Sigrid Talks Making 'F--- You' Music, Touring Essentials & Her New EP at Panorama 2018
"I know that my schedule is f---ed up," rising Norwegian pop star Sigrid roars in recent single "Schedules," a tongue-in-cheek melody about the myth of good timing for relationships. But she's not wrong: The 21-year-old has been jetting across the globe for sets at Glastonbury, BBC Music's Biggest Weekend, Coachella and more since her debut EP, Don't Kill My Vibe -- a triumphant, finger-snapping shield against fakes, players and misogynists -- exploded last summer.
July is no less busy. Less than three weeks ago, the singer released her second EP, Raw, and this weekend headed to New York for Panorama festival, where she performed on day two (July 28). Sunshine-y as ever in rainbow-striped pants, fresh Nikes and a baby blue crop top, the artist slipped out of her trailer to a picnic bench near the Harlem River to chat with Billboard ahead of her afternoon set.
Hey Sigrid! How long are you here in New York?
I’ve been in New York for like a week-ish. It’s been pretty chill, actually. I’ve been in writing sessions, tiny bit of promo, festival today and then more promo during the week. We celebrated my manager’s birthday -- we went for a big dinner.
What do you like about performing at festivals versus solo shows?
When you hear someone else playing. I think there’s a lot of musicians that don’t listen to music, because you’re so surrounded by [your own] music, but I listen to music all the time. I love that there’s always something happening at festivals. It takes some of the pressure away, too, because you’re one person on the bill. I’m just excited to be in the same bill as a lot of artists I look up to. SZA is playing tonight, David Byrne, and a lot of really good artists that I love.
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
I have this new demo that I’m so excited to play live at some point. But I’ll always have a special thing for “Strangers.” And “Schedules.” It’s fun, and there’s always some response to it. We’re very lucky to be playing so much even though I don’t have a lot of music out, so it’s pretty cool that we can play and people react to it.
You also performed at Coachella this year. How are festivals changing your relationship with U.S. fans?
Music can either be a lot of numbers, or it can be a lot of persons. And I like to look at it in the way of the persons. It’s so special to meet people after the show, getting that connection during the actual concert. It creates a stronger bond. We have some fans that come to almost all of our shows, and they will travel to different countries to see us -- that’s pretty amazing. We get so many cute gifts, and we get a lot of chocolate. At some point, the backstage was filled with candy, and we were like, “Okay, shit!” One time, I got a book made from fans all over the world. The got together, all of them, and took all their tweets into a scrapbook. I have it in my room.
What are the essentials you bring on tour?
I always have a lot of hand cream. My favorite, I bought it in Norway, it’s a cold cream. And headphones -- I would not live without my headphones. I have noise-canceling ones, and I live with them.
You released your second EP, Raw this month. What was different for you in crafting Raw as opposed to 2017's Don’t Kill My Vibe?
Still the same writing process as in sitting by the piano, not a lot of people in the room, just a small group of friends, and singing, hanging out. But in terms of themes, the first EP was a bit of a “f--- you” EP. A lot of strong, powerful anthems. And then the Raw EP shows a more vulnerable, emotional side. That’s not something I’ve been trying to hide. The story behind the Raw EP was, I was talking with my A&R, and we thought we had a lot of good songs there and we hadn't planned to put anything out. But we were like, "Why not?" The songs are good and it would be a shame for people not to hear it. So we put it out.
How do you balance expressing personal feelings in your music but also keeping a private life?
It’s one of the most important things for me, to stay private, too. I think everyone needs it. Everyone, including myself, is always on social media, and it’s important for me that I don’t want to show everything on social media. But I also feel some responsibility, in a way, to let people know that not every day is perfect. I try to spend as much time as possible with my band and my family and my friends. I think I have a balance there. I try to hike a lot. That’s good for me.
In a little over a year, you've released two EPs, performed at festivals all over the world and been named BBC's Sound of 2018 poll winner. Have you had time to process?
Yes and no. You get time to do it sometimes, and the funny thing is, when you get time to process things, it’s not the right time. [Laughs.] I’m very grateful for everything happening, and you never know how long it’s going to last, so I’m trying to enjoy it. I’m ambitious, though. I’m thinking of staying here for a long time.
Speaking of next steps, are you working on a debut album?
Yeah! I am working on it. I don’t have a release date yet. We’ve been working on it in Norway. What we talked about with getting time to be home, that’s a big reason for why I wanted to do it in Norway. It’s really nice to work there because there’s no distractions. The only distraction is the nature.