Sigrid has lost her phone. “I think I left it in the restroom,” she frets, tossing a banana on the backseat of the cab and darting back inside to presumably upend the toilets. It’s not surprising – she flew in first thing this morning, went straight to a TV recording, is about to jump in a taxi for this interview on the way to the shoot, before she jets off somewhere else exciting tomorrow with the passport she’s relocated after ransacking her suitcase post cellphone saga. She’s a busy gal.
This past year has seen the Norwegian wunderkind catapult into the public pop psyche after the release of ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe‘, a sassy, self-assured rebuttal to a group of older dudes she worked with in a writing session, who made some ageist comments that were, quite frankly, “not cool.” Not smart, either. Sigrid is the definition of how spin doctors try to paint popstars, and the opposite of what they probably are. She’s hard working, grounded and intelligent. “I guess I’m very normal,” she explains, “but also not normal at all.”
That just about sums it up. As the release of her latest EP evidences, she’s a singing, dancing, banger-churning paradox. Her music simultaneously makes you want to cry, and run around smashing pans through ceilings, glass or otherwise. Her voice is liltingly soft, yet laced with a guttural rasp. She dons a plain tee shirt and denim jeans so effortlessly that you can’t tell if she’s just stepped out of a fashion campaign or a combi van. Performances at Glastonbury and SXSW showcased a calm, composed figure, who’ll suddenly flick out a limb to punctuate a downbeat and your heart will spasm.
With her first headline tour next year already selling out, and an almost finished album on our Google Alerts, we caught a cab with Sigrid to catch up on lost phones, platonic speed dating and starring in the Sims.
Do you lose things all the time now?
It’s happened three times maybe. It’s the travelling – you’re always going somewhere in a hurry, and your mind is thinking ‘just be fast’. And then you forget everything else.
What’s the worst thing you’ve forgotten?
I left my phone in a toilet at an airport in America, before SXSW. So I ran back and couldn’t find it – and that’s all my voice memos, my lyrics, everything. And then I went to the service centre, and they were like, ‘oh it’s here!’ And I’m not religious, but I was like ‘Oh, god bless you.’
This has definitely been a hectic year for you though.
Yeah, it’s crazy. Sometimes you have to step away for three minutes and be like, this is actually happening. It’s hard to realise that it’s real because I’ve been dreaming about it for a long time.
When did you decide to really try the whole popstar shebang?
Not that long ago to be honest. At one stage I wanted to be a children’s doctor, but then I realised I didn’t like blood. Then I wanted to study law, and then I wanted to be a teacher. But after high school my parents were like, I think you should try music, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
I wanted to be a children’s doctor, but then I realised I didn’t like blood.
When did it get serious?
When I signed my management deal in Norway. My manager told me, ‘ok, I’m putting you on a flight to London and you’re going to do writing sessions.’ That’s when I decided to do it fulltime. There’s no use doing things half hearted. I hate doing things half hearted.
How were the writing sessions?
It’s kind of like speed dating, but without the romantic side of it. It’s weird, but I love it.
How do you when you’ve found the one?
When it feels like it’s all melting together, rather than just forcing ideas upon each other and trying to make a song out of it. It comes naturally. Natural is the key word for what I want to make. Something that has nerve, something that says something.
What makes you want to write a song?
I find frustration very inspiring, and I always write about human relations. It can be meeting new people, if I see how someone treats somebody else – that can inspire me. I think it’s important to shine a light on discrimination in any form. But I don’t want to sound preachy in my songs – and it’s hard to write about things going on in the world without sounding like I think I know everything. Because I don’t! I’m twenty years old and grew up in a small town in Norway.
‘Don’t Kill Me Vibe’ is about people undermining you as a young female, right?
Well, there’s a lot of nice men out there. But I think it was the combination of young girl meets older men in a writing room. Some comments were not cool, at all, and I was frustrated because I didn’t speak up. People are afraid of speaking up because of the consequences – I’ve been there myself. And that’s hard after the ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ thing, because I made a song about speaking up, and I still find myself in situations where I find it hard to know when you’re overreacting, or when you should say this is not ok.
How do you deal with that?
Sometimes I find it easier to sing about it. Like when the #metoo campaign came out – it was so cool to see all the support that we’re giving each other. I wanted to say something about it and I was drafting all these Instagram posts. But then I figured – why don’t I just write a song about it? So we did. Music is powerful in that way. But also, I don’t want to take myself too seriously. Sometimes I want to make important songs, and sometimes I just want to make a song.
Speaking of which, you just made a Simlish version of ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ right?
Yes! I’ve been a Sims gamer for a long time. I’m out of practise now though.
It’s a skill.
It is. Our mum and dad bought a computer really early on, and Sims One was in it, and me and my sister became really serious gamers. We had all the Sims 2 packages, all the extras, 40 pages of cheating codes. We were full on.
And now you have a song in the game?
Yep. They sent us word document where they had translated Don’t Kill My Vibe into Simlish. And there was a guide track so I knew the correct pronunciation. I think that’s actually one of my biggest achievements, I’m not kidding. It’s crazy to do something where you can fulfil your childhood dream in your work. My sister was so proud.
What’s your favourite meme?
Anything on @musiccitymemes.
What’s been the biggest plot twist in your life?
Becoming a pop musician.
What’s your favourite piece of
A spoon. It’s cosy.
Make up by Siobhan Furlong
This interview is taken from BEAT issue #23 – get your copy here!