Why you should listen to Norwegian pop star Sigrid

The 21-year-old topped the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll – their way of sticking a flag in someone and saying “this one’s gonna be huge”.

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Of the UK music scene currently has a taste for Scandipop stars (Zara Larsson, MØ, Tove Lo, and a previous subject of this column, Anna of the North), Sigrid is flavour of the month. The 21-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter only has three singles to her name, but some critics have already labelled her “the new Lorde”. This January, she topped the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll – their way of sticking a flag in someone and saying “this one’s gonna be huge” (previous winners include Adele, Sam Smith and Haim).

Her first single, the snappy, anthemic “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, came from the experience of being mansplained to by older, dismissive music executives. “You think you’re so important to me, don’t you?” she sneers in a high-pitched rasp. “Plot Twist”, full of echoing synths and autotune, delights similarly in rejecting toxic men: “You screwed it up – plot twist, moved on and now you want me”. “Strangers”, Sigrid’s latest single, is her most clubby release to date, with a Robyn-esque vocal. All offer sugary-sweet pop over a heavy dance beat with a delayed drop.

Her other songs are a more mixed bag in style and quality – there’s “Everybody Knows”, which sounds like Lana del Rey crossed with Laura Marling, and “Dynamite”, a convincing Adele impression. As a brand, Sigrid feels like she has been built in a lab to be both relatable and aspirational for teenage girls (she looks like she’s styled entirely in Monki clothing and Glossier make-up), while having enough of a personality to get away with it.

There’s something endearingly dorky about her – she cried on camera when she was told about the BBC poll, and her effusive “this doesn’t look amazing but it feels great” dad-dancing is contagious. Just like her chemically infectious pop. 

Anna Leszkiewicz is culture editor of the New Statesman.

This article appears in the 26 January 2018 issue of the New Statesman, How women took power