"7 Years" is a song by Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham from their second studio album, Lukas Graham. The song was released as a digital download on 18 September 2015 by Copenhagen Records. The lyric video was uploaded to YouTube on 17 November 2015, and the music video was uploaded on 15 December 2015.
It topped the charts in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, and Canada, while reaching the top ten in other European countries, as well as the United States. The song was written by Lukas Forchammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Ristorp, and Morten "Pilo" Pilegaard. The song was produced by Stefan Forrest and Morten Ristorp under their stage name Future Animals, and Pilegaard. The song was mixed by Delbert Bowers and Morten Pilegaard.
On December 6, 2016, "7 Years" was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Frontman Lukas Graham Forchhammer described "7 Years" as a song about his life so far and what he hopes to achieve in the future. He said that the reason the lyrics go as far as the age of 60 is because his father died at 61 and he needed to "pass it to believe it." He continued: "It's a song about growing older. I'm also coming to a realisation that being a father is the most important thing. My biggest dream is not to be some negative old dude, but to have my kids' friends say, 'You're going to visit your dad? Say hi! He's awesome.' I had a perfect father."
Regarding the band's prior failure to break into the international market Forchhammer stated, "It's like my father died at exactly the right moment – and I know that's something I shouldn't say, but I just did! If my dad hadn't died in 2012 I wouldn't have written our song Happy Home, which catapulted us into a Scandinavian success story. I wouldn't have written 7 Years, which got us signed to a publisher in America and ultimately signed to Warner Bros."
"7 Years" is a soul-pop song with hip hop influences, written in the key of G minor. It runs at 60 bpm. It is accompanied by a midtempo piano line, a percussion backbeat, slideshow projector incorporations, and a synthesized string section.
Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten critic Anders Houmøller Thomsen compared the song to The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four": "The ballad '7 Years' sounds like a current answer to The Beatles' 'When I'm Sixty-Four'. '7 Years' bubbles with ignited storytelling about life's fast speed, when the daydreams of childhood and youth suddenly becomes replaced by retirement-melancholia. Graham finds his own path between sweet sentimentality and heartbreaking empathy, and like a young McCartney, Graham also has a similar instinctive ability to craft superglue-sticking choruses."
Time gave "7 Years" a negative review: “Good luck explaining the meteoric popularity of this (yes, catchy) chewy contemporary pop-rock ballad, which makes a listener yearn for the artistic integrity of a band like Maroon 5.”
For the issue dated 6 February 2016, "7 Years" debuted at number 96 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It became Lukas Graham's first single on the Hot 100. The song peaked at number two on the chart dated 9 April 2016, and became the highest-charting Danish act since "Apache" (1961) by Jørgen Ingmann. The song stayed there for four non-consecutive weeks, being held off of the top spot by Rihanna and Drake's "Work" and Desiigner's "Panda". "7 Years" also debuted at number 28 on the US Digital Songs chart with 26,000 digital copies sold. During 2016, the song sold 2.089 million copies in the US, making it the fourth best-selling song of the year, behind The Chainsmokers' "Closer", Flo Rida's "My House" and Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling!".
On 12 February 2016, "7 Years" peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, with combined weekly sales of 105,000 units (including 3.65 million streams). The song became the first number-one single by a Danish act since Aqua's "Turn Back Time" (1998). On 11 March 2016, "7 Years" spent its fifth consecutive week at number-one, becoming the longest-running number-one single by a Danish act. On 18 March 2016, "7 Years" was replaced by Mike Posner's "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" at number one, selling 261 copies less than Posner.
"7 Years" peaked at number one on the Australian Singles Chart, which makes Lukas Graham only the third Danish act to chart at number one (since Cut 'N' Move's "Give It Up", and Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and "Doctor Jones"). On the chart issue dated 11 April 2016, "7 Years" spent its eighth consecutive week at number one, becoming the longest-running number-one single by a Danish act. It overtook the previous record set by Aqua's "Doctor Jones", which spent seven consecutive weeks at number one in 1997–98.
A music video to accompany the release of "7 Years" was first released onto YouTube on 15 December 2015 at a total length of four minutes. As of January 2017, it has received over 470 million views on YouTube.
English singer Jasmine Thompson released a cover version of the song on 22 April 2016 through Atlantic Records. On 24 April 2016, Dutch singer Jan Versteegh released a cover version of the song through 8Ball Music, which was later included on his debut album It Takes Swing which was released on 13 May 2016. English singer Conor Maynard covered the song on the album Covers, which was released on 5 August 2016 by Parlophone. Linkin' Bridge, an American musical group from Louisville, Kentucky covered the song during the semi-finals of NBC's America's Got Talent season 11 on September 14, 2016.