Sigrid: the Scandi superstar on the music that made her
We spoke to the Norwegian pop star about who inspires her ahead of her Soho Presents show at 180 House in London
Wednesday 26 October 2022 By Sagal Mohammed Photography by James Perolls
Since debuting in 2013, Norwegian singer-songwriter Sigrid has cemented a reputation as a global pop powerhouse, with sold-out tours, number-one albums and a loyal fanbase worldwide. Last month, she released her second studio album How To Let Go – a firm follow-up to 2019’s Sucker Punch and a favourite among music critics like NME, who dubbed the project ‘life-affirming’. It was a fitting description, given the theme of the project, which sees the 26-year-old letting go of the past, mastering the art of acceptance and entering a new phase of her coming-of-age story.
On 2 November, Sigrid returns to London with a special performance at 180 House as the latest guest artist in our Soho Presents series. Ahead of her show, we spoke to the pop star about her earliest memories of music, her pre-stage ritual and the artists that excite her right now.
Can you please plot the exact moment when you first discovered your love for music? Describe it for us.
‘It’s hard to pinpoint one moment, but one that sticks out is maybe my sister Johanne and I dancing to our favourite songs in the living room. She used to choreograph little dance routines for us to do together and the one we did to “Switch” by the Sugababes was pretty epic.’
What was the first album you ever bought? Do you still listen to it?
‘Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay. And yes, absolutely. They’re still one of my favourite bands.’
Were your parents into music? If so, what did they listen to?
‘Yes, my dad must have one of the biggest Neil Young collections in Norway, so it was pretty cool when I covered “Old Man” with the BBC Orchestra live on Radio 2 and Neil Young himself approved the version to come out online. My mum played a lot of Joni Mitchell and Chet Baker at home, too.’
What’s your comfort track?
‘Lately it’s been “The Third Act” by Norwegian band Bigbang – a beautiful song that feels comforting yet sentimental.’
Do you ever listen back to your own music? If so, which track means the most to you and why?
‘Yeah, quite often actually [laughs]. It’s usually in my car when I’m driving around in Oslo. I honestly can’t choose a track that means the most. “Don’t Kill My Vibe” will always be a special one to me, and I’m so happy that it’s the song that has opened so many doors for me. I’ll never get tired of singing/ screaming those lyrics. But “It Gets Dark” is an important one, too. It’s the first song that was purposely written for my second album How To Let Go and I think it’s my favourite song I’ve ever made so far – at least top three.’
Who are your key musical inspirations?
‘I’m inspired by everything, really. As long as it’s catchy, I’ll listen to almost anything. I guess Scandipop will always be a big part of me – but Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and ABBA have all inspired this new record a lot.’
If you could play one musical instrument that you don’t currently play, what would it be?
‘The violin or banjo – or just being able to go full shred on the guitar.’
What’s your favourite gig memory?
‘It’s impossible to choose. But there is something special about those shows where you have no idea what to expect, and then the crowd completely catches you off guard and surprises you with the most insane energy. That is amazing. Touring is the best part of my job.’
If you had to pick a soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
‘If there was a song called “Life As A Nuub” it would be that one. Maybe I need to write it.’
Who are you listening to most right now? What’s top of your most played list?
‘Lately it’s been a lot of Siv Jakobsen, Bigbang, HËXË, Muna, King Princess, Lizzy McAlpine, Arlo Parks, Novo Amor, Charli XCX, Wolf Alice, Lizzo… to name a few. I love my playlists.’
Name the artist you’re most excited about right now.
‘All of the above, but I’m so psyched to have Tommy Lefroy, Skaar and Lea Heart joining us on the UK and Ireland tour in November. And Ber will be with us on the North American leg, which is now in September/ October 2023. I’m so excited for everyone to see their shows.’
What’s your pre-performance ritual?
‘Not anything crazy. I love styling and makeup for music videos and shoots, but on tour I usually just get a white tank top and a pair of jeans out of my suitcase an hour before show time. Then, the band and I just hang out backstage. Some days I do some quick makeup by myself, and Liva (bassist/ vocalist) and I do our vocal warm-up while the band is doing their own. Then, we all get on stage together and meet the best crew, get our belt packs and in-ears and it’s show time.’