Mastering a glacial cool appearance that only the Scandinavians have nailed – perhaps that’s what years spent skiing to school does to you – Astrid Smeplass’s icy electro-pop single “2AM” has received a five times platinum status in Norway and she’s not even into her twenties yet. Despite the fact that she’s in Stockholm and I’m in London, her charm and sweetness permeates the telephone line, the singer’s pixie-like laughter saturating our conversation as if she’s one of Scandinavia’s ethereal mythical creatures.
Meet electro-pop’s new Scandi ice queen.
Astrid S originally discovered the emotional power of music through Keane’s first album Hopes and Fears. At the age of seven, she wasn’t tall enough to reach the top shelf of her local CD shop, so she “picked up a lot of DVDs and [built] a little stairway to reach it.” You can’t say she isn’t determined to get what she wants. Apart from learning where a middle C was on a piano and parading the flute in the marching band as a child, Keane’s debut album was Astrid S’s big musical discovery; it was the “experience of their music that made me feel something weird, in a good way. It moved me — it was just really cool to me how melodies and a piano or a production can make me feel something, even though I didn’t understand what they were saying.”
With the first song written for her debut, self-titled EP — from which “2AM” was taken — when she was just 16, the record is a solid showcase of her talents: gifts as a songwriter and as an emotionally earnest young lyricist. But a live music setting is where she truly thrives, Smeplass says. “I can write words and put them in other people’s mouths — it always surprises me at concerts when I see people singing along to my songs.” Luckily for us, Astrid S’s career path seems set for the cosmos.