Wir treffen Sigrid im Backstage Raum des Musik & Frieden im Wrangelkiez, wo sie an diesem Novemberabend ein Konzert geben wird. Die 20 Jahre alte Norwegerin ist seit letztem Jahr bei dem britischen Label Island Records unter Vertrag, doch von Starallüren keine Spur. Trotz ihres Alters hat sie vor ihrem Auftritt kein Lampenfieber, ganz im Gegenteil empfängt sie uns locker und fröhlich. Sie verzeichnet im Monat stattliche 2.6 Millionen Spotify-Hörer und begeistert ihre Fans mit ihrer starken, dynamischen Stimme und ihrem natürlichen Auftreten. Ihre Songs lassen sich irgendwo zwischen Synthie-Pop und Singer-Songwriter verorten.
Wir sprachen mit ihr darüber, wie sie ihre Songs schreibt, über Freundschaften und warum Katzen jede Mühe wert sind.
To start with a more untypical question: You once said that you love cats and that you could imagine to live in a house full of cats, so what makes you a cat person?
I love cats because you have to work to get their love. I just find that very fascinating, that they do whatever they want, they don’t care and when you do get them to care, that means everything. I remember I tried to make my cat love me for 15 years. After about 12 years of living together under the same roof, she finally appreciated me and that meant a lot to me. I would never do that for someone else, never, I would only do that for a cat.
You just released a new song, Strangers. Can you tell us where you got the idea for this song? Was it a personal encounter that you actually experienced?
Everything I write is personal. This is about meeting someone and you really want it to work. You really want it to be special, that type of movie romance. But you know, that reality is not like the movies, it is not perfect. That is what the song is about. People our age are always searching for perfection. It comes back to social media, we don’t want to live in reality. I guess, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are like a hyper reality; it is supposed to be real, but it is not.
When was the first time you knew making music is what you love and that you want to become a professional musician?
I think it was when I wrote my first song. I was 16 years old and I wrote a song called Sun, it is like a folk pop tune. BBC has a channel, where they introduce new artists in the national radio. We have the same in Norway, NRK P3 Untouched. They chose me as artist of the week, with the first song I have ever written. It was two weeks after I had put the song online and it was the first time I put anything online. Then I thought, ‘Oh shit, maybe I am actually quite good at it.’ It was natural for me to write it in English, because all my musical heroes were English: Coldplay, Keane, I love The Kooks, The Wombats and Adele especially.
How do you produce music? What comes first, the melody or the lyrics?
I usually start with melodies, I don’t know why. I look for melodies before lyrics. I do enjoy writing lyrics now, but melodies have always been the first thing I listen to, when I hear a song. I didn’t think that I had anything to say, because I thought my life is just so normal. And then I started writing about normal everyday stuff and figured out, ‘That actually works!’. I find it easier now to sing about things I experience myself.
In your song Dynamite, you sing in a very calm way, but it is also really strong. You have this very powerful expression, so what is the background of this song, what is the story behind it?
The story behind Dynamite is that I work a lot and it can be hard to find the time for private life, because you’re always on the run. It is about a general feeling. It is the same with Strangers, Dynamite and Fake Friends, it is personal to me but I collaborate with people when I write. When I write I am always in the studio with someone else, Martin Sjølie for example. I love working with him. We always try to turn my personal experience into a universal message. That is why in Dynamite and Don’t kill my vibe, we don’t want to give away too much of the story. To let people have their own imagination. I heard people saying that Dynamite is about relationships and not about working. In the end it is just about moving in different directions. It makes me really happy, that people can see themselves in the song. It makes the song live on its own.
Are you working on any more new music?
I am! Constantly! I’m very lucky and my team is amazing. We put up my calendar and it always consists of very different things: Festivals, support gigs, promo. And I am doing writing sessions in between. So I always come back to the studio. Being there is like being in one place with my feelings. If I have a negative experience, I can write about it and turn it into something positive. The studio is kind of a safe space, especially with Martin. We enjoy working together and we have this cosy studio in Oslo.
Referring to another song, Fake Friends, what is important to you in friendships?
Honesty! I want my friends to be honest with me and tell me when I am acting bad and when I am acting good. I think honesty is the key. And someone you can talk to! That is how my friends are. I have a very small and very close group of friends. I much rather prefer that then having like a lot of halfway friends. I think a best friend is someone you can talk to for hours and someone you can be silent with as well, just sitting on the same couch and doing different stuff.
Have you ever broken up with a friend? In Fake Friends it sounds a bit like you did.
More like drifted away. Maybe that is why I wrote the song. Because I didn’t get the closure.
How do you choose your outfits and styles?
I would not say that I am lazy with it. It is just when I go on stage my outfit is probably the last thing I think about. It was different in the beginning, because I thought, that is how it should be. When I looked at other artists they had a lot of cool outfits and I wanted to be that as well. But I am very comfortable in jeans and t-shirt. Dancing, performing in jeans and t-shirt makes me feel like I am in control and I can do whatever I want, instead of wondering ‘How does this look on me? Do I show too much skin?’ I can feel free and just run around. I like dressing up sometimes, but when I do my own stuff I go quite basic. I like experimenting in magazine shoots or when I go to those more fancy events, I dress up a bit. That can be fun. I think dressing up and wearing makeup is your own choice. It is such a shame that girls are being ashamed of wearing makeup. Do whatever you want and what feels best for you! If you want to show skin, do that.
You are the daughter of a city planner and an engineer. What does your home look like?
It is very cosy. That is what friends say when I bring them home. It has a lot of colours, I don’t think we have a single white wall inside our house. So it is not the typical Scandi house, it is an old wooden house from 1903. We have a garden, a big tree in the garden and a piano in the living room.
How do you celebrate Christmas with your family?
In my family we have a very strict tradition with Christmas. I go to church once a year. I’m not personally Christian and we are very relaxed with that, but we always go to church at Christmas to say ‘Hi’ to all our neighbours. All the people who live in that area, friends of my parents, wish each other a Happy Christmas. It is very nice, and then we go home, have porridge, a typical Norwegian Christmas dish. Later we have dinner – meat and a lot of side dishes. And then comes a really weird Norwegian tradition: We walk around the Christmas tree, sing funny Christmas songs and dance holding hands. Usually I or my grandmother play the piano. She was the one who taught me to play when I was 7.
Last question, if you could beam yourself off to any place right now, where would it be?
I would beam myself, maybe, maybe…home! My family and my friends would be in the living room, I would just go and hug everyone, and then I would talk to them for an hour or two, have a glas of wine and chill and then I would come back here and play! Just a quick tour to get a hug! I always miss my friends and family but I don’t want to leave the tour.
Interview von Charlotte von Bernstorff & Isabella Nadobny