Norwegian alterna-pop singer Astrid S, 20, already is a seasoned showbiz veteran. At 9, she was entering homeland music competitions, and by 16 she was appearing on the Norwegian version of “Pop Idol” and releasing her debut single “Shattered” under her birth name, Astrid Smeplass. At 17, she quit high school and started making regular songwriting trips to Hollywood, where she began assembling the confections that would comprise her EP for Universal, “Party’s Over.” For her, the party is just beginning.
Does America seem crazy to you after so many junkets?
Well, in general, I would say that the people over here are more outgoing, more spontaneous and impulsive. You never know what to expect when you’re in America, especially when I’ve been in L.A., where you walk out the door and suddenly there’s a monkey bicycling by in front of you. There are just so many weird things going on there, but it’s fun. But I love In-N-Out Burger. I think it’s sooo good! I might be turning into a proper American at heart.
How does an average songwriting session go for you?
They usually last for a month, or close to it. And hopefully the other writers have heard of me, although sometimes they haven’t. So we just sit down and get to know each other, get a vibe, then we’ll start listening to songs we like and find a reference. Then I’ll just start talking about an experience or something I’ve seen in a movie or a funny picture I saw — anything I would like to write about — and we’ll start making a song. But in L.A., I’m actually the most boring person. I usually wake up, watch “Keeping Up With th Kardashians” in my bed, eat cereal — the small one that tastes like chocolate? Cocoa Puffs! — go to the studio, come home late, eat more cereal, watch “The Kardashians” again, and then I fall asleep.
When you see a monkey on a bicycle, do you write about it in a notebook for future song reference?
No. I use my phone to record notes or hum melodies. That’s how I remember them. And I don’t know if we take songwriting more seriously in Scandinavia, but I just think maybe we have a different approach to it. This is just my theory, but especially now, when streaming is so big, we don’t really care about the radio format anymore. Anything can become a big tune in Scandinavia, because people decide what they want to listen to. So I think that’s very motivating, because songwriters can really think outside the box. A great song — whether or not it’s radio-friendly — can really blow up here.