Synth-pop sensation Sigrid talks love for Canada, debut album 'Sucker Punch'

Up-and-coming Norwegian synth-pop sensation, Sigrid, has just made her way through Canada for some of her biggest headlining shows to date.

The Ålesund-born star is currently in the midst of a massive North American headlining tour, and has spent the better portion of 2019 on the road in support of her debut album, Sucker Punch — which was released last March.

It features completely original tracks that have music-lovers young and old raving across the world at not only Sigrid’s powerful voice, but her intimate writing style as well.

The 23-year-old, born Sigrid Solbakk Raabe, earned herself BBC’s prestigious ‘Music Sound Of…’ award last year, before dropping the album. She beat the likes of Khalid, Pale Waves, IAMDDB as well as Rex Orange County — who she claims is one of her favourite bands right now.

Not only that, but she also opened for George Ezra on his entire U.K. arena tour earlier this year, before joining Maroon 5 on the road in Europe for the ‘Red Pill Blues’ tour.

WATCH: Sigrid’s smash-hit single, ‘Strangers’

Sucker Punch features Sigrid’s breakthrough single, Don’t Kill My Vibe as well as a number of other hits that she’s now known for, including: StrangersMine Right Now and Don’t Feel Like Crying.

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The morning after an energy-fueled performance in Montreal, Sigrid took the time to chat with Global News about some of her funniest stories and all things Sucker Punch — all before a sold out performance at Toronto’s iconic Danforth Music Hall.

Global News: Sigrid, welcome back to Canada. Congratulations on a sold out show, you’ve been here a few times, right? How are you finding it.
Thank you, and yep. We did Montreal last summer too, at Osheaga. I love being here.

Now that Sucker Punch is out, have you found that the reception has changed a lot with your North American audience since you were last here?
Sigrid: Now? Yeah. It’s different in the way that people know the lyrics for not only the singles now, but every song. I still get surprised by it. I’m very excited about it all. It’s a lot of fun to play this record live. I feel like we’ve always had great crowds, we’ve been really lucky, but especially after coming out with the album, it really feels like people are coming to listen to the music. The lyrics seem to resonate so well with American and Canadian crowds too. I feel like it’s similar in Europe, but maybe even more so here. People really listen to my lyrics and take them in.

I’ve heard you have a deep love for many Canadian artists. So, I want to start by asking about your Leonard Cohen cover — Everybody Knows, for the Justice League movie. Was that something you sought out to do or did the studio approach you for it?
That was actually something they asked me to do. To be honest, it was easy in some ways to say yes, because it’s a f**cking brilliant song, but also, I was so p**s scared of doing it because it’s Leonard Cohen, you don’t want to mess that up. It’s a pretty big responsibility and he’s one of the greatest songwriters of all time. It was very exciting and I had a lot of fun with it. I covered it with the help of Odd Martin Skålnes. We actually went to the cinema together to see Justice League — me, Martin and his wife. It was so incredible, we were just sitting there like, “Oh my God, this is happening.” To see our names at the end was surreal.

Then of course, you and your family are really into Neil Young. Is that right?
Yeah, I wore my Neil Young cap this morning. He’s a favourite. We’re a big Neil Young family. I’ve seen him… five or six times now? He’s definitely the artist I’ve seen the most times. He’s so amazing. Oh, wait, Joni Mitchell! She’s also Canadian. She’s brilliant. There are so many Canadian musicians which I like a lot. Grimes. Shawn Mendes. The Weeknd. Drake. Arcade Fire.

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Let’s talk a little about Sucker Punch. Is it true that Don’t Kill My Vibe spawned from a writing session that went wrong?
Sigrid: That’s right. I had a very interesting writing session. This was a long time ago, and it’s not like I hold any grudges towards that session anymore, but I think it makes for a somewhat interesting story. Some people thought, that when it was still a demo, that Don’t Kill My Vibe was about an ex-boyfriend or something. I was like, “No! Not at all.” It was actually about a difficult writing session I had when I was younger. I was young, and I was new in the industry. I didn’t really know how to find my way in writing sessions. I honestly felt like my opinion wasn’t respected and that the other writers didn’t really listen to what I had to say. I just didn’t know why I was invited to do the session.

I was working with two older male producers, and it was pretty hard. It felt like a ‘me against them’ type of thing. I got p**sed off at myself because I didn’t speak up for myself, or say, “You know what? This isn’t really fun. I don’t like the vibe that’s going on here, can we talk about this?” I just didn’t say anything, so I ended up calling my Mum. Because I ended up going out for lunch by myself… They didn’t want to join me for lunch, so I went by myself and called her. I was like, “Oh Mum, what am I going to do?” She was like, “You get back in there, you write a song, and then you might get something good out of it later.” And I was like, “Mhmm. OK Mum, I’ll do that.” So I went in and I finished the song…

Sigrid performs on stage at The Oyafestivalen on Aug. 8, 2019 in Oslo, Norway.

Sigrid performs on stage at The Oyafestivalen on Aug. 8, 2019 in Oslo, Norway.

Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Sigrid: But it was only a few months later when I was working with Martin Shirley — who actually produced this whole record [Sucker Punch] — and we wrote Don’t Kill My Vibe together in our very first session. That previous session inspired it. Since then, Martin has become one of my collaborators. I actually remember finishing the second verse in a pizza restaurant in Oslo. I was sitting by myself eating pizza. I remember it so well.

