Years ago, Norwegian songstress Anna of the North took the advice of a stranger and flew halfway across the globe to nurture her musical dreams. Today her music has been played on Netflix shows and Apple commercials, launching her once quiet ambitions into skyrocketing success. From working with the likes of Tyler, the Creator, and Rejjie Snow to developing her own unique brand of dreamy music on an upcoming acoustic album, Anna has established herself as someone to watch.
Up for any challenge that allows her to grow as an artist, Anna speaks with EUPHORIA. about being inspired by life and people, what made her smile recently, and more.
What can you tell us about your upcoming acoustic EP? It’s going to be songs with a different sound. The same song packaged in different melodies and instrumentals. It will connect differently.
How would you say your sound has evolved over time? I think my first album was all about heartbreak and sonically one track to another was similar; it was almost like one long song. I loved that but with my newer work, I want to explore myself, work with more people, and challenge myself. I’ve learned so much and found myself going on a journey in the new album. My music is always going to be dreamy indie-pop, but I always try not to restrict myself to any particular genre.
In terms of songwriting, who or what inspires your music? Life and people in general excites and inspires me. We all live and walk on this Earth, sometimes we’re happy and other times we’re sad. I also love exploring how the human brain works and how we communicate with each other as people despite differences. Whatever makes me think and feel, whatever makes me want to write will inspire me.
How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated during lockdown particularly this connection with life and people was cut off? After the US tour, I was very tired and without the pandemic, I probably wouldn’t have taken time off. So this enforced break has been good for me, I’m well-rested and creatively inspired. I want to learn new things, expand and evolve as a person and an artist. It can be healthy to sometimes be alone and feel your emotions.
If listeners could take away one message from your music, what would you want it to be? I never dreamt of making music, because I thought it was for special people, the ones with a lot of talent. Yet, here I am. So I hope people are able to chase their dreams as well. Another thing I’d love to convey is that everything will pass; whether you’re happy or sad, I hope you know it will pass, and you’re not alone in whatever you’re going through. Music allows me to have a conversation with my listeners and connect with them without actually having a conversation.
Do you feel like your music gets lost in translation from thinking in Norwegian to putting it across in English? It can be difficult, but I enjoy the challenge of conveying something in a different language. And I don’t know if it’s because I grew up listening to English music, but I’ve always written lyrics in English. However, I’d love to write Norwegian music someday, I could go deeper with the lyrics. Music allows us to communicate without language!
The dream career in music, that you mentioned earlier, began when you moved across the country on the back of a piece of advice someone gave you. So, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring musicians out there? Keep going. Put good energy into the universe it will return to you! I’ve personally never had big dreams, but now my music has been picked up by Netflix and Apple, all of which feel so surreal. Anything is possible, just don’t give up.
Your music has been picked up for shows like ToAll The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Never Have I Ever, and “Dream Girl” was even synced for an Apple commercial. What’s usually your immediate reaction when this happens? I usually find out through social media through fans, and I have to find out if it’s true or not. I do prefer to be surprised about whether my song is picked to be used. There’s so much music out there, so exposure like this helps me reach people I may not have reached otherwise through these platforms.
Speaking of exposure, who are some artists you didn’t know about but you’ve recently discovered that you’d love to recommend? Shura, The Japanese House, Dizzy. Particularly the song “Backstroke” from Dizzy’s album Baby Teeth, I love it so much! There are honestly so many artists who remain undiscovered because they don’t have the platform so everyone should push and support each other!
What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far? A memorable moment was definitely the opportunity to be featured on two songs on Tyler The Creator’s album. That was really big for me. My song “Lovers” being featured on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before changed the life of that song in a way I couldn’t have imagined. It taught me how much power music can hold. The Apple commercial is a milestone as well. Playing in the US and having this incredible reception from fans is always amazing as well.
What’s something that has made you smile recently? I’m in touch with fans via social media quite a lot. Honestly, the simple conversations with all these people from different parts of the world who have come together and connected because of my music; thinking about this always makes me smile.