Sigrid and Her Scanda-Pop Continue to Slay
Since Sigrid was announced as BBC’s Music Sound of 2018, the Norwegian popstar’s career has reached dizzy heights, performing at some of Europe’s biggest festivals, including Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds. This week, her follow up album ‘How to Let Go’ was being released, internationally. It has big shoes to fill.
Sigrid began writing music at the tender age of 16. Her first song was titled ‘Sun’ and was dedicated to her brother, who helps produce Sigrid’s music. In 2013, Sigrid released ‘Sun’ as her debut single, which quickly generated a lot of attention from her native Norwegian radio stations. Soon after, she signed a humble record deal with Petroleum Records, and never looked back.
“It was a crazy few years,” she recalls in an interview with the Guardian reflecting on her breakout success. “But I also remember feeling bittersweet at the end, too. My band, crew and I were all Norwegian and experiencing everything for the first time. It was so exciting. The energy was unstoppable, and you’re just running on adrenaline.”
Sucker Punch is the title of Sigrid’s first album. And, the record served as a collection of colourful pop anthems on resided on an overwhelmingly wholesome and positive note throughout. No surprise, then, that Sigrid has chosen a darker direction for her follow up album, ‘How to Let Go’. “The world just feels smaller and smaller every day. It’s a scary time,” she says, “I think sometimes you can almost become paralysed by that fear.”
‘How to Let’ go appears to use the weirdness of the pandemic as its creative context. In some of the more sombre tracks, like ‘It Gets Dark’ and ‘Risk of Getting Hurt’, Sigrid gets personal, digging deep into her psyche and the complexity of navigating love and purpose in a fucked-up world. Then, out of the blue, comes ‘Mirror’, a burst of pure pop energy that freshens up the album. “I love who I see, looking at me, in the mirror” – the lyrics pack a positive punch.
The reaction to the album so far has been mixed. On one hand, fans love it as they get to learn more about their idol. But some critics are struggling to relate to Sigrid and fear her lack of “uniqueness” or “bold character,” may lead to a brief career. Although a valid point from a commercial perspective, critics are failing to see Sigrid’s appeal. In an oversaturated market of big-budget, attention-seeking and feud-starting popstars, Sigrid offers a sense of calm relatability. Sigrid wants to win over the hearts of her listeners, not the tabloids.
And, about to embark on a worldwide tour, Sigrid is defying the critics; living life to the fullest. “This is going to sound so cheesy, but I’ve learned that I’m stronger and more fun than I think,” she says. “Sometimes I entertain thoughts about what life would be like if I wasn’t doing this and lived in Norway, but then I think, ‘No!’ This album has really taught me that nothing moves me how music does. I’m back, and I’m hungry to get out there.”