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Though she is now poised on the brink of global stardom, thanks to the success of her sleek, electro pop hits "Hurts So Good" and her latest single "Breathe," 20 year old singer and songwriter Astrid S grew up in humble surroundings. She was raised "with a lot of independence" in Berkåk, Norway – a small town of less than 1,000 people. "You have to learn to get along with everyone when you're from a small place," she says with a laugh. "You don't have a choice!" A restlessly creative person, Astrid found herself drawn to music at a young age. She began singing before she could talk, trying to pick out melodies to songs on the radio when she was two, and began playing piano when she was six. As she got older, Astrid was inspired by the artists her dad favored, Maroon 5, Anastacia, and especially the British band Keane, whose debut album was her first purchase at age seven.
"I grew up listening to music where I didn't understand the words," Astrid says. "American and English pop music was very popular in Scandinavia. Even Norwegian artists sang in English, so I found myself drawn to the melodies in a song, or just how the words were sung, which is still reflected in my music today.»
It was hearing John Mayer when she was 15 that made Astrid want to write her own songs. "He changed my way of listening to music," she says. "That's when I bought a guitar." At 16, Astrid entered the Norwegian version of Pop Idol and proceeded all the way to the finals before finishing in fifth place. She describes the experience as a turning point in her life recalling, "I've never felt so happy doing something," she recalls. "I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life and that I had to put all my other plans aside and really go for it because it just gave me a feeling I'd never felt before."
With support from her parents, Astrid decided to quit school and move to the Norwegian capital of Oslo to pursue her music career, which she describes as a major turning point in her life. "The plan was to try it for a year and then either go back to school or get a job, but I never went back," she says. "Walking down the streets in Oslo, I remember thinking that I've never felt so happy. I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life and that I had to put all my other plans aside and really go for it because it just gave me a feeling I'd never had before."
Two months after moving to Oslo, Astrid got her first big break when she signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV and released her 2014 debut single "2AM," which went five times platinum and led to an MTV EMA win for Best Norwegian Act, a Norwegian Grammy for "Newcomer of the Year", and a sold-out tour. She followed "2AM" with a string of moody, seductive, electronic pop singles, including "Hyde," the global hit "Running Out" with Matoma (over 129 million Spotify streams), "Air" with Shawn Mendes, and "Waiting for Love" with Avicii.
In 2016, Astrid released her self-titled debut EP and scored a blockbuster hit with "Hurts So Good," which charted in 21 countries, racked up over 136 million Spotify plays, and led to other major opportunities, including European and North American tours with Troye Sivan. She has been called "Scandinavia's next breakout pop princess" by Idolator and an artist "waiting in the wings of global stardom" by The Guardian. Solidifyingher status in Europe, Astrid was recently chosen to be a UEFA women's football Ambassador. She's also been making waves across the Atlantic. Astrid's headlining shows in Los Angeles and New York City sold out in less than 48 hours. Popjustice chose her as one of the acts most likely to save pop music in 2017.
Astrid's career continues to unfold with her latest single, the urgent, emotionally charged "Breathe," which has amassed over 25 million worldwide streams and was selected as a "Tune of the Week" by BBC Radio 1. Atwood magazine noted that the track "continues to demonstrate Astrid S's prominence in the electro-pop realm," while The Line of Best Fit called it "the start of something special" and "her biggest pop moment yet."
"'Breathe' could be about that overwhelming feeling of being in love," Astrid says, "but for me it's about these moments over the past year that took my breath away, like having a hit single, going on my first tour, and playing some of the festivals back home in Norway that I've always dreamed of. I've lost count of how many times I've had to pinch myself."
"Breathe" is the first track to be released from Astrid's latest EP, Party's Over, which finds her taking her music in a darker, more left-of-center direction with the minimalist, club-friendly "Bloodstream," which she says is about "being haunted by an ex and how everything you do and every place you go reminds you of that person" and "Does She Know," which explores the pain around realizing that someone you loved has moved on and is in love with someone else."That's a tough song for me to sing live, because it conjures up so many emotions," Astrid says. "The recording really captures the feeling I had in my throat and my stomach when we wrote it and I get that feeling every time I perform it."
Party's Over veers into lighter territory with its title track, which is about wanting to stay in a perfect moment forever. "I often find myself feeling nostalgic for something before it's even ended," Astrid says. "When I was on tour with Troye Sivan, I felt wistful about the tour and it wasn't even over yet." On "Such A Boy," Astrid questions the conventional wisdom that guys aren't as emotional as girls. "Boys are even more or at least as emotional as girls!" Astrid says. "I feel like I've grown up with everyone saying 'Don't be such a girl' to my brother if he was being emotional and it made me angry because it's not shameful to have feelings."
As she gears up to release more new music this year, Astrid say she wants people to feel understood when they listen to her songs. "I want them to feel like they belong and that they're not alone. I want them to feel happy and just forget about all their worries for a bit. It's nice to think that I have the opportunity to make someone's day a little better. Because the focus for me is on bringing people together because they like to listen to my music and that's where they feel like they belong."