Kendrick called it, and Sigrid seconded it: Vibes are not to be killed or otherwise fucked with. On the latter tip, the breakout single by the 20-year-old Norwegian born Sigrid Solbakk Raabe, appropriately titled “Don’t Kill My Vibe,” is just the beginning of a burgeoning pop career. But for all the iridescent positivity packed into the tune, there’s a pungent zinger lingering after the chorus.
When Sigrid snaps “You think you’re so important to me, don’t you?”, we all stand up. The remark, with or without salt, solidifies her backbone despite the seemingly easy-breezy mantra of the bop, and while she admits that she has “a thing for choruses,” there’s more bite here than on the usual mainstream hit. Elsewhere on her debut EP, her voice rasps “shots fired!” over trap-y synths on “Plot Twist,” a more EDM-influenced complement to the compilation’s lead single.
Since Don’t Kill My Vibe dropped in May via Island Records, she’s already received a major signal boost from Apple Music, who named her their “Up Next” artist, and our very own Lorde and savior included the starlet on a Spotify playlist of her favorite songs (the ultimate vote of confidence). While on tour throughout Europe and riding high on a beehive full of buzz, Sigrid connected with Vanyaland to dish on her Don’t Kill My Vibe EP, her first musical performance at 12 years old, and her overall plan of domination of 2017.
Victoria Wasylak: 2017 has been an explosion of attention for you — Rolling Stone and NPR have praised you, just to name a few. What do you think the reason for that is? Your new EP, obviously, but what else?
Sigrid: It’s an honor, and I’m forever grateful for the reception of my debut EP. It’s hard to answer what the reason is though; maybe hard work and some luck? It’s all team work, also! My team, my band, all the writers and producers I’ve been working with. I have so many people to thank. We’ve just released one EP, so I’m just hoping we can continue with what we’re doing. Playing shows and writing songs — I love it!
Speaking of — people have been comparing you to other European pop stars left and right. Without comparisons, in your own words, how would you describe your music to people who have never heard it before?
Well, it’s definitely pop but I’m inspired by different genres, like grime, folk, trap, and R&B. And obviously great pop choruses. I have a thing for choruses.
“Don’t Kill My Vibe” has already made the rounds in a lot of European countries. How would you compare pop music and radio in Europe to pop music and radio in America?
Well, I’m from Norway and we listen to the same music here as in the US. Streaming which is — famously — huge here, makes it easy to find music from every corner of the world, which is great! And radio plays a lot of American and European music — as well as Norwegian music. There’s so many good artists and bands coming out of Norway now!
How did you start performing music? I know both your sister and brother have had an influence on you growing up.
Haha, yep, siblings do have an influence on you! I was lucky to have very creative, kind and cool siblings. I started playing piano when I was 7, but I didn’t do my first performance until I was 12 at a school show. It was the first time I performed a song written on my own!
Can you walk us through the process of making your new EP? Where did you write and record the songs, and how long have you been working on it?
Making the EP was so much fun! I spent 2016 just doing a lot (!) of writing sessions with different producers and songwriters. I wrote “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Fake Friends” with Martin Sjølie in Oslo, “Dynamite” with Askjell Solstrand in Bergen, and “Plot Twist” with the23d (Henry and George Flint) in Bergen.
What was it like to have Lorde include your song on her playlist?
I’ve been listening to Lorde since “Royals,” she’s such a talented and refreshing songwriter and artist. “Green Light” has been on repeat whilst making my debut EP, so it was really cool to hear that she had been listening to “Don’t Kill My Vibe” while making her album.