Sigrid interview – How To Let Go and Move Forward

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Norwegian pop star Sigrid says she’s trying not to take things so seriously these days. Her second album, How To Let Go, released today, finds the 25-year-old in startling form and, over its twelve songs, sees the singer shedding self-doubt and toxic relationships to emerge leaner, stronger, and happier.

“I think you kind of learn that everything’s just floating, like nothing’s constant,” she says during our Zoom call. “And I’ve learned to just be like really accepting of yourself and you’re just living. I’ve learned to just move on and try to learn how to let go. As I say on the album, letting go of doubts that you have or insecurities and always, you know, they don’t disappear overnight, but yeah, just going with it and have fun and enjoy it, really enjoy things that are just right in front of you.”

How To Let Go follows 2018’s Sucker Punch, which racked up more than a billion streams, cementing Sigrid’s status as the BBC’s Sound of 2018.

This record also sees Sigrid experimenting with more guitars and rock elements, although it’s still very much a slick pop music album. I ask her if she felt braver to try new things on this release.

“I don’t think it was because I didn’t feel like I could do it on the last record. I think it’s just like a time and space for everything, isn’t it? On the first record, I think I just really wanted to make like big pop songs. I do still think this is a pop record. It’s definitely leaning even more to the left and my vocals are breathing a bit more. Maybe I felt like I wanted to be a bit more insisting on the first record. Like here I am, you know, and this time I’m more like, I know what I’m doing. Like I’ve been around a little bit and here’s another album. But I think it was only a matter of time until I did more guitar-based music. Like the first band I ever did a cover of in seventh grade when I was 12 years old was Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, a very shaky cover with me holding onto the microphone. I was very shy growing up, but there was always this inner kid in me that just wanted to like, you know, belt rock songs and everything that Coldplay did that sounded like big stadium songs. They were always my favourites. I love Muse, Mew. My brother was a massive fan of Opeth. So of course that affected me and my sister as well. And it’s really fun. The only collab on the album is this song with Bring Me The Horizon. Who would have thought”

On paper, that collab might indeed, seem shocking, but once you hear the song it suddenly makes perfect sense.

“It tells the story of when things are rough and it can feel like you’re never going to stop feeling sad,” says Sigrid, with searingly beautiful lyrics, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life”.

“I’ve been a fan of Bring Me for a couple of years and apparently they really liked my music as well. So we met last year at Reading Festival in the UK and we decided like, should we just go to the studio? And then they have this demo of a song called Bad Life. And it really resonated with me as well. It’s a comfort blanket to anyone who’s listening to the song to be reminded of like, it will pass. It will get better if you are having a rough day. And I rewrote some lyrics on it, did my own spin on it. And here we are the least likely, but most cozy collab!”

After releasing a few singles from the album already, Sigrid says she’s excited for fans to hear all the songs together.

“I think all of the songs from the album, they just have their own flavour. I think there’s something for everyone in a way. There’s this song called Dancer, which is a song about just being completely in love. And it’s a very sweet 60s/70s type of guitar song. Sounds like something you would listen to when you’re driving in your car, or sitting on the train. There’s other songs like Grow, which is kind of a melancholic take on growing up. Growing up is great and I know I’m only 25, but growing up is a bit sad as well because you’re not going to get back the life that you had before. You’re just not going to get that time back again. And another song talks about that as well. High Notes is the ending track of the album. And High Note is about time itself. It’s about how just feeling like either you’re chasing time or it’s like, it’s going too fast or it’s going too slow and you seem to like, never agree with time properly. And it’s just this like uncontrollable thing that we all, we all wish we had more time, I guess.”

One of the most infectious songs on the album is the curiously titled “A Driver Saved My Life”. Sigrid says it’s “a full-on “Thank You For The Music” ABBA type of moment

“It’s an homage to how much music, like at least for me personally, it changes my day. It really lifts my mood. I listen to music nonstop. Honestly, my favourite thing in the world is to discover new songs that I love from new bands, new artists, or listen to old songs that I’ve always loved. It’s about experiences that I’ve had quite a few times where I’m in a car on my way to somewhere and I’m working and maybe I’m a bit tired. Maybe I’m a bit homesick because I’m in a different city. And I’m on this highway and you’re in the back of the car but then your favourite song comes on the radio and the power of a good song coming on the radio and asking the driver to turn it up and you just sit there and you’re bopping along to it. And it just lifts your mood. I just love that. I love that music can do that.”

And there are plenty of moments on How To Let Go that will lift your mood. These are big songs made for stadiums full of people to sing along to.

During our chat, we also talk about Sigrid’s love of Neil Young and The War On Drugs as well as the songs that remind her of home when she’s on tour.

Watch the full interview below:

Sigrid’s album, How To Let Go, is out now!

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