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Lukas Graham Singer on His New Daughter and How His Dad’s Death Inspired His Music: ‘I’m Sad He Can’t Meet Her’

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On the heartbreaking new Lukas Graham single “You’re Not There,” frontman Lukas Forchhammer sings about his father’s death and the events he won’t get to share with him.

“You’re not there to celebrate the man that you made / You’re not there to share in my success and mistakes / Is it fair you’ll never know the person I’ll be / You’re not there with me,” the tearjerking ballad’s chorus goes.

Now that the song’s lyricist has become a parent himself, the song is all the more poignant.

“Most songs take on new shapes and forms as you progress through life,” Forchhammer, 28, tells PEOPLE exclusively of the track.

Courtesy Lukas Forchhammer
Courtesy Lukas Forchhammer

“I’m sad that he can’t meet her and get to know her with me. Luckily I have a massive family — an amazing mom, two wonderful sisters and both of my grandmothers are still alive — so it’s not like she won’t have company.”

Forchhammer grew up in Christiana, a hippie commune in Copenhagen, and formed the band Lukas Graham after dropping out of law school. The Danish pop group found success in Europe after posting songs on YouTube and, with the help of Forchhammer’s dad Eugene, booked shows and toured. But just as they began building buzz on tour, Forchhammer’s father died in September 2012.

The loss sent the young singer, 24 at the time, spiraling for a time — before he reined in his grief and channeled it into his music, informing the band’s entire debut album, Lukas Grahamas well as their breakout single “7 Years.”

Courtesy Lukas Forchhammer
Courtesy Lukas Forchhammer

The heartbreaking hit introduced the soulful singer to the masses, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100, scoring his band a VMA nomination (and pre-show performance slot) — and making him a likely contender for the 2017 Grammy Awards’ coveted Best New Artist title.

Following the release of successful second single “Mama Said,” Forchhammer and longtime girlfriend Marie-Louise “Rillo” Schwartz Petersen welcomed their daughter in September, and the singer has since escaped the spotlight to enjoy a two-month paternity leave before hitting the road on tour.

Good morning 👣

A photo posted by Marie-louise (@rilloschwartz) on

As he basks in his new duties as a dad, Forchhammer says he’ll take parenting cues from his own father.

“Communication is key,” he says. “Being truthful and honest with your children, especially when they ask questions.”