The song was written in a chair just next to that person. With the sound of “Dreaming” I am inspired by some of the many great artists from the ’60s creating psychedelic style music. I love the sound of that period so much. I must say, though, I am very much against the psychedelic movement regarding drugs. It is so sad how many peoples’ lives were destroyed by drugs.
Regarding the artwork, I discovered a very beautiful creative work by Camille Holvoet from Creativity Explored in SF, California. I really love her choice of colors and her composition with the Golden Gate Bridge together with all the life around it. Her work is just like a dream. I really wanted to support Camille and Creativity Explored so I feel really lucky that Camille agreed to have her art as cover art on the single. For me, San Francisco is a place of dreams.
With the song I want to say that I care and I am here to help. In the song I try to encourage focusing on having good dreams. The song was written in a chair just next to that person.BREGN
Can you tell me more about yourself and the story behind the name BREGN?
As a small kid I was influenced by various musical genres from Chopin to Edith Piaf to The Beatles by my mother who herself played the guitar and piano. She also sang for me a lot. I remember she once created a drum for me so I could play along with her guitar. I think I was 5 years old when she gave me a cassette recorder and a mini keyboard. I had a lot of fun playing around with that.
The artist name BREGN is the first half of my middle name. In Danish it is pronounced “brain.” I thought that name was really clever, lol. Then my fans would be “BRAIN’ies“ which is empowering for them—I like the idea of that. It is one of my goals in creating music, to empower people. I can’t deny there are so many things in life we can do very little about. But our own voice, values, and attitude are something we can control. I think that is where the magic is as a human being—being able to do something good to other people and make a stand.
You’ve been recording music since you were 14. That’s amazing! Can you share more on why and how music became a passion and career choice for you?
Yeah, I recorded my first real songs when I was about 14. When I received a four-track cassette tape recorder as a birthday present, I started recording acoustic guitar and vocals. I remember it was quite a hassle to record those songs.
Most of my life I have been pretty shy. I think music became a way to express myself without actually having direct conversations. That has changed a bit now as my art is more often becoming a conversation starter. I feel somehow connected to creating music and I feel the freedom to express the art just how I feel it should be. I think my music passion has been a really good companion throughout my life. And the idea that my stories and my voice would resonate with somebody else in the world is making the whole effort worth it. When that happens it is the best thing ever. For me that is magic. As a music consumer myself I like to explore new music and reach out to other creators. These conversations can be quite magical and inspiring too.
The song feels like being in a busy city meditating on who you want to be in life and just enjoying the hustle and bustle of it all. What can you tell the listeners of this song that enjoy spending time dreaming about anything?
For me dreaming is such a strong metaphor. On one hand, dreaming is the idea of being able to change the world for the better. A strong vision that is worth working for. On the other hand, dreaming during sleep is out of our control. Sometimes a dream even turns into a nightmare. I like the idea of meditating on the concept of dreaming like a way to break loose of conformity. Practicing to break loose and daring to have dreams that turn into visions that turn into actions.
Most of my life I have been pretty shy. I think music became a way to express myself without actually having direct conversations. That has changed a bit now as my art is more often becoming a conversation starter.BREGN
“Dreaming” seems to talk about the people in the city thinking about fulfilling their dreams and passions in life. What inspired you to write the track?
City life full of dreams—just waiting to be found and explored. In my head San Francisco is a nice place to dream of. Just like in Camille’s art. It is an exotic city with lots of creativity, art and free-thinking and even the weather is nice.
Daring to have dreams enables us to have passions and to be able to care. I am inspired by the thought of not being afraid to fail. But just keep on practicing even though a dream may fail. Not being afraid, daring to dream again after something fails.
Who helped you pursue your passion to be a singer and music producer?
When I was teenager I had a neighbor who played music most of the time. He introduced me to so much different music. He gave me books about music and told me about all sorts of musical concepts. He took my interest in music to a whole new level. And I really felt his passion for music. He was an amazing mentor for me. Since then there have been many people that have inspired me. It is so exciting to see how many new artists share their work, music, visions, and values. I feel there actually is somebody who wants to change the world for the better. I think that is really encouraging. Make a riot—make a stand—care about the well-being of others and be non-violent.
I like the idea of meditating on the concept of dreaming like a way to break loose of conformity.BREGN
Congratulations on the release of your previous songs! “Wind”, “Raw”, and “Be Fine” are wonderful! What makes “Dreaming” more unique? How is it connected with the theme of your other songs at the same time?
Thank you so much Agatha, I really appreciate your positive vibes on my songs. With “Dreaming” I want to promote “daring to dream and to let go of fears.” I want to promote “being here for each other” and “caring for each other.” To me, these are some of the key aspects of changing the world for the better. The connection between “Dreaming” and the previous songs is that they all take place in the same messed-up world trying to emphasize the little things that remind us that we can detach from the mess. Change is possible even if it is only in some small ways—let’s make the change.
In terms of sound, I think the layered voices and the retro feeling in “Dreaming” makes it different from the other songs. I went further with the saturated lo-fi sound of the vocals than I have ever done before.
As your career continues to grow and as the year goes by, what are your goals for the future? Will you start writing an album or go on tour?
One of my goals is to empower others and myself to change the world for the better. I feel I have that responsibility as an artist and a human being. I want to amplify being good to each other, care for each other and the planet. I want to promote non-violence in a pretty messed-up world. I am writing more songs and they will eventually end up on an album.
With “Dreaming” I want to promote “daring to dream and to let go of fears.” I want to promote “being here for each other” and “caring for each other.” To me, these are some of the key aspects of changing the world for the better.BREGN
Stream “Dreaming” below.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Agatha is a college student taking up Psychology and a blogger who loves her dog and mom. Music is her way to find inspiration, excitement, and creativity in writing and in life. She dreams of becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor someday. For now, she helps people by sharing good music that uplifts and makes them deeply feel their vibes.