It was back in 2015 when Astrid S. opened up for Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood tour in Dublin that I had first heard of this Norweigian singer songwriter. She brought so much spirit to the stage and energy onto the crowd that it was clear she was destined for greatness. Three years following this encounter, Astrid is now 23 years old and has reached wide acclaim with over 7,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Astrid graciously chatted to me about her start on Pop Idol, her inspirations, and her outlook on the future.
After receiving a genuinely warm greeting by Astrid, we begin the discussion about when she knew she wanted to become a professional singer. “I’ve done it my whole life, but I didn’t do it professionally until I was 16, after I was on a singing competition on Norwegian television. So, it wasn’t until I joined the TV show that I knew that this is what I wanna to do. I remember it being the most exciting time of my life because it happened, it was kind of random that I auditioned for it and then it suddenly went over all of my expectations. I didn’t even think I would go through the audition, so I just remember it being overwhelming but in the best way, being able to sing and perform and it was kind of an epiphany because I just realised what I’m gonna do with my life and this is what makes me the most happy so it was a great time.”
“I just remember it being overwhelming but in the best way, being able to sing and perform and it was kind of an epiphany because i just realised what i’m gonna do with my life.”
Shortly after Astrid placed fifth on Pop Idol, she began to work on her music career. With projects such as her self titled EP, Astrid S. and her other newer developments Party’s Over, Trust Issues and Down Low, the singer struggles to precisely describe her sound. “It’s always hard to describe your own music, but because I didn’t go to music school, I find it hard to put into words what my music sounds like but I guess it’s just electronic pop with an urban twist, that seems a bit lush to me.” Even though Astrid has a difficult time in defining her music, there is one aspect of releasing her own music that she finds important, songwriting. She passionately tells me, “I can only speak on my behalf, but for me it’s been very important I think to have a whole kind of ownership for a song you write yourself,” She continues this point by stating; “You’re supposed to release music that hopefully will connect to people and make you tour for years and maybe you will have to perform the song many, many times a year and for years. For me I think it’s been important and it’s the core to why I love being an artist to be able to make songs and meet songwriters and producers, and to explore how to put into words all of these feelings and situations that everyone goes through.” However, Astrid also reveals, “I think it’s totally up to each artist and sometimes I’ve had songs that have been pitched to me that I feel like I really can connect to and it really gives me the feeling of ‘I wish I had written this song’ or ‘I feel like this is something that I could’ve written.’ I don’t see any wrong in performing that song, I think it’s up to every artist and do whatever feels right.”
“I Think all an artist can do as a support act or main act is to be yourself and then naturally the people tht connect to you will maybe become your fan as well.”
The singer elaborates on this point by telling me about a new experience she has had in songwriting when she asked her fans to tweet her their favorite lines or phrases. She reveals the thought process of this idea. “If I can remember correctly, I think it was me and my team we were in a meeting and I think we had done some research on all of their artists at the label and they try to figure out what or how they are perceived on the different territories. We came into the conversation that not a lot of people know that I write my own songs and a lot of people assume that I don’t.” With this concept, Astrid called out to her fans on Twitter to help her create a song in 24 hours and uploaded the results. This video has reached over 130,000 views on YouTube and counting. She continues her story by stating, “So we thought of a way to show people that I write my own music and to show them how I do it and on top of that maybe involve them in some kind of way. I think that’s how the idea started and then we came up with the idea of writing a song within 24 hours of suggestions by my fans. That was a very fun experience.”
Along with seeking inspiration from fans, Astrid S. is also motivated by other music artists. She divulges her favourite artists at the moment and who share would love to work with in the future. “I really loved Tove Lo’s debut album, Queen of Crowds, and also Troye Sivan. I think it’s really cool what Billie Eilish is doing these days too. I would love to collaborate with Troye Sivan because he’s one of my favourite artists and has been for so many years. It would be a dream to work with Tove Lo, I think she’s a great songwriter. I think there’s so many I want to collaborate with, but I think those two are on the top of my list.” After spending countless months on tour opening up for Troye Sivan, there is no doubt that Astrid only has respect for this Australian singer and his fans. She reflects on her first experience opening up for Troye and states, “I remember that being extremely exciting. I was maybe 18 years old back then and I was such a big fan of him, so it was great. Back then, everything was so new and my career had just started off by being a supporter and having no idea what to expect. His fans were so incredibly welcoming and I could really feel like they cared for me and connected with me and my music.” The Norweigan singer explains, “I think all an artist can do as a support act or a main act is to be yourself and then naturally the people that connect to you will maybe become your fan as well, which is what I’m hoping when I do support stuff is to try to find or reach out to the people that haven’t heard my music yet and who would like to listen and connect to it.”
Apart from being a supporting act for artists, Astrid S. has also headlined two tours, Party’s Over as well as Stripped Down Tour. Although she enjoys opening up for musicians, Astrid gleefully says, “It’s just another level of excitement” when she is able to headline her own tour. She continues this point, “It’s so cool to get people to listen to my songs and think that they’re there to see me. That’s such a special feeling. I think there’s a lot of thought behind it. Additionally, Astrid expresses that her favorite aspect of touring is “definitely the shows and to see the audience, because with all the numbers online with streams and followers and stuff, it’s so special to see upfront how people actually are so excited to see you or listen to a specific song. I don’t know, you can tell by the look of people’s face what kind of relationship they have to my music, to the different songs I play. It’s very absurd in a way, but sometimes I try to take it all in and it’s the most special feeling in the world.” Astrid also discusses her relationship with her music and how she remains authentic to herself in her songs. She specifically talks about a song from Down Low called ‘Part of Me’ and how she resonates so closely with it. “It’s a song that I put a lot of thought into. I just remember feeling that day in the studio after we recorded the demo, that this weight was off of my shoulders. I had this concept, these thoughts that I have been thinking the whole summer and finally I was able to put it into a 3 minute long song. It just felt so good to be able to put into words how I felt and it’s a song that means a lot to me, so I think that’s my favourite off the EP. I love all the lyrics in Part of Me because it’s so genuine and it’s one hundred percent exactly what I would like to say so it’s hard to choose one specific line.” Although her newest EP was just released in September, Astrid says that she is continuing to make music and reveals her plans for 2020. She has already planned on touring around the US and will be playing Manchester, London and Glasgow in April. We close our conversation by discussing Astrid’s aspirations for next year. “Hopefully I’ll keep working on my debut album and my next tour and then have everything else ready for 2020. It’s a little bit scary but it’s mostly exciting.” She keenly affirms, “I just try to focus on making an album that I feel proud of now and that I feel is authentic to me.”