Norwegian pop sensation Astrid S is the new girl on the scene, and she’s done pretty well for herself. From winning an MTV EMA to playing football from a young age, is there anything Astrid can’t do?
We had the pleasure to catch up with the 20 year old songstress over some coffee to chat about our tastes in clothes, nail polish and more importantly music…
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO START THIS PROJECT; WHEN DID IT ALL BEGIN?
My intention wasn’t ever to start a project, it just happenend very naturally. I bought a guitar, I started writing songs and I got a record deal with a manager. Then everything just started happening.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY INFLUENCES YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC?
What influenced me to buy a guitar and start writing was John Mayer; I love him but that’s not the kind of music I make now. I remember listening to Robyn and Jhene Aiko; she is very R&B, but yeah Robyn has influenced me a lot with her Electro Pop. There’s also a lot of Norwegian artists too. But when I was little I would listen to Britney Spears. I loved Maroon 5, and it’s funny because their album with “She Will Be Loved” and “This Love” is pretty old now. I was 7 years old when that came out!
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND YOUR SINGLE “BREATHE”?
It’s a very lush pop song. I think production wise it has a little bit of an edge to it, it’s just very sweet and is about how someone takes your breath away because you’re so in love with them. For me, I really wanted to put it together in a way that shows it’s about moments or experiences. Like, how being on stage can take my breath away. It’s just about that lovely feeling of being overwhelmed by someone, or something, in a very good way.
I CAN SEE YOU LOVE BEING UNIQUE AND QUIRKY WITH YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS; DO YOU GET TO HAVE A CREATIVE SAY IN HOW EVERYTHING GOES?
Yes, I very much have a say in everything that’s going on. I think that’s how it should, or at least how I want it to be. I’m kept in the loop so I can agree or disagree, and I’m very visual with what I write. I’m very invested in songs and in the music video, but at the same time I love everyone I work with. They have knowledge and experience. It’s a collaboration; sometimes I have the idea of what it’s going to turn out to be, and sometimes someone else has a better idea and we go with that.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR SONG WRITING PROCESS. WHAT GOES ON IN YOUR HEAD?
Usually the melodies come first, but I prefer to start with a beat or some chords to get inspired. I write a lot when I’m not supposed to write, it’s weird because I’m like “Oh, I have a whole day off I could write!” but it doesn’t work like that. It happens when I get in the shower, an Uber or a plane. I get all of these ideas, probably because I know I should be focussing on something else, so I end up sitting in a corner on my phone trying to record it or type it into a note. Then I’ll bring it to the studio and I’ll be like “Hey! This is what I want to write about! I had this idea in an Uber on my way here…”
BY THE LOOKS OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, YOU SEEM TO BE LOVING LONDON! DO YOU VISIT OFTEN?
I love London! I haven’t been here that often and it’s all work related so I haven’t really seen many areas of London. But I come here maybe 3 or 4 times a year; usually staying in Notting Hill because my manager has a friend that lets me live in his house. I love that area, it’s nice and very posh I think. There’s also an amazing cinema called The Electric! I’ve been to Shoreditch too, that’s really cool. Also this street, where there’s a market [Brick Lane].
DID YOU FIND YOURSELF BEING QUICKLY COMPARED TO OTHER MUSICIANS? IF SO, DO YOU FEEL THIS IMPACTED YOU IN ANY WAY?
I’m a big fan of most artists. I listen to a lot of styles and anyone I’ve been compared to I’ve taken as a compliment. It inspires me to be better and motivates me to write good songs. So, I don’t think it’s influenced me in a bad way. In the beginning you get compared a lot but now I’m making a name for myself, starting to at least, and that feels nice too.
DO YOU FOLLOW ANY RITUALS BEFORE YOUR PERFORMANCES?
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say, but I shout out a lot of bad words! It just makes the pressure, like, go. It feels better. I drink a little bit of tea too, hi-five with my band and try to relax and get in the mood.
DO YOU PREFER PLAYING LIVE OR RECORDING YOUR MUSIC?
They’re both good in different ways. Live I think though, but I’m probably saying that because now I’ve had a break from performing and I’m really eager to get back on stage. But, there’s something special about singing a song. There are so many people with different cultures and religions in the crowd, and they’re singing your lyrics, it’s a moment where everyone just forgets everything else except that song. You know, that song you had the idea for in an Uber?! It’s a very special moment.
SO, YOU USED TO PLAY FOOTBALL? IS THAT TRUE?
250 keepy uppies was my record when I was 15/16, now I can probably just do 20 or something. But I used to play a lot of football because I went to a football high school in Norway. I was never serious about it, I just loved playing and I wanted to do it for as long as I could until music came into my life.
YOU ALSO WON AN MTV EMA, HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Crazy, I did not expect it! There were so many good artists in my category and I never expected that to happen. It was really cool, I have it in my room; you know that might be the only time I win that award and it’s really cool to be the first Norwegian to win it. It was really really cool and I appreciate people voting for and supporting me.
HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH SHAWN MENDES HAPPEN?
It was amazing, we are on the same label in America – we’re on Island. So they asked me if I wanted to do this song with Shawn Mendes and I was like “of course I want to do a song with Shawn Mendes!” The song is called Air, it’s on his debut album, I think it’s nearly been a year since its release.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND ON YOUR MUSIC PLAYLIST?
Right now I actually listen to a lot of indie pop, very organic like Bon Iver and Benjamin Francis. Alternative pop. It’s just really nice to put on in the morning, and there’s this Norwegian band I just discovered, they only have like 14,000 on some of their songs and 100,000 hits at the most over all, they’re called Hajk, really good indie pop music. Again, it’s just organic and nice to listen to, people should check them out!
WHAT’S THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED AS AN ARTIST, SO FAR, AND WHY?
There’s so many things I’ve learned doing this, meeting people is what I find most interesting and maybe it’s one of the things I love the most about what I do; there’s so many different people out there and I think this is probably super cliché but I’ve learned that you can’t judge anyone. I feel like I’ve seen so much and learned a lot about people that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Really just to be accepting and understanding, a lot of cliché things.
CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT THE PLANS YOU HAVE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?
I have a lot of plans, most of which are not set in stone yet, so I don’t wanna say too much because suddenly people will be like “oh no that’s not happening”; but I think I’m going to be touring and releasing two EPs, so one this spring and one towards fall. And I’m going to try and write an album this year to release next year. Then I have summer festivals but I hope I get some time off to hang out with my family. Maybe I’ll try to take my drivers licence this year. We’ll see.