Meet Astrid_S, Norweigan singer/songwriter. At 22, Astrid has recently surpassed the threshold of 1 billion global streams, solidifying her presence in the industry and marking herself as one to watch.
Having stolen the hearts of listeners worldwide with her single Hurts So Good, co-written with songwriting powerhouse Julia Michaels, Astrid has steadily continued to wow with releases like Emotion and Think Before I Talk. Her latest single, Someone New, co-written with Charli XCX and Noonie Bao, hooks listeners in with its catchy, energetic chorus and delivers the same poppy melodies we’ve come to love from Astrid.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
Going back to the beginning, when did you discover that you loved music and how did you get to where you are today?
“I’ve always loved music and my parents have been really supportive. They signed me up for singing lessons and piano lessons [starting] from when I was five. That’s just been a hobby and something that I’ve always loved to do. When I turned 15, I signed up for a singing competition in Norway, which led me to get signed to Universal Music in Norway. That’s when I started writing songs and I was able to put them out and it’s taken me to where I am today.”
When did you decide to go all in with music and pursue it full-time. Was that a hard decision for you to make?
“Yeah, I remember it as a really hard decision actually. I was 17 and I was in high school. At that time I didn’t have a label, but I had a manager and a publishing deal with Sony/ATV just as a songwriter, so I would write songs during the weekend and any time I had a school break, and then I just felt very divided between school and music and I wasn’t in a good place because of that so I asked my parents if I was allowed to quit school and pursue music full-time and they said yes! It was when I was 17, I moved to Oslo, the capital of Norway, and I’ve done music full-time since.”
Was there a notable tipping point for you where it went from “let’s see where it goes” to “this is big now”?
“I think it was in 2016. I got this support tour with Troye Sivan and at the same time I released a song of mine called “Hurts So Good” and it just went really well and it traveled outside of Norway so people started to recognize me and listen to my music outside of Norway as well, and I was on this tour and I remember I just felt like I was really living the dream. It’s very cliché, but I feel like that was the point where I realized that this is what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life and I was actually able to making a living out of it and that was really special. And I was so young. I was 19 at the time so that was really cool.”
Tell me more about your sound. How would you describe it?
“I would describe my sound as electronic pop with an urban twist, maybe. I would call it lush. I hope that people think it’s fun, and to me, it’s colorful. When I listen to it, I see all kinds of colors. I think that’s how I would describe it.”
And you’ve co-written with some big names like Charli XCX. Tell me, what’s it like working and being in the studio with such talented people?
“It’s just really fun. I don’t think it’s what people think it’s like because I remember when I was young, I imagined Rihanna and JAY-Z being in the studio together writing “Umbrella” and then eating candy and getting along. Usually, some of my collaborations have happened through me writing a song and then I send it to them and they want to produce it and then we make a collaboration out of it and then we meet. Maybe not even before the track is released, but sometimes after. Other collaborations have been emailing [where] we email to write the song, or it could be someone asking me to sing on their songs. So it’s really different from time to time, but I’m still waiting for that collaboration where I’m able to be in the studio with someone, write the song, eat candy, and have fun together.”
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome throughout all of this and starting a career?
“There’s this one specific thing that comes to mind. It’s just the constant conflict. I think, to me, it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. There are so many people involved and so many decisions and in the end, it’s just all about the songs I write, which are about my feelings and it’s my name and just me being really out there and representing the whole thing so I think that’s the biggest challenge—to always feel like I am 100% comfortable and proud of everything I’m doing. There are so many opinions and people around me so it’s hard to take care of those relations and stay true to who I am and be proud of everything and comfortable with everything. So yeah, I think that’s overall the biggest challenge.”
And was there a song that you really enjoyed the process of making? A song that just fell together and clicked when you were making it?
“Several! It’s really different, but I like this one time I was in LA. I think I was 18, and I was writing with a girl named Emily Warren for the first time. We had two days together with a producer and in two days we wrote two songs that ended up on my EP and they’re called “Jump” and “I Don’t Wanna Know.” I just remember it felt really organic and we had these great conversations while we were writing the lyrics so it just all felt very natural and organic and conversational. And after the sessions I just felt so good about myself and it felt like a weight had [lifted] from my shoulders so that was a really good experience and that’s one of the best experiences I’ve had with writing songs.”
Do you have a favorite lyric that you’ve written?
“There’s a song that I really like and every time I perform it—I don’t perform it that often—it gives me this lump in my throat and it’s a song called “Does She Know” and I just overall like the lyrics because I felt like I was really able to put into words exactly how I was feeling.”
Who are some artists who really inspire you?
“I think Ariana Grande is very inspiring. She’s just doing so well right now. It’s insane and she’s so powerful and she seems so strong and independent and she knows what she wants. She’s just so talented so she’s very inspiring. And then I think it’s so cool to see Dua Lipa winning Best New Artist at the GRAMMYs (read our exclusive interview with Dua Lipa here). I feel like she’s just blown up and suddenly now she’s one of the biggest artists in the world, so that’s very inspiring to see, and I can tell that she works really hard. There are so many, but I think those two are the first ones that come to mind.”
what can we expect from you in the coming year in terms of projects that you’re working on?
“Right now I’m just working on my debut album, which seems to take forever because I just always go back and re-write stuff and then that’s my favorite song but then suddenly I don’t like it anymore. I’m a very indecisive person so it takes a long time, but that’s the main thing and the main focus for me right now and then hopefully I’ll just release more music and the album and hopefully do some collaborations with other people.”