It was so good to get it out. It was the first time I ever wrote and arranged a song together with another person. I was like, “S**t, this is the type of music I want to make.” So it was a very defining song for me not just lyrically, but musically too. I do still put it on sometimes in case I ever need a little reminder of who I am.

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What about your newest single? Mine Right Now. Let’s hear about the music video shoot, because you actually never made it, did you? Is it true you missed a flight?
Several flights. I missed several flights. There were delays, cancellations and basically everything else that could possibly go wrong. I was basically stuck in a number of different airports all day. It was really bad.

The worst part is that about 40 people were waiting for me and my manager to get to Bulgaria — where they were shooting the film — and we never got there… But it was really cool of them to just go through with it. Originally, they thought about shooting the film without me or any other person in it, just to have the scenery. There were definitely alternatives, they thought about even editing me into the video later, but we ended up using the footage they had of the director, who stepped in for me. He is a f**king hero!

WATCH: ‘Mine Right Now,’ the official Sigrid music video

Max Siedentopf right?
Sigrid: Max! That’s right. He’s a really funny guy. He’s great. I hadn’t met him at this point, only through Skype. So when they called me, they were like, “OK, we started filming with the director.” I thought, “Oh my God, what the hell. What is this going to be like?” But it turned out to be really funny and just amazing.

It’s a nice thing because I think a lot of people that make music videos too can relate to this, because s**t like this happens all the time. In every music video you see, there will have always been something that went wrong during the shoot. Sometimes the labels maybe don’t show it, and there’s definitely been other fails that have happened at our own shoots that we still haven’t haven’t talked about, but it was really funny to get a moment to showcase that. There were so many things going on during the Mine Right Now shoot too. There was a murderer on the loose in the mountains where they were shooting the video…

What? Are you serious? No way.
Sigrid: No, it’s true. Seriously I’m serious. There was a murderer running around in the mountains and the police were trying to chase him in the middle of where the shoot was happening. Their drone also fell into the water — as you can see in the video — they had insurance on that though, luckily. There were so many issues… The set even broke down because of strong winds. Yeah, it was just a nightmare shoot.

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Is it strange to be so young and successful, in the sense that you’re often seen as a role model for younger fans? Has that concept hit you yet and do you feel like you ever have to adjust your personality or behaviour?
Sigrid: It is an incredible honour to have young people liking our music so much, what I do and what I represent as an artist, because I really do put so much of myself into it. I figured out very early on that, if I’m going to do this whole artist thing, I really need to be myself. I know it sounds cheesy as f**k, but it is true, because I’m really bad at pretending. I try to bring my interests and personality into my job. And in the end, this is my job. So if I put too much pressure on it and feel like I have to be something I’m not, or try to be perfect all the time, that’s just not going to happen, because I’m a human. You know? We go off stage and then it’s all “normal” again. But it is really really incredible to see all these young people coming to our shows.

What about The Sims? You sang a song in “Simlish” for the fourth soundtrack. How does that even work? Tell us everything.
Sigrid: That happened because I was in a car with my manager in New York City. I always say that when we’re in the U.S. I feel like some of the craziest stuff happens. Everything is so mad around here. . Anyway, we were in the car, and he was like, “What’s your biggest dream?” and I was like, “I want to sing a song in The Sims,” and he said, “I can make that happen.” So he started talking to the label about it and the label was like on it.

So they contacted EA Games and they were like, “Yeah, sure, we really want to make this happen.” Then they sent me an audio file from the game of someone singing Don’t Kill My Vibe in Simlish, but it was recorded through an iPhone. The recording was bad, but it was so incredible hearing your own song in a completely different language. So they attached the lyrics for me, fully translated, and I don’t know a lot about the Sims’ language, I don’t know if it actually means anything, or if they have an alphabet or something, but it sounded so cool. It was the best vocal recording session I’ve ever had. It was so much fun.

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Was it difficult?
Sigrid: It was difficult because I was laughing so hard. To be completely honest with you, I played The Sims yesterday. It’s a pretty long tour, and we do a lot of waiting around, so I sometimes have the time to. But one time, I actually heard the song on the radio within the game. I was playing just so I could hear the song and it finally came on, and oh my God, my head exploded, it was so cool.

Sigrid performs on stage during day 1 of Lollapalooza Berlin Festival 2019 on Sept. 7, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

Sigrid performs on stage during day 1 of Lollapalooza Berlin Festival 2019 on Sept. 7, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Sucker Punch came out only 6 months ago, I know, but we want to know if you already have something planned for the near future, after this tour.
Sigrid: Yeah, but not necessarily things I want to talk about. But of course, I’m a planner, and I’m very ambitious. I promise that Sucker Punch was just the first album of many. So there will be new music, but I’m going to take my time with it.

I’m really happy that you wanted to talk about the album, because album campaigns are so fast nowadays, it feels like it’s just a second and then it’s like onto the next one! You can’t really be upset about it, because that’s how it works, and I know myself, as a consumer, I listen to music all the time. I get very obsessed with songs.

[This interview has been edited and condensed.]

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Sucker Punch is now available through all major streaming platforms. Exclusive bundles can also be ordered here.

As of this writing, Sigrid has no scheduled Canadian tour dates. Additional information can be found through her official website.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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