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When the barista at the downtown St. Paul coffee shop complimented her new bangs, Berit Dybing let out a joyous thank-you followed by a droll caveat.

"They're not 'crisis bangs,' I promise," the indie-pop singer said. "A lot of people might expect that in my case."

Her haircuts may not be based on crises, but the songs Dybing records under the one-name stage moniker Ber certainly are. And they're garnering bang-up viral numbers because of it.

As with her new 'do, the 24-year-old Bemidji native has a lighthearted and snarky way of addressing her woes — a fun approach to very unfun moments that has helped make her one of Minnesota's buzziest new singer/songwriters. Think: Olivia Rodrigo with more pop-punk tones and a little of Lana Del Rey's wicked wordplay.

Ber's new EP, "Halfway" — which she's promoting with a long-sold-out tour finale Friday at 7th St. Entry — is alternately so fun it hurts and so full of hurt it edges on funny. Many of the songs and stories follow her return to Minnesota after studying in Europe for five years.

There's the ex-boyfriend who ghosted her to play the online video game "Fortnite," after which she wished him bad Wi-Fi in the bittersweet viral hit "Your Internet Sucks." There's the long, hard breakup that convinced her to be a compulsive online dater in the rockier "Slutphase."

Maybe best/worst of all, there are all the prospective boyfriends in the bubbling-under hit "Boys Who Kiss You in Their Car" who still live with their parents — a song that shrewdly encapsulates these hard post-pandemic times for young romantics.

"There's this weird cross section of boys right now who wear beanies and want to be [British band] the 1975, and that happens to be exactly my type," Ber said over coffee and under her new bangs last month.

"If you're in your 20s and coming out of a pandemic and broke and living with our parents, that's what you're gonna get. But they won't be those beanie-wearing boys forever! So I see that song as a funny time stamp, really."

You could date most of the songs on "Halfway" to the year and a half Ber spent living in her uncle and aunt's basement in south Minneapolis, after residing in England for four years. Suffice it to say this, too, was a crisis period.

Ber had to leave behind her managers, music collaborators, friends and then-boyfriend (the "Fortnite" bloke) in England because her visa expired once she finished her four years of studying at Leeds College of Music. This was in January 2021, with COVID-19 lockdowns still rampant.

"My uncle and aunt were so kind to me," she recounted. "They watched me be really sad and told me to snap the [bleep] out of it all the time, which I really needed to hear."

She snapped out of it through work. Ber's management team lined up songwriting sessions for her with dozens of writers and producers via Zoom. Then she found new collaborators living just a few blocks away in south Minneapolis who are successful indie-pop musicians in their own right.

"I was so inspired by her enthusiasm, groundedness and ability to pull incredible melodies and lyrics out of thin air," said Brad Hale, half of the Minneapolis duo Now, Now.

Along with bandmate Cacie Dalager, Hale helped Ber write several songs on the new EP, including the cheekily titled "Superspreader" — in which she compares new dating prospects to the mediocre food at the sports bar where she worked.

"She knows how to extract experiences from her life that are incredibly specific but relatable on a large scale," Dalager said.

"Superspreader" helped spread the viral traction behind Ber ahead of the EP's release last month. That traction initially started last year via TikTok with "Meant to Be," a boy/girl duet with British cohort Charlie Oriain that sweetly puts a positive spin on a romantic breakup. It racked up 70 million streams and counting.

"The timing of it was perfect," Ber said of "Meant to Be."

"So many people at that moment had relationships go to [bleep] because of the pandemic. So it resonated with a lot of people, even though it was a very personal song to me."

Ber did not seriously start writing songs until she spent a year living in her family's ancestral home of Norway, after graduating from Bemidji High School, on a fellowship-like program funded by Minneapolis' Sons of Norway Foundation.

She was very musical before that, though, performing in orchestra, show choir and musicals while growing up. In fact, the last time she said she cut her bangs was to play the lead role in her school's "Peter Pan."

"Bemidji is actually a really great place to grow up for any kid who's into the arts," she noted.

She now calls St. Paul home and has no plans to leave anytime soon — except for when she's on tour with her new band, of course, which features two other Twin Citians, Brian Jost (guitar) and Erik Bear (drums). She plans to be gigging a lot over the next year, including opening slots like the one she snagged with Lissie at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis on Saturday following her Entry show.

Her new apartment in St. Paul is where this past New Year's Eve her current boyfriend snapped the photo that graces the cover of her "Halfway" EP: It shows Ber from behind crouched face-first over a toilet flipping off the camera and presumably doing what one does after too many tequila shots.

"We looked at a lot of different options for cover photos, and none seemed as perfect as that one," she said. "You know, because it's a record where I'm puking up my emotions and all that."

With more self-deprecating snark, she added, "The sad thing was: That was taken at about 10 p.m., not even close to midnight."

As with a lot of Ber's songs, most of us can relate to her pain and laugh it off.


When: 7 p.m. Fri.

Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls.

Tickets: Sold out.