Åse Kleveland is a Norwegian singer, guitarist, politician and activist. As a singer she is famous for her very dark, soulful voice. She also plays the guitar and has composed songs in the singer-songwriter tradition. She was also part of the vispop group Ballade! She began playing classical guitar at eight; at 10 she debuted in a radio show. Her first bout as a vispop singer was when she was 13. She released her first album in 1965. In 1966 she represented Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest . She broke a tradition expected of female performers at the time in that she was the first woman to not wear a dress, choosing a pantsuit instead. Kleveland is fluent in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, French and Japanese. She studied Law at the University of Oslo.
In 1986 she hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Norway in Bergen. In June 2007 she became Chairman of the Board of Human-Etisk Forbund, the Norwegian humanist organization, a position she held until 2013.