Sigrid interview: 'Making pop is like a treasure hunt'

Sigrid interview: 'Making pop is like a treasure hunt'
From BBC - January 12, 2018

"Writing a good pop tune is difficult," says Sigrid, the Norwegian pop star who's just won the BBC's Sound of 2018.

"It's a challenge, but it's a good one - and when you find that one brilliant hook, it's the best feeling."

The 21-year-old only started writing music four years ago, when her brother - who's also a musician - invited her to play a show with him, on the condition she stopped playing Adele covers.

"I guess he figured out I had something in me, and I just needed that little push," she told the BBC earlier this year.

It certainly worked.

The then-teenager's first song, Sun, was playlisted on Norway's national radio station and, after a brief break to finish school, her next set of demos sparked a record label bidding war.

Island Records got the gig after pursuing the singer around Bergen; and launched Sigrid's international career with last year's exuberant and kooky and charismatic Do not Kill My Vibe EP.

The title track is her calling card. Inspired by a disastrous recording session in London where older, male producers patronised and demoralised her, it's a defiantly upbeat anthem to her own strength.

It's given her the opportunity to play around the world; bowling over audiences with her charismatically uninhibited performances (she is, to put it mildly, from the Lorde school of dancing).

Immediately after being told she'd won the Sound of 2018, Sigrid sat down with BBC News to discuss circuses, socks and the elusive quest for a perfect pop song.

Congratulations on winning the Sound of 2018! How does it feel?

I am really honoured. I just want to swear a lot, but I know I ca not do that on the BBC so I am trying to hold it in!

Previous winners include Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding. What does it mean to be in their company?

Adele's one of my favourite artists! It's huge and I do not think I am going to understand how big it is until I walk out of this room.

Is it true that the first time you sang in public was at a sort of home-made circus?

Haha! Yes! That was at my grandparents' cabin, which is situated in a bay 20 minutes from our house in Alesund. The children arranged a circus and we took money for people to come, which we spent on an inflatable dragon we could play on in the sea.

What did you sing?

A Norwegian song called Steinrysa Neri Bakken by Alf Prysen - it's like a traditional, old-school song.

Was that the moment you decided to be a singer?

That took quite a while, I think. I was a very shy kid. Very shy. But I started doing theatre when I was six years old and that really changed something. My more playful side came out of me.

Then, when I was in junior high I started doing covers - Ellie Goulding, Adele, Coldplay, Keane - and I would change the rhythm or the melody to make it my own. That's when I discovered I like to make stuff, not just copy it.

Then your first original song got picked up by the Norwegian equivalent of BBC Introducing.

That was a big moment for me. It was the first time someone told me I made cool stuff outside of my school.

But the thing was, I was very torn about what I wanted to do. I had a record contract, but I took a small break from releasing music because I wanted to finish school. At that point, I wanted to become a lawyer. I wanted to become a politics teacher. I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to do!

Did not you end up studying politics?

For two months! It was a three-year degree, but I only had the introduction. I am very glad I quit.

But I want to study some day. Maybe after my third album I will just go to Uni. That would be really cool.

Can you tell me about the recording session that inspired Do not Kill My Vibe? What did they do to you?

Just some mean comments. I am not sure if I want to go that deep into it.


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