Astrid S Reveals What Takes Her Breath Away, Gushes Over Zara Larsson and Sigrid
You know what they say about Scandi-pop, right? There must be something in the water, and Norway's Astrid S is the latest pop export to prove that Europe, once again, does pop better.
After dropping her glistening self-titled EP last spring and supporting Australian pop superstar Troye Sivan on tour in the autumn of 2016, the 20-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter is poised to break out in a big way. Her forthcoming sophomore EP, Party's Over, boasts a collection of Top 40-primed jams, from the sultry, skittering "Breathe," to the hazy R&B of "Bloodstream," to its shimmering, yearning title track, "Party's Over."
Ahead of the EP's release, we caught up with the rising pop star to chat about her favorite European artists (our faves Dua Lipa, Zara Larsson and Sigrid all get some love), tailoring songs for U.S. radio and why Party's Over is a "beautiful metaphor."
Are you a big movie-watcher? I noticed your videos for “Breathe” and “Bloodstream” both have a very cinematic quality, like mini movies.
I love watching movies, and I’m very inspired by movies when it comes to songwriting! Usually I can relate to one of the characters, or a situation in the movie, and I get that feeling I had when I experienced it, which makes me want to write a song about it.
Which pop stars right now are most exciting to you? Who do think are pushing the boundaries?
I love Dua Lipa. She’s doing great! And her debut album is just amazing. I listen to it everyday. Also I think Zara Larsson is super cool, and I love how she’s so outspoken and edgy.
Since you hail from Norway, I’d love to know which Norwegian artists you’d like listeners to be more aware of! Who do you recommend?
Sigrid!!! She’s going to take over the world! Big time!
“Breathe” is so relatable to me, being about literally not being able to breathe around someone. What are some moments in your life where you experienced that sense of being overwhelmed?
Everyday! I get to travel so much, see new places and meet so many people. Also, what is the most breathtaking to me, are those moments when I’m on stage, and many people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and religions sing along to the words and melodies I’ve written. That is the most amazing feeling to me, and I have to pinch myself every time.
You’ve described your music before as “lush” (and I totally agree!). What are some visuals that come to mind when you think about your own songs?
Bright colors. A big theme park, with roller coasters and a spooky house. With sugar spin and popcorn. Sweet and salty! That’s what came to mind. I’m very visual when I write, and get a lot of inspiration from scrolling through Tumblr or Pinterest. I have picture folders to most of the songs I’ve written. It would be cool to release it as a book one day!
You recently worked in Los Angeles. Do you prefer American pop or European pop?
I think I prefer European pop at the moment, though I don’t think it’s too different. Since radio is still pretty big in the USA, the songs are still a little more tailored for radio, if that makes sense. In Europe streaming is so big, which I believe makes a huge impact on what becomes a hit — songs like “Royals" or "Somebody That I Used To Know" or "Stressed Out." They are so different from most radio pop songs these days.
You collaborated on a track for Shawn Mendes’ album. How was that experience?
It was so cool! I’m so amazed by how big he’s grown as an artist. That album feels forever ago. He’s moving so fast, and he’s already doing arena shows. I love both of his albums, and I’m very excited to hear his new stuff.
Are there any other specific artists you’re dying to work with?
Lots! I would love to collaborate with some Norwegian artists, like Sigrid. Or even some of the more urban Norwegian artists.
How did you decide to call the EP Party’s Over, aside from being the title of that track? Is that your favorite song off the EP?
I love all of the songs. I just think the "Party’s Over" song is a beautiful metaphor for how you want to stay in the moment, and don’t want something to be over. It could be a relationship, or you graduating, or turning 20 and not being a teenager anymore. Maybe moving to a new place! Change is good, but in the middle of it it can be very sad.
You’re about to embark on a pretty intense world tour in the autumn! Are you nervous about being on the road for three months all around Europe and North America? What are you most excited for?
Right now I’m just excited! Touring is my favorite thing, and hopefully I’ll get some time off in-between. I’m going to be eating a lot of pizza, and meeting my favorite people, traveling with my best friends (band/manager/photographer) and playing my new music!
When is the party really over? Or does it never really stop?
There’s always a party ending everyday. But also a new one being made. They are just chapters in our lives, ending and beginning.
